That’s why I’ve compiled a list of books that I’ve learned from when altering or forming my own designs. I’ve listed 10 books here that I believe would help designers through the process of creation and improve the quality of their future work.
Knit Books Written with Designers in Mind
The following books were written with knitwear designers in mind. They cover the process, theories, and techniques that creators should use when forming and writing down each step.
The following are 5 books that I believe would be great resources for you (or someone you know who is interested in knit design) wherever you are on your path of creation.
1. The Beginner’s Guide to Writing Knitting Patterns
In the book, The Beginner’s Guide to Writing Knitting Patterns: Learn to Write Patterns Others Can Knit, Kate Atherley covers all the basics of pattern-writing. She starts out with the pattern structure and how to write out the knitting instructions and ends with selling the pattern online and copyright guidelines.
From appendices, charts, and tips throughout, this book is a great resource if you like to design your own patterns and want to potentially earn from your hobby. Not only does it lay out the process for you, but it also teaches you tips and techniques to avoid errors in your patterns.
2. Knitting Pattern Essentials: Adapting and Drafting Knitting Patterns for Great Knitwear
Sally Melville will teach you to adapt and write knitting patterns in her book, Knitting Pattern Essentials: Adapting and Drafting Knitting Patterns for Great Knitwear. Most designers started out their careers by modifying existing patterns for their size or their particular taste. The great thing about knitting is that you get to decide the ultimate outcome of your project.
In her book, the writer not only explains how to complete different aspects of a project, but she also explains why. This will help a designer better understand the theory behind the design-work, which will, in turn, create more confidence and creativity in future patterns.
This book was created for intermediate knitters or above. While beginners may understand some of it, it covers moderate and advanced techniques that may be too confusing or difficult for some.
3. Designing Knitwear
In the book, Designing Knitwear, Deborah Newton shares the insights she has learned over more than two decades she has spent creating and developing knitting patterns.
If you an advanced knitter who likes to step outside of the box, this book will help you expand your imagination and get you started down the road of designing your own knitwear. Newton covers the theory of knitting, as well as specific techniques to help you build out the partial patterns and schematics listed in the book.
4. Knitwear Design Workshop: A Comprehensive Guide to Handknits
Knitwear Design Workshop: A Comprehensive Guide to Handknits by Shirley Paden contains a mountain of information and worksheets for knitters who want to take their design work to the next level. Designers can use this book every time they design something to help them ensure they cover everything they need for each design.
Paden includes charts, mathematical formulas, and schematics to really help push the envelope on what a knitter can design (and how quickly). The book is a great resource for designers as well as those who like to alter patterns from time to time.
5. Sweater Design in Plain English, Second Edition
We all know the adage that you should never knit a man a sweater until he has given you a ring. While it may be tongue-in-cheek, it is true that well-made sweaters take a lot of effort and time to complete. It makes sense, therefore, that it would take time and complex ideas for the design process as well.
In their book, Sweater Design in Plain English, Maggie Righetti, and Terri Shaw tackle the process by explaining everything sweater designers need to know. Lessons include how to take accurate body measurements and how to estimate the amount of yarn you will need.
Great Resource Books For Knit Designers
The books above were written about the design process and give instructions about the steps to creating and writing down patterns. The following books are great reference books that will help inspire the designer or enable them to give the creation of the right finishing touch.
6. Good Measure: Knit a Perfect Fit Every Time
This is the second of three Deborah Newton books that I’ll review in this post. Good Measure: Knit a Perfect Fit Every Time goes into great detail on how to knit patterns for every size and shape. It teaches how to analyze and alter both simple and advanced patterns and gives insight into colors and fibers that work well in specific patterns.
The reason I recommend this book to designers is that it will help them dive into a deeper understanding of how sizing and alterations will affect an overall pattern. This understanding will influence how they design their future patterns which will broaden their appeal and attract a larger audience.
7. The Knitting Bible
Edited and produced by Phildar, The Knitting Bible covers more than 300 unique versatile stitch patterns. This book (or others like it) will inspire designers to try out new swatches which they can incorporate into their designs.
We all know that knitting encompasses so much more than Stockinette stitch and garter stitch, and this book opens the mind to hundreds of possibilities. No knitwear designer should be without a similar book.
8. Knitted Cable Sourcebook: A Breakthrough Guide to Knitting with Cables and Designing Your Own
I recommend the book, Knitted Cable Sourcebook: A Breakthrough Guide to Knitting with Cables and Designing Your Own by Norah Gaughan for similar reasons as to why I recommend The Knitting Bible. Not only does it showcase many different cabled patterns, but it also explains the theories on how you can combine or design your own.
While a simple cable can be mastered easily, designing with complex cables can be a headache without proper understanding of how they work. If you struggle with adding cables to your knitwear designs, this book will set you up for success.
9. AlterKnit Stitch Dictionary: 200 Modern Knitting Motifs
The book AlterKnit Stitch Dictionary: 200 Modern Knitting Motifs is another great resource for knitters, especially those who wish to design patterns with intricate colorwork. The book offers inspiration through 200 motifs that can be used and altered in knitwear designs.
The use of color and motifs isn’t new in knitting, but it can take some effort to learn. AlterKnit Stitch Dictionary is a great resource to walk you through these steps.
10. Finishing School: A Master Class for Knitters
I personally know many knitters who hate the process of “finishing” a project. While binding off can fill you with joy, the process of blocking and adding notions can be daunting, especially if you don’t know fully understand what you need to do. Deborah Newton covers these important finishing touches in Finishing School: A Master Class for Knitters.
While you may be thinking that finishing a project doesn’t have much to do with the design process, it is important for the overall look of your pattern. You need to know (as do future knitters) what the project should look like when it is properly done.
Learning to add special notions such as unique buttons or embroidery will also make your images stand out from other designs, increasing your chances to make a sale. That is why I believe the lessons in this book are so crucial to designers.