Book Review – Pattern Writing for Knit Designers, by Kate Atherley

Pattern Writing for Knit Designers (everything you didn’t know you needed to know)

Serenity Now!

The quality of mercy may not be strained, but the quality of a knitting pattern can make the difference between a heavenly or hellish knitting experience. It’s no fun working on a project if the instructions are confusing, the layout is illogical, the photos misleading or there’s no schematic. Conversely, a beautifully laid out, clearly written pattern that makes sense and has an overall “flow” along with pretty photos that show the details of a project will go a long way to making knitting the relaxing and rewarding occupation it should be.

When I started writing up my own patterns, I wanted my work to look professional so I studied the patterns of my favorite designers to get inspired by their layouts, language, fonts, photos, charts, white space, etc. but didn’t really know the reasons why those aspects are so important. As a fledgling designer, I can’t afford to hire a tech editor or graphic designer so I really want to learn how to translate my designs myself into patterns that really work.

My search is over! 

I have been rescued by Kate Atherley and her new book, Pattern Writing for Knit Designers. It explains in clear, step-by-step detail everything designers need to know, including, as the book’s subtitle says, what they didn’t know they needed to know. I snapped up the e-book the moment it was published and read it from cover-to-cover almost before the ink on the PayPal invoice had dried.

Who is this book for?

Everyone, from newbie to experienced designer, can benefit from Pattern Writing for Knit Designers. Whether you want to learn to write patterns from the ground up or you’re an old hand who wants to add polish to your patterns, this book is for you.

As Kate describes it, “this book specifically addresses the details of how to create complete, clear and easy-to-use knitting patterns, for any type of design, and for any level of knitter.”

What will you learn?

There is a LOT of genius information in this 162-page book. Some of the topics include:

  • what information needs to be included in a knitting pattern
  • how to properly and clearly communicate sizing and measurement information
  • what schematics are, why you need them, and how to create them
  • how to use charts and written instructions to express special pattern stitches like cables and lace
  • stitch nomenclature (especially related to cables), abbreviations, and glossaries
  • how to handle multiple sizes and versions
  • use of brackets and * to indicate repeats
  • how to establish a personal style sheet

Practical Information Galore!

Every chapter is loaded with a ton of practical information. One example is Chapter 2: “The Actual Knitting Instructions”. It explains in detail how to use consistency in language, style and formatting, includes fun “pop quizzes” that illustrate how instructions can be improved and outlines the importance of developing a personal style sheet.

There isn’t a single chapter in this book that I will not apply to my work immediately. Kate explores every topic in detail and explains not just the “how” but also the “why” of each process. Nuggets of sage advice from other experts are included throughout the book along with real-life knitters’ perspectives on patterns.

A truly invaluable resource, Pattern Writing for Knit Designers belongs in every designer’s arsenal.

What are you waiting for? Buy it now!

You can read more about Kate and purchase Pattern Writing for Knit Designers on her website at  (You’ll also find info there about purchasing the book from Patternfish and Webs.)

Full disclosure: I am not related to Kate nor have we ever met. I’m just a big fan and love awesome books that teach me stuff I’m dying to know! 

Happy knitting and designing y’all!