Bonus: have you met Shannon Okey?

We’re very glad to welcome Shannon Okey to the KnittyBlog on this special edition of What’s What Wednesdays! Shannon has recently published The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design: How to Keep Your Knits About You through her company, Cooperative Press. In addition, Shannon’s a long-time friend of Knitty, having helped us find our tagline when we launched: Little Purls of Wisdom.
Jillian Moreno got to talk to Shannon — the successful author of more than a dozen books — about the business of knitting. Take it away, Eric the Orchestra Leader Jillian!
[ed’s note: Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.]

J: First off, thank you for writing this book! It is the finest resource I’ve ever read for a knitting designer. Invaluable if you are starting out or if you’ve been in the business for a while, it concretely makes sense of the ‘mystery’ and shifting sands of the design business.

We love that you love Knitty. Talk about why Knitty is important to the industry and how best new designers can utilize it.

S: In my opinion, Knitty really raised the expectations bar early on in terms of helping designers who were new to the business to establish a standard format, create really great photos and all the other good stuff that’s essential to putting one’s best designer foot forward, so it’s easy to love! (In fact, I know that I’m not the only one who has recommended Knitty’s style guide for pattern formatting to those who have no idea where to begin!)

New designers can use Knitty as a beautifully-edited example of What To Do in terms of pattern presentation and collection-building – look how each issue of the magazine makes sense, how the patterns relate to each other, how there’s a great mix of pattern types and techniques…and then, in the archives, see how things have changed over time.

J: What benefit do you see Knitty providing to established designers?

S: For established designers, using Knitty + Ravelry is a marketing research exercise in itself – each time an issue comes out, a handful of Knitty patterns immediately shoot into the stratosphere in terms of the “New and Popular” list. What is it about those patterns (and not one of the others) that made people sit up and notice? Are there trends? Is there something you could adapt for your own use when designing your next pattern? It always pays to watch what knitters are choosing to knit if you want to make sure your next pattern will sell well.

J: Lots of blogs and newsletters have recently changed their approach into “sell, sell, sell” with little useful or interesting content. How do you keep the balance between authenticity and selling in social media?

S: 90/10. That’s how I see it… 90 is me, personally and 10 is “ok, buy my stuff, please” (Maybe even less than 10%!) I try very hard not to post a million “I just put out a new X and you should buy it” tweets or Facebook updates, I’d much rather just be me, talking about the goofy stuff I personally like to talk about when I’m not discussing business.

So, for example, of the 17 tweets I’ve posted today, one was “I’m not above using my cute dad to sell a few more patterns. http://twitpic.com/2azzqa” — which, technically, is a businessy tweet because I’m showing off my dad’s photo on the Ravelry featured pattern page wearing my latest design. But notice I didn’t say BUY MY PATTERN JASPER NOW. I pointed out that making my dad be Mr. Male Model is kind of funny. The majority of my tweets today were me moaning about my webhost screwing up my email service, and responding to people who either a) suggested new hosts for me or b) said my dad was adorable.

I personally am much more likely to click through on things that offer me information instead of just a sales pitch. Useful content makes you useful, which in turn leads to trust, which in turn leads to sales. You have to be in it for the long haul.

J: What is the bare minimum for social media for a knitwear designer?

S: Pick one account and stick with it. Better to just be on Twitter or just be on Facebook than do a horrible job of both. (Of course, you could also use one of the services that will update both for you and therefore capture eyeballs in either place.)

J: Not all budding knitwear designers can or want to make it a full-time job. What advice do you have specifically for part-time designers?

S: Establish expectations for your customers. For example, if you can only respond to email after 5:00 p.m., put a disclaimer on your webpage/Ravelry profile/etc. Some customers expect you to get back to them immediately, which isn’t always possible even for full time designers, and they will tar and feather you if you don’t. Then, if anyone gives you grief, you can politely point them to the disclaimer. Most everything else will be the same for a part time designer – keep it professional, make sure you can meet any deadlines set by magazines or whoever else you’re working with, etc.

J: Once you’ve had some success in designing, it seems like opportunities come out of the woodwork. What should a designer keep in mind when choosing a project to take on?

I’d like to just flat-out quote myself from a recent interview with Kim Werker that was held live on Twitter: “You take a project for 1 of 2 things: money, or publicity. Sometimes you get both, but if it isn’t worth just ONE, don’t! I have taken projects where I wouldn’t have made ANYTHING after paying the sample knitter/etc, but was great PR. However, it was MY CHOICE — anyone touting a project solely for publicity or “exposure” should be immediately suspect. Our hilarious friends @Ravelry got it right.”

In addition, you should take projects that will challenge you – why do the same thing 15 times in a row?

J: How do you manage your time with so many projects happening simultaneously?

S: My computer is my backup brain. I never delete emails (well, except spam!), so I can always look up what’s already been said about an ongoing project, etc. I am a compulsive list-maker, too. I have a ton of “things going on” textfiles sitting on my desktop that I can pull up and work from, reminderwise. I’ve been trying to find the perfect project management software but nothing has really fit the bill 100% without costing an arm and a leg, so for now it’s lists upon lists upon lists.

J: With so many outlets for designs, patterns run the risk of looking alike. How do you keep your design ideas fresh?

