“Beginner’s Guide to Writing Knitting Patterns”

NewEd_coverI’m very happy to announce the (re-)launch of my guide to writing knitting patterns.

Driven by my work as a technical editor, I self-published this book in 2014, under the title “Pattern Writing for Knit Designers” expecting to sell a handful of copies to professional knit designers. I was very pleasantly surprised by the demand from designers of all levels, and the feedback on the book was wonderful. I have chosen to work with Interweave Press to distribute the book further beyond the limits of what my local post office can help with…

The book gathers my ten years’ of experience as a technical editor into a guide for designers to help them write instructions that any knitter can follow.

Official shipping date is April 11th, and it’s available in both physical and digital forms from all the usual online sources. We encourage you to support your local yarn shop!


This book is the culmination of my work as a a technical editor and my previous career as a product communications specialist in the technology industry.

The book is a guide to writing knitting patterns: how to translate your great knitting project into a set of instructions that any other knitter can follow.
I provide concrete guidelines, with lots of examples, on topics including:

  • 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 And much, much more. So much more!

I discuss technical editing and test knitting – explain what they are how, why they’re important, and when they need to be done. I give tips for designers who wish to self-publish, and for those preparing submissions to a publication. And although it’s not a guide to layout or photography or grading or design, I give lots of guidance and references to help you.

And I’ve heard from knitters that it’s helped them understand how patterns are written and created, even if they’re not planning to write a pattern themselves. If you’re interested in being a designer, a test knitter, or a technical editor, this book is for you.

And people have said some very nice things about it…

Kay Gardiner of Mason Dixon Knitting reviewed the new version and declared it a “godsend”.

This book is AWESOME. Even if you’re an experienced pattern writer with a successful career, this book will help you catch up with the current trends in writing patterns for today’s younger knitters. – Donna Druchunas

Kate Atherley’s marvelous book is essential reading for any designer looking to create patterns that work well and sell well; and intriguing reading for any curious knitter who has ever wondered what goes into the creation of pattern. – Franklin Habit

If you are considering pattern writing, or want to become a knitter who understands how to read patterns more deeply, this book is for you. I certainly wish I had it when I was starting out! – Laura Nelkin


We have two copies to give away. The usual rules apply: leave a comment below, by midnight EDT Sunday April 10th. If you’ve won something from us in the last year, we ask that you give someone else a chance. Winners will be chosen randomly, and a skill-testing question will apply.

(524 Posts)

142 thoughts on ““Beginner’s Guide to Writing Knitting Patterns”

  1. Dari T

    I have made tweaks to existing patterns, but never really taken on the whole “design pattern from scratch” thing. It might be something I would be willing to try, with the right instructions.
    Thanks, Kate!

  2. Gwen Gotsch

    