Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design
by Shannon Okey
The first thing you need to know is that this is not a knitting book. Not really.
Itís not a book about designing, either.
What it is is the only book I know of that teaches you about the BUSINESS of knitting design.
Iíve seen the occasional chapter in books geared toward designers that mention things like how to submit patterns to magazines, or the conventions required for writing the patterns up, or extrapolating different sizes.
This book, though, tells you everything. How to write the patterns (as in, the kinds of programs to create the schematics and write the pattern instructions). How to promote them. How to sell them. How to copyright them. How to publish and advertise them.
Things that any designer with any professional ambitions at all NEEDS to know.
And then it gets better. She follows up all this instruction with dozens (I counted 32) of interviews with designers talking about their own experiences and thoughts about designing and selling designs. This book is chock-full of useful information, with very few illustrations (other than its fabulous cover). Itís got a good index and is well organized.
In fact, my only real gripe with this book is that its title sounds like a book thatís going to teach you how to do professional design, and itís not. Itís a book that teaches a designer how to be professional.
Which means that this book is not for everybody. You might be interested in designing sweaters for your family but not be interested in selling the designs. You might not be interested in promoting your patterns. You might choose to think of your knitting as a hobby that garnishes a few bucks now and again but not at all like a business. This is all fine, but if this is the case, this book is probably not for you.
If, however, you want to not only be a designer, but to a professional designer, this book is a must. Thereís nothing else out there that addresses exactly this topic. There are plenty of business books around that have some overlap (how to promote your business via Twitter, for example, or how to get published). But there are none that are geared toward people whose professional lives are tied up in knitwear.
Reviewed by Deb Boyken
Deb has been knitting since 1987 and has accumulated quite a collection of knitting books over the years. Her website, Knitting Scholar, can be found at http://knittingscholar.com.