S: I like themes, because I’m a very visual person, and it helps me categorize all my ideas. So, for example, I’m working on a fall/winter pattern collection that’s inspired by 1920s Vienna, carnivals and one particular artist I like. I started with one particular pattern I wanted to design, figured out what would go with it and provide a broad range of pattern types, and then went backwards from there. I use style.com, Ravelry and other sources to see what’s out there but when it comes right down to it, it’s the circus in my head + what I want to personally knit + what yarn is calling my name.

J: What about burn out? You have 70,000 things going on all the time — do you ever lose sight of the dreamy part? How do you find your way back to being/feeling creative?

S: I’m, to quote my boyfriend, “Amish on weekends” because I turn the computer OFF. I sit around and knit and watch TV and do housework and stare into space and play with the dog and pet the cats and make elaborate, ridiculous foodstuffs…everything but work work. It helps. Some of the ideas for the new collection came about, for example, as the result of watching a terrible, terrible movie about Klimt on Netflix. It was seriously one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen, one of those movies that’s so awful you can’t turn it off because you’re worried there might be something even worse to laugh at in the next scene. But it did make me re-examine some of the things I knew about that era, and remember pieces I’d liked at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, and start to think hmmmm, these things would go together, and this yarn would work, and and and… In short, don’t be afraid to “waste” time doing something that seems silly because you never know when inspiration will strike.

J: How do you create a design style that is unique to you? – the best examples are Norah Gaughan and Ysolda. Is it even important to have a style?

S: I think so, yes, if only because it helps drive repeat business. If someone likes the way you do X, then it only stands to reason they will like X1, X2 and X3. You have to be careful not to get stuck in a rut, though!

J: What did you learn about your designing self and your business writing this book?

S: I really need to outsource more of the things I don’t do as well or as quickly. One example – I’m a much slower knitter than my test knitters. If I want to keep up, I need to outsource more of the sample knitting, and rework my patternwriting process. It’s a lot harder for me to write the pattern before I knit the sample, but in order to outsource the knitting, I’ll have to do it in that order. It takes away some of the serendipity, but serendipity doesn’t always pay the bills. I wish I could just sit and knit all day and make someone else write it all down, but that’s not how it works at this level.

J: What’s next for you?

S: More books! Cooperative Press is publishing over a dozen books by other people in the next 18 months or so, and I could not be more excited. I’m also co-authoring a book on tech editing with the fabulous Alexandra Virgiel that will fill a major hole in the market for both pro designers and knitters who just want to make their work better. We’re going to keep pushing the envelope with technology in particular, which is exciting and scary all at the same time. (I love technology). I plan to keep teaching online as well, because it’s an amazing way to reach people all over the world without leaving the comfort of my desk!


BONUS CONTEST POST!

Shannon has very generously offered to give one lucky commenter to this post a copy of her new book. PLUS, to get you jump started on your design career: the choice between one of her online classes OR an one-one consultation with the pro herself.

To win, just leave a comment to this post telling Shannon why you want to win this great prize. Comments will be closed Friday, July August 13th at 5pm EST, and the winner chosen by Shannon, and announced in the WWW post next Wednesday. Good luck!

(186 Posts)

157 thoughts on “Bonus: have you met Shannon Okey?

  1. Beth

    Lists, Lists, Lists. I’m so bad at making them but they help me so much when I do. Thank you for reminding me.
    And also, the book is fantastic!

  2. Mackenzie

    It looks like a fascinating book! I’d love to win it because, although I am not a knitting designer for profit, I really dig putting new ideas into practice for gifts for family & friends. I’d love to learn more about the professional side of things.

  3. Jennifer

    I NEED this book, and the class. I am terrible at clothing construction. I can knit socks and accessories all day long, but when it comes to the tops, I give up! (Well, not really. Thus this post). I could really use some guided one-on-one, and as much written material as I can get my hands on. I may not be a top fashion designer, but I’ll hopefully be able to make tops my kids will at least wear!

  4. Jen

    As I both have the book and am currently a student in several of Shannon’s classes, I’ll just encourage everyone else to comment too. I don’t think this space is large enough to list all of the things I’ve learned in just my first read-through of Shannon’s book, and I know there’s more gems there to be learned on another go-around. And her classes are outstanding; the ones I’m taking have just started and already I’ve learned enough to pay for the course!

  5. Katie

    Wow! It’s great to hear more about Shannon’s process- a peek behind the curtain! I just purchased the book last week and am anxiously awaiting its arrival. I think I’d get a lot out of the “Get Published” class as I’ve just been winging it and putting my patterns out myself. It would be great to learn how to research and propose a book project.

  6. Odessa

    I’d love to win this book. I am just starting to market my designs, and have been considering purchasing it.

  7. Sinéad

    Hi! I’d love to win this book. If I don’t, I’m buying it anyway. I’m about to submit my first design, and know I’d learn loads from this book. I need all the help I cam get to make sure I do it right!

  8. Heather W.

    I’d love to win because I tend to think up garments I’d love to knit, but I don’t have a good process for creating them, and the ideas just sit.

