I've been wanting to share this book with you for quite a while:
Pattern Writing for Knit Designers, is a definitive guide on understanding ALL the many elements that go into knit pattern writing. In fact, a newer designer (or knitter) sitting down with this book might be overwhelmed by everything Kate deems essential to a well written pattern. But, nothing in this book should be overlooked.... it is entirely useful! Even if you aren't a designer, or aspiring one, the content in this book will help you understand how to read patterns more deeply. I certainly wish I had it as a reference when I was starting out!
There have been fabulous reviews on Pattern Writing for Knit Designers that I suggest you read. I thought it would be a fun twist to do a Q and A with Kate to talk about how she helped me become a better pattern writer.... a very different thing from being a knitwear designer!
Kate: I had to go back and look; it seems like it might have been the Mr. Popper hot water bottle cover. And it looks like although
it was pretty far off the style sheet, it was in pretty good shape. It's
funny, actually, because that pattern is not at all representative of your
work, in that it uses techniques I don't think I've ever seen you use in
another pattern... felting! intarsia in the round! And hot water bottle
covers? You're rarely that practical or domestic.
Looking back on my notes, I remember it well, actually. The intarsia in the
round was pretty challenging to review... I had to get you needles and yarn
and actually knit for that one!
In fact, I would say that it set the theme very nicely for our relationship:
you do challenging, unusual and interesting things, and I do often have to
get out needles and yarn to be able to edit. Some things I can just read
through, and knit "in my head", but that's rarely true of your patterns.
L: I have learned a TON from you about clarity, consistency, and
comprehension,what have you learned from me?
Kate: I think I learn something with every pattern. That first one taught me
about intarsia in the round. Would you be appalled to learn that I'd never
knitted anything with beads before we started working together? And you've
taught me about lace design and all sorts of fantastic constructions. In
fact, I have an element in a new design that's loosely inspired by your
work - I work a shawl in two directions, at 90-degree angles. And I've
learned a lot about how to check through complex charts and how to proofread
long and complicated written instructions for charts. (Multiple colors of
pens; print them out; post it notes and rulers; and more coffee.)
L: Is there any mistake I consistently make that you have to correct?
Kate: Not any more . We had to have the conversation about SSK and how you
defined it, but I've cured you of that particular bad habit.
L: Is there an element to my patterns that you find really effective?
Kate: I adore that you work really hard to include both charts and written
instructions. Sometimes it's hard work for both of us, but I know you're
making a lot of knitters very happy. Not all knitters love charts, and so
often complex lace patterns are only charted. You're going an extra step -
one of the reasons your knitters love you.
L: Often times on my charts you comment that you wish I would include stitch counts and I pretty much always choose not to as they confuse "the picture" for me... can you explain more why you think I should? (and I know you wrote a whole chapter on this exact topic!)
Kate: It's partially because it makes life easier to me to check. After all, I
need to check the written instructions against the charts (and vice versa)
and it's nice to be able to glance at it to know how many stitches there
are. That having been said, where there's repeats, it's not possible (or
indeed advisable), and I think in many cases (see answer to next question
) your charts are full of tricky repeats and all sorts of things.
L: We've developed a bit of a "game-on" mentality where I try to make your brain hurt with complex patterns to edit... were there any patterns (or projects) of mine in which you wanted to just throw in the towel and tell me to go find another editor? (Sorry to say....I have another one coming down the pike in this vein!)
Kate: I may regret saying this, but not so far. Sometimes I have to make more
coffee, and you've definitely make me work hard, but I love the challenge. I
think it works well between us because we've established a partnership - I'm
entirely comfortable telling you if I don't understand something or am just
wildly confused, and I'm entirely ok when you tell me that I have it wrong.
Because sometimes that does happen! The fact that I work without the samples
adds to the challenge, especially when your pattern has an interesting
construction. I appreciate your patience when I have to ask questions. But
equally, I think the process of the two of us having to think through the
construction and how to communicate it, and making sure it makes sense to me
without me having my hands on the sample, makes for better patterns!
L: Does how we work together differ from how you work with other designers?
What is unique about it?
Kate: I love that we've developed some fun shorthand... sometimes I can just
put ? or a ! in a comment, and you'll know what I mean. And I really enjoy
that we can ask questions and collaborate - it's not just about me checking
your math, but about a discussion about how to best communicate complex
ideas to your knitters. I appreciate that we can have discussions about
usability, not just numbers. Plus you don't mind if I swear in my edit
Thankyou Kate! I can't agree more with you... we've developed a fabulous comfortable working relationship that has made us both better at what we do! I hope this gives you all more of an idea of exactly how wonderful Kate and her body of knowledge is.
Time for a giveaway...
Kate has generously donated a digital copy of Pattern Writing for Knit Designers to giveaway to one of you! Just leave a comment below by 11pm (EST) on March 6th, don't forget to
leave a way to get in touch with you! I randomly choose a winner next week and announce them in my Ravelry group in the news thread and on Facebook!