Thursday, July 08, 2010
The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design: Book Review
Shannon, the world of knitting thanks you.
Good lord, this book is a marvel. I agree wholeheartedly with all the glowing reviews out there.
For me, it's worth every penny just for Appendix B, the Book Proposal Template. The interviews with other knit design professionals are utterly inspiring and illuminating - while being brutally honest about the challenges of working in knitting. The book is full of well-articulated, clear and reasonable advice for anyone in the knitwear industry. She covers everything - not just the knitterly stuff like writing patterns and including schematics, but detailed advice on marketing, sales and legal topics.
Her style is friendly and accessible, while being realistic and balanced. Lots of concrete and relevant examples underline her messages and guide the reader's thinking and learning.
Last but not least, Shannon covers a topic very close to my heart: she provides a very clear argument for using technical editors.
This book is the best mentor I've ever had - and I didn't even need to take it out for lunch.
If you want to publish a pattern, read this book. If you want to write a book, read this book. If you want to work in the knitwear industry - as a designer, yarn shop employee, editor, writer, knitter - read this book.
Just read the book! Even someone who considers themselves to be "just a knitter" will find much to enjoy in the interviews with designers... Shannon talks to all the names we know and love - my friends Amy and Jillian are there, as is one of my personal heroes, Annie Modesitt, and the wonderful designer Louisa Harding, and so many others... I won't reproduce the full list, but every single one of them is worth reading. Shannon gathered designers and professionals of all levels, styles, backgrounds and opinions.
(I promise you, I'm not saying all this because I'm quoted in the book. In fact, it was day three of reading and loving it before I realized I was... ) Perhaps the best recommendation of all is that as soon as it arrived, I turned to the section that provides information on something I'm working on right now, and starting using Shannon's suggestions right away.
Speaking of opinionated, I am one of the interviewees... and as usual, I'm frank and opinionated. I've expressed a couple of ideas that I'm sure some will disagree with - and I look forward to the discussion that results from that!