  9. Allison

    I’ve been stalking all the blogs on Shannon’s blog tour trying to win a copy of this book! I want to get farther into the world of knitwear design. I wrote a scarf pattern a few years ago and now offer it for free on Ravelry and seeing it become so popular (currently #29 out of over 11,000 scarf patterns!) has been so fun and so humbling! I really enjoy seeing people knitting (and really enjoying) the pattern (and the scarf!). I want to create more designs – sweaters, shawls, etc (and maybe even make some money doing it!). I’m also waiting for her next Tech Editing class and I can’t wait to sign up for it. She is such a fountain of information and I want to learn everything my brain can absorb! 🙂

  10. Kathleen R

    I’d love to win this book! I’m just getting into technical editing and I’ve heard that this book has a lot of great information about that. I’m also excited to take her technical editing class, which fills up insanely fast! The list of folks interested in the next one is already probably longer than a class can hold. Thanks!!

  11. Jenn

    This books is really filling an empty hole out there for knitters interested in design! I have design ideas, but don’t have a clear notion of where to begin and what steps to take to become more established – this book seems like it is a great starting place.

  12. faun

    i think the book sounds fantastic! and it seems it would be a great fit for helping w/designing knitwear from my handspun yarns… all of shannon’s classes are valuable!

  13. Alex

    I’m looking to get into the designing world and I have great ideas, but sometimes they don’t always translate into the best looking patterns. I’d love to win the book to help me more! =)

  14. etcgirl

    Shannon, I’d love to have a copy of your book for myself because 1) I’m responsible for writing patterns for the LYS I manage and want to have your excellent guidance on layout and 2) I overheard you speaking to someone at Lettuce Knit once, and now I can only hear k2togtbl as “kay two tog tibble” every time I encounter the term. 🙂

  15. Deb White

    Wow- a chance to speak with Shannon???? That in itself would be the prize. I design things for myself, have sold a design or two, but I am always looking to learn- about fit, about finishing, about what is the “wow” factor that sets my handmade item apart from every other item I could buy. So that is what I would like to learn about- that elusive “wow” factor- and it is clear that Shannon understands that factor!

  16. Katie

    I’m mentioning tweets here and on twitter- Amy’s tweet is how I found out about the interview- I hadn’t checked my blog reader for the day yet.

  17. Alyssa

    I’ve been trying to get into an online tech editing class! That would be so cool. I never win these things, though, so my backup plan is to buy the book when It comes out! 😉

  18. tracey

    I would love to win this book. I think it would be helpful to see what lies behind the curtain.

  19. The Sexy Knitter

    Shannon, what a generous offer and a great interview! Like your book (which I of course already own), so, SO helpful. I would, though, love being able to try out one of your online classes, as I’m interested in learning how to offer them on my own. 🙂

  20. Danielle

    I would love to win this book so I can have some help designing something I might wear, instead of throwing more yarn in the frog pond. I have at least three nearly finished sweaters that I just gave up on and never went back to because they’re not quite right for me.

  21. Carla

    I need help getting the ideas out of my head and onto paper. Someone actually talked me out of buying this book because, “you’re NOT a designer – you don’t need it.” But how do I become a designer if I don’t know how??

  22. Pat Prahl

    I really like this book. I am new to trying to design. And, actually this is only my second (ever) comment. I have never designed my own project but have wanted to and wonderd how. I’ve seen things on this book on other sites and would really love to have it. I really like Shannon Okey and her work. I saw an interview on Let’s Knit2gether.

  23. Ginger

    I have yet to design anything but as I’ve become a more proficient knitter I think my next challenge will be design, and I can use all the help I can get!

  24. Daria

    I follow both Shannon and Knitty on Twitter (hilarious, informative – Evil Genius T-shirt is being shipped even now) and am a part-time designer who needs a bit more of…something? I also do some hand dying and would like to spend more of my time working to perfect the marriage of design, colour, marketing etc. to transition from part-time to full-time. Expert guidance would really help!

  25. britt

    Your tweets have sucked me in and now I want to win! your skills are way more impressive than anything I would attempt, but your book still makes me think I could possibly design my own sweater

  26. haley

    Great interview! I’ve been looking forward to this book’s release. I need a copy because I am absolutely hopeless with figuring out all the little details in sweater construction/design. There’s just so much information!

  27. Shannon

    Hey etcgirl!

    (You kind of can’t help overhearing me anywhere, I was raised by a very loud family!)

    …”and now I can only hear k2togtbl as “kay two tog tibble”

    HA! yes, because saying “knit two together through the back loop” is not NEARLY as fun.

    Keep the comments coming, everyone. xo!

    p.s. Confidential to the person who told Carla she isn’t a designer: you’d get a lot more use from that knitting needle if you pulled it out of…[BLEEEEEEP]

    p.p.s. And who’s to say you can’t read the interviews portion alone and enjoy them if you have no interest in being a designer yourself? Sheesh. I will never understand why people make a sport out of tearing other people down. It’s like saying you can’t enjoy looking at a cookbook because you don’t have a refrigerator full of filet mignon.

  28. Tangela "SazzyLady"

    I need this book and the class!! I have been sewing since I was 6, crocheting for 8 years and knitting for 6. I enjoy doing all these things and my life would be sooooo complete if I could do what I love and make a living. My children believe in me more than I believe in myself and that is why I keep trying……SHINE ON!!

  29. Margay

    First off, who wouldn’t want to win? It’s a fantastic prize for the knitting fanatic and that’s what I consider myself to be. I quickly went from someone who simply enjoyed knitting to someone with a desire to create my own designs and although I have been toying with some ideas already, I’d love the chance to discover more about the process.
    Margay

  30. Sara Thompson

    Great idea for a book! I would love to learn more about the ‘behind the scenes’ of knitwear design. I have just started designing my own sweaters and once you get started it’s hard to stop and the thought of actually publishing them has briefly crossed my mind. I think this book would be a great way to take that next step.

  31. KT Vaughan

    Hi Shannon! I want to win the prize because I’ve loved working with you in the past and am always looking for more opportunities. A one-on-one consult would be so useful for me at this stage! The book is like having you sitting on my couch and chatting – except I can put you down to watch Buffy repeats… 🙂 KT

  32. Jenna

    I would love to win this prize because I’ve never taken a class, nor have I had the opportunity to sit down and discuss my fledgling business with anyone.

  33. sharon watterson

    I’d love to win the book, so I could spread the word to many other talented knitters, some who are just starting out, but haven’t ventured into the unknown territory yet. I write about knitters, their designs, some you may have never heard of. You sound as though you have a very practical approach to knitting design, one my readers would be interested in reading.

    Best of luck to you with the book, looks a success already.

    Great post, knittyblog!

  34. Beverly

    I love the book! I love this interview! I am dipping my toes into the world of design using my gateway craft hairpin lace, and I’d love to learn more from La Shannon herself!

    Here via Twitter!

  35. Lisa (rav = danea)

    As I’m getting more experience as a knitter, my brain is automatically thinking of new and different ideas for designs. Some of them are complex enough that I’d really like to make it worth my while with a few sales. I’ve put this book into my AMZ cart and taken it back out half a dozen times already, thinking ‘maybe I’m not there yet’ but this might be just the kick in the pants I need to BE ready.

  36. Rachel Erin

    I saw Shannon’s tweet about this interview, and over I came.
    I ended up buying your book about a month ago, and I think the information is a gift to all knitters. Even if you don’t design, you know what to look for in a reliable designer, and the interviews are absolutely fascinating. I think I’ve read that section of the book 3 or 4 times.
    I would love to be chosen for the prize, because I am approaching my 1 year anniversary as a knitwear designer. A lot of things about this year have been very encouraging, I just had my first magazine publication, wholesale order, and best month of sales ever in July. I’m reaching a transition as I go from building a business, to maintaining and growing one. I have convinced myself that I am serious about this and in it for the long haul. I would love to have the one-on-one (since I have to choose-and I can budget for the class) because I have a list of questions a mile long about the decisions and priorities facing me in the coming year.
    Thanks for writing the book, and have fun picking the winner!
    Rachel Erin

  37. Martie

    What great advice she gives, especially about stepping away from work for the weekend. It s easy for the self employed to forget to take some time away from work to retain their sanity.
    Oh, and the book looks wonderful!

  38. Seanna Lea

    Gods yes! I have all of these scraps of paper around with little sketches, a sleeve (or something that was meant to be a sleeve at the time), a hat. I’ve charted designs, but I’ve never made something completely my own from the beginning to the end. I need to get some of this stuff out of my head and out there, if only to figure out if I’m completely derivative or actually doing something that actually someone other than me might like.

  39. Deirdre

    Oh that book sounds so good. I have one pattern that I knit for myself that a few friends have asked me for a pattern for, this might help. I also have a number of other patterns I’ve sketched and want to get onto paper and onto the needles.

  40. Julianne

    I’ve started trying to design my own stuff for fun, but it would be so great to learn how to make a profit from this.
    The book looks really great!

  41. Jenn

    I hope you mean August 13th not July 13th or one of us is losing their mind. 😆 Not that I have much left to lose but going by the fact you posted the blog today I expect you are fighting the end of summertime.

    That said, it looks like this would be an excellent book to learn with. Please enter me in the drawing.

  42. Indigo

    I am a rabid pattern modifier and have been giving more thought to going for the whole shebang. I am interested in this book to help boost my confidence in designing.

  43. marie

    I would like to win this prize because I want to design a sweater for myself that is very heavily cabled and do not know where to start.

    1. karen

      I love playing with my yarn and needles without a plan. I come up with something always interesting, not necessarily useful but always interesting. I think if I had more experience and confidence in my skills, things would really get going.

      Thanks for your commentary on the design process. I love the idea of going “Amish”, its a cool idea.

      karen

  44. Kayten

    I run a small fiber and yarn dyeing business, Sliver Moon Farm, and though I’m a fairly accomplished knitter, I need to develop my design skills in order to have samples I can actually sell in addition to the Zimmermann designs that feature my yarns, but are for display only. Seems I ought to be able to manage that, but assistance is required!

  45. helena

    i LOVE this book. and i love shannon 🙂 i’m a LYS owner and i’ve done a wee bit of knitwear design and could definitely use help with the design process. once i have a design idea, i’m good to go – but coming up with those ideas, or formulating them into concrete designs from the more spectral imaginations is difficult for me.

  46. Susan

    Shannon, I need your book for my zombie apocalypse survival team! You see, my friends and I are pooling our analog hobbies in preparation for that fateful day. My gardening and canning friends, for example, will provide food. As a spinner and a knitter myself, my friends have charged me with the responsibility of providing clothing. And your wonderful book can help me do it! (Yes, Shannon, you can join our zombie apocalypse survival team, too.)

  47. jill

    I want this prize because I can see different designs I’d like to do but need a little help turning them into a physical object I won’t throw in the back of the closet. I want to learn something new and useful and have more tools at my disposal. And thanks for a great interview.

  48. Sarah

    I would really love to win this book. This sounds like a book that can help prevent the re-invention of the wheel, while guiding a designer toward success.

  49. Natalie

    I already have the book and it’s an immense help. I’d love some time with Shannon to talk about the overall direction & plan of what I’m doing.

    Oh, and I’d love more time too, but that could happen if our house ever sells, and I don’t think that’s really Shannon/knitting territory.

  50. Caitlin

    I would love to win this book because I would like to do some designing but have no idea where to begin! Thanks for this great giveaway and an awesome interview!

  51. Rebecca

    I would love to reinforce the knowledge I already do know and learn a lot more on designing knitwear. This book looks excellent!

  52. Pam

    I’d love to win this book and meet with Shannon. I’m a chronic under-achiever and terrific knitter — could I actually make something of this hobby besides more sweaters & mittens?

  53. G. K. Green

    Shannon, I’d like to win your book and a one-on-one consultation with you … the latter even more generous of you than the former, *I* think … because after some years (OK, 20+) of knitting, I’m more than ready to launch an over-perfected pattern of mine onto an unsuspecting knitting public! I’ve done my basic research on Ravelry and Knitty, but I need expert guidance (i.e., your help!). Thanks in advance for your consideration for this awesome opportunity! G. K. Green

  54. Julia Shinay

    Hello! my name is Julia Shinay and I have been an avid knitter since the age of seven. As a child I was always fascinated by my Nana’s knitting ability: how shoe could spontaneously design socks and fair isle sweaters at the drop of a hat and how they always fit perfectly. For the Christmas of my seventh year I begged her to teach me how to knit, and she did. I was hooked. Soon after, well before she could teach me her secrets of pattern making and designing, her arthritic hands made knitting a thing of the past. Now, as art student studying jewelry and fashion design in NYC, I had hoped I could learn her secrets through collegiate knitwear classes. Alas, while I have numerous resources to teach me metalsmiting and sewing, somehow not many knitwear (at least hand knitwear) classes are available. When I saw your book on knitty, I immedietly knew it could be the ticket to the skills I never was able to learn. Please choose me not only to fuel the passions of a young (18) and poor student, but also so that I may show my Nana how much she has inspired me as a fiber artist. Thank you for considering me!

    (PS: email is conversequeen64 at hotmail dot com)

  55. Robin

    I love the fact that Shannon fearlessly striking out into new territory by answering the plea for hand-holding guidance for newer designers, and at the same time offering solid, proven advice to experienced ones!

  56. Nat

    I would love to win this because as a student I’m on a limited budget, but also, I live in a very remote area and would really like to try out the online class! Knitters (well people in general) are few and far between where I am!

  57. Ashley W

    I would love to win! I have ideas on things I want to knit myself, but so far I haven’t pushed myself off the side of the swimming pool and into the deep end. I know that even if I mess something up it’s not the end of the world, but I think having a life preserver would make me feel more confident about trying!

  58. Bristol

    I’m so excited to check out this book–I work in the fiber/yarn industry, but am working on figuring out myself as a designer. This book would be such a fabulous resource!

  59. Glyn

    I would love this book because I’m interested in learning to design my own knitwear. I’m actually in the process now of trying to design something for my son, as well as other projects. This looks like a wonderful resource! Thank you for this opportunity!

  60. Ana in Austin, TX

    I would love this book because I have been designing my own things for years and would like to take that to a more professional level. I have been dying to get my hands on a copy of this so that I can do things right the first time. I have no problem learning from someone else’s experience as well as my own. Thanks for the chance to get a hold of a copy!

  61. Jenny

    I would love to win this book because I dream of getting paid to design knitwear and work with yarn and needles for a living. You’re advice was great.

  62. Chelsea

    I would love to win this prize! I feel confident in my knitting abilities; designing something great is now my personal goal. Unfortunately, it seems so daunting to me, I’ve not really been able to get started.

  63. Beverly

    I would very much like this book and the one-on-one consultation with Shannon! I’ve had one design published in Knitty (thank you, Amy!) and a few others rejected (it’s okay – I understood). I’ve then self-published 6 other designs. I think I could use some help organizing my design process – everything feels jumbled in my head and it takes SO MUCH EFFORT to get it all on paper (which accounts for the low number of designs. Well, that and my life as a middle school teacher!) How can I improve that? Make it less stressful? I’d also love your thoughts on the designs I’ve created – a designer’s perspective would be invaluable!

  64. Pilaar

    I’m what I consider a dabbler in knitting, especially when I read articles by and about designers. What designers do completely boggles my mind and I would love to have your book just to revel in the possiblities it might present to someone who feels as underqualified to design as I do.

  65. Nadine

    I have designed two projects and my friends would like the patterns. I have written down the knitting bits, but I am not sure what a finished pattern needs to be complete.

  66. Kenzie

    I would love to have this book because learning to design means the freedom to create what you want. To break free from the pattern. Even if you don’t give it to me, I’ll probably buy it… or even better, convince someone else to buy it for me ;0)

  67. jessica

    I would love to win the online class! I really want to learn more about designing, this would be the perfect thing for me!

  68. Shelley

    Hey, I think if I don’t win this book I’m likely to buy it anyways. Shannon seems to make all the right moves when it comes to the knitting industry. Being an awesome crafter is one thing, and a wonderful thing at that, but design is where the ‘magic’ happens – as we see on Knitty all of the time! I enjoy her books and it’s sure to be the next one I check out. I’m a part time knitter and part time student as well as being a full time mom to two awesome ‘lil guys that like to *help* me knit, which is surprisingly often not soo helpful! It would be great to learn from her and she seems to me to be cool and down to earth. Everyone can always use more friends like that. Please pardon my spelling as I haven’t had my morning coffee yet! Ta

  69. JasmineBlossom

    Ohhh, what a great offer!! I told my husband, who is interested in half of my knitting, that I think there are several categories of knitters: Those who can knit; those who can trustingly follow a pattern, and complete a sucessful project; and those who can make some great designs. I fall into category one, sometimes two, but never three. I am planning to buy this book as soon as my local book store carries it, but having someone tell me what to do personally would be awesome!!

  70. joanna

    Shannon, I’m fascinated by fabric structure and really want to learn how to fit structure into shapes by means of created stitches and their combinations. Can Knitgrrl get me going on the right path? I’d love to try and see!
    joanna
    nlncmjd@gmail.com

  71. Ann Marie

    Sounds like a good book. A very interesting interview. It would be fun to win the online class. I have wondered about designing my own patterns, but then what knitter hasn’t thought about designing her/his own patterns.

  72. Rora114

    I’ve been hearing great things about the book, and it would be wonderful to have a copy in my eager hands! I’ve been knitting for a year, and would love to know more about designing knits, whether it turns into me designing or just aiding my ability to adapt patterns to fit/suit me better.

  73. Diane

    I would love to win this book because I am broke so I can’t really afford to buy it (I just graduated from grad school this year) and I have several ideas for patterns that I want to publish but I’m not entirely sure where to start. It sounds like this book was written for someone like me and would be a great resource.

  74. Jen

    I’d love to win a copy of the book so I can create some knits that fit me well. Of the sweaters I’ve knit for myself there’s always something that makes it wonderful-but-not-quite-perfect, and I’d like to make a perfect sweater or two. And I think this book would help immensely! And thank you for generously donating the book and your time!

  75. Diane

    What a wonderful resource this book is! I’d love to win because designing is, to me, the best part of the knitting process. It’s the ultimate way to give someone something from your heart, which is why my designs all seem to come from (or go to) specific people. I only have a few patterns available online, and I have a bit of traffic to them, but I really want to find that magical ingredient that will push me over the hump into being able to really make something amazing from my creative spark.

  76. Billi

    I can use all the help I can get! Designing my own garments seems like a pipe dream, but boy am I a dreamer. Your book could be just the inspiration I need right now.
    ~ Billi ~

  77. Angela

    What a great gift it would be to talk with Shannon 1-on-1. I already own the book and have learned so much! Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge. I am almost brave enough to publish my own patterns (there are a lot swirling around in my mind)and talking with Shannon would give me that last little bit of confidence I need.

  78. CrazyVet

    I would love to have that book, and even if I don’t I plan on getting it (birthday coming up…) because I want to have some reference to help me broaden my design skills towards designing for other people and not just for myself.

  79. Elizabeth

    I totally agree with you about your 90-10 rule for social media – seems like lots of people aren’t even trying for 80-20 anymore, and the result is that these media can seem like purely an advertising stream – and who wants to read that??

    I’d love to read your book – I keep designing sweaters and failing. (Although when I rip things up and reknit the yarn, I sure do get my money’s worth of enjoyment out of that yarn…)

  80. Whitney

    I would love a copy of this book! I feel like I learned a lot from the interview already!
    I have recently started to make a few different sweaters for myself, and it would be great to figure out how to create patterns from them that I could share.
    I’m not sure that I am lucky enough to be able to do something like this full time, but I have always been very curious about how people make that transition, and I would love to learn more.

  81. Elizabeth

    I have had this dream in the back of my head that when I grow up I will be a knitting goddess. I will design, spin and knit my own creations and support myself with it. But for now I would be happy to publish a pattern and have someone else knit it.

  82. cindy tuffo

    I am teaching everyone I can to knit. I have had 7 new knitters since Jan. I would love to expand my knowledge to be able to guide them further. I think winnng thias book would help me to be able to teach them to further their skills. Thanks from Cindy plltto@sbcglobal.net

  83. Rita G.

    I would love a copy of this book. I took a class on knittinbg 30 years ago and have knitted ever since. In the past I have combined patterns to make a garment…mostly baby items. I experiment a lot on shawls for my local hospital. Lately I’ve designed a chemo cap and scarf set. I’ve knitted over 200 for Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore as a thank you for the wonderful care I received during my cancer treatments in 2005. I pass them out each year in December. Would like to get ideas from your book on how to design other items. Thanks for donating the book!

  84. sam

    I have so many design ideas that float into and out of my head – the latter much too easily. This book would be an ideal way to help tame and tweak them into something that I could then share with other knitters. I think i will have an Amish weekend. Thank you for the interview!

  85. Carla Firby

    I’ve been a renegade knitter for far too long and would benefit greatly from a some much needed structure! Cheers for your wonderful work!
    Many thanks!
    🙂 Carla

  86. karijuan

    I have spent the past three years living in South Korea, which has been fantastic for so many reasons! One of the personal benefits for me, however, has been the time and opportunity to experiment with different patterns and yarn bases, from here and outside. I am working very hard on understanding the artisan aspect of knitting and welcome any additional insights.

  87. Lori

    I would like a copy of the book for advice on how to turn the patterns I’ve been designing and knitting for myself into something marketable.

  88. inglesidebelle

    Pattern ideas abound in my mind, on paper scraps and in my computer files!

    How many patterns have I published? Only one – but I have designed and knit several more that I’d like to publish.

    My difficulty? Lack of knowledge! I know nothing about publishing, but I do like a polished product.

    What to do? Acquire this book (by hook or by crook)! It seems to have the answers and information I need!

    P.S. Please tell me you’ll send a 25-hour day along with the book. 😉

  89. Kathleen

    I’ve designed a few patterns and self-published them but know I’m ready to take it to the next level, so I would love to win and talk one-on-one with Shannon (I already have the print and online versions of the book).

  90. Laura

    I’d like to meet,Shannon Okey. She has seen the visuals and recorded those responses, while coming up with new designs. Shannon does something silly, and has the keen sense of belonging to the “design arena”. Shannon Okey your the spotlight! I’d like to read your book before I design.

  91. Cat

    I love this sentence: “…don’t be afraid to “waste” time doing something that seems silly because you never know when inspiration will strike.” How TRUE!

  92. Susan

    It would be a pleasure to meet Shannon and enjoy her expertise on knitting design. Although I am not quite at the pattern design stage, I never follow a pattern exactly. As I choose patterns and yarn, I am finding that I am becoming more discerning about what I want to knit (read ‘picky’)and have to manipulate patterns more extensively. So any guidance along this road will be greatly appreciated.

  93. Katherine

    I loved reading this interview and would really love to take one of the online classes. I am hoping to get myself started in designing and this book would be a great start. I have been knitting forever and am so happy that it’s become as favored again by so many. I live for my knitting!

  94. Sofia

    It is one of my dreams to start a shop on etsy populated by my own hand-made designs and I know this book would be a wonderful resource to help me achieve this dream!

  95. Chris

    I have just SOLD my second pattern! So I would love to see what Shannon has to say about the ‘industry’ into which I am just dipping a toe!

  96. Cercis

    Ooooh, that looks amazing.

    I’ve recently started working on designing my own sweaters – I really enjoy the challenge of matching all the parts with a stitch pattern.

    I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants, and I’ll bet a book would help me a lot.

  97. Karen Frisa

    I’ve been working in this field for years but feel like I’ve learned everything by the seat of my pants or through the grapevine. I’m looking forward to reading something that has been thought out in advance.

  98. Patt

    Lots of ideas! Lots of patterns! No idea how to get them from here to there! This would be a great book to have! Enter me in! Thanks for writing the book!

  99. Gen

    Hey Shannon! I want my sweaters that I knit to be perfect! I can’t see spending that much time on something that fits funny. I think your book would help me learn to customize 🙂

  100. shelley

    Wow, great interview and great prizes. Over the years I have been knitting I have often had ideas for different knits and have wondered if it was something I would like to do for public consumption. What a great resource to help me explore.

  101. Patti

    I’d love some advice on marketing pattern ideas I have running in my brain.

    I’ll have to find this resource and buy it.

    Thanks for the information

  102. Sam

    I have all these great design ideas floating around in my head and I’m not sure where to start. I need help. I’ve written a few patterns but am unsure how to publish/market them outside of my friends! Spending inordinant amounts of time online, ignoring my children, looking for help, and after reading this post realize I need the book!

  103. Laura Bartlett

    I would love to win this prize because I absolutely love the idea of being able to translate your knitting dreams into tangible treasures! It’s impossible not to appreciate the magic in that!

  104. Sarah

    What a fab interview – so inspirational! Whether or not I win the contest, I will have to acquire the book for my knitting library.

  105. Mary

    This book is already on my list of resources to get! I would love to have the sort of insight into the design world that this would give me, and I know it could help me get from pattern ideas to the next thing people are knitting.

  106. Wannietta

    OMG I would love a copy of Knitgrrl Designs – As much as I knit I still consider myself to be only a fledgling designer. I would like to learn more about how to make the design process less time-consuming and tedious – I design as a knitter & I know that if there are better strategies Shannon will know!!

  107. Leah

    I have so many ideas and no idea how to shape them! I just started designing this year, and made my first pattern. But I have no idea how to make it into anything but something fun to knit as gifts. i think this book will be on my ‘must buy list’ regardless of if i win it or not.

  108. Amber

    I want to win because my sister just moved to KY and I have to save money to be able to see her and this will help me save money!
    :p

    And I really really want it.

  109. Fallon C

    Oh, gosh, who wouldn’t want to win this? Well, I guess maybe people who didn’t knit…
    Anyway. I’m terrible at working from patterns, because I can never resist the urge to make it my own. For many of my projects (including my very first, a scarf for my now-husband) I forgo a pattern completely and just make it up as I go along… with mixed results.
    And who doesn’t want to turn their passion into their profession? I dream of opening my own yarn shop, with patterns of my own design on display and for sale. And yes, I’ve harbored a daydream of having a pattern (or several) published in Knitty.

  110. Susan aka paintermom

    This looks great! I’d love to have a copy. I have lots of ideas but am not quite sure how to make them real.

    Thanks for the interview.

  111. Michele

    I would love to win this book because I am new to knitting even though I’m 59 years old,,,guess I’ve proven the old saying ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ as completely false!! *S*

  112. Carolina

    I would love to win this book and the chance to take an online class. I love knitting and would love to learn more about desinging sweaters for myself and others.

  113. Teri S.

    Very interesting interview. I never considered using Ravelry as market research (sadly, I don’t get to log on to Ravelry as often as I’d like).

    This book is going on my wishlist!

  114. Holly

    I would love a copy of this book. I will be having alot more time on my hands soon and would love to beable to start publishing my own work. My friends really seem to admire the things I make up and this book would go along way towards that goal. Not to mention it help fix my issues with gage; it is only funny when the project is done. 🙂

  115. jesseleigh88

    Would love to have this book….looks very beneficial! Many people have commented that I should sell my knitted items, but I always get too attached to them once I’ve spent time and energy in creating them. I of course love gifting, though lol! This would definately help me in developing my beginner designer skills just in time for christmas gifts hehe!

  116. Rebecca Hermen

    Please, please I want to win this contest. I love Shannon Okey’s books and passed them on to many a library patron. (Names protected by law.) I would love to get some review and design tips from Shannon as well as a free copy of her book. (Although, if I don’t win, I’ll most likely be buying it.) Thanks!

  117. SarainBrooklyn

    Wow, super-helpful and thoughtful words, thank you so much! I can see how this would help to integrate the imaginative with the practical – I usually have only one or the other going at a time… Also this balance between repetition and fresh. I can’t wait to read this book.

  118. EmilyPaige

    This book looks fabulous! Although my professional design career is likely years, if not decades away, this book will save me untold hours of misery and frustration. Looking forward to it!

  119. Sarah

    I love that she’s working on stuff inspired by 1920s Vienna fashion–I can’t wait to see what she come up with!

  120. Jennifer

    Any book that tells a newbie to knitting like me how to knit anything in simple words, easy to understand instructions, all without making me feel like a total jejune has my vote in a heart beat; Adding georgous imaginative designs is like adding the proverbial cherry on top…of course if your me, it’s like opening up the whip cream container and finding the spoon…

  121. Bahn

    The book appears to be a fountain of knowledge for getting the knitting right. As I knit along on a new design I am alway wondering if my calculations are correct, will the sweater fit or better yet who will it fit if not myself. It would be grand to talk with someone who could guide me along to getting it right, to create and write the pattern.

  122. Laurie

    I am so interested in this book. As soon as I saw an ad for it I knew it was for me. For over 15 of my 37 years of knitting I was a test/sample knitter. I have some understanding of what it takes to be a successfull designer, but having an ongoing reference close at hand would be a wonderful.
    Laurie

  123. Sarah

    Wow, this looks like an amazing book. I would love to add it to my collection. As I new designer it would be a wonderful reference tool for me.

  124. frimptes

    I’m so excited to find this post – and even happier there’s a contest involved!
    I’m a self-taught knitter who’s been at it a little over a year and a half, and I’m just starting to reach a point where I’m recognizing a need for more. More inspiration, more challenge, more guidance. I’ve known since my first project (which was Not a scarf or a hat or even garter stitch for that matter, but a cropped bolero with lace motif!) that knitting another’s design wouldn’t always fit the bill – and since then I’ve had so many ideas jostling around in my mind! I know enough to know that I need more than an understanding of a few mathematical concepts and knitting techniques to move from a sketch or mock-up of what I envision to offering something I think is amazing to others for their use and enjoyment. What really stumps me is the “What do I do now?” I’m excited about this book because I anticipate it will be like the behind-the-scenes tour at Disney World; look at what’s going on and what we’re doing and see the stuff you already love, now go forth into the park and buy a piece for yourself! Ok, awkward analogy – I guess what I should say is, from what I’ve read, this book will help bring a little bit more focus and direction to my enthusiasm and creativity. I’m eager to have it!

  125. Rachel

    I would love to win this book! I am inspired by all kinds of knits, and constantly find myself adjusting and recreating patterns to suit my ideas, yarns, etc.. A class would be the real bonus! My grandmother taught me how to knit when I was a child, but I have only come back to knitting in the last few years. I have had to learn more complicated techniques through books, tutorials on-line, and ladies at my LYS.

  126. Elaine

    Ooh as someone who is still fairly new to knitting I could definitely benefit from an online class 🙂

  127. Ann

    I did Shannon’s design 101 and Tech.Ed class – both online and I HIGHLY Recommend her classes – the are fun and you get great teacher(s)

  128. Heather

    I love experimenting with everyone’s patterns that are out there, but I also have a burgeoning designer inside, and I would use this resource to bring to fruition some of the ideas rattling around in my head, plus putting some sensible ideas into play regarding potential marketing.

  129. Ruth

    I love designing for myself and need inspiration and guidelines to venture beyond the sphere of ‘me’…thanks…R

  130. Juliette

    I just started designing and feel like I am reading more than knitting! I love the cover of your book (it is adorable) and can’t wait to read it! 🙂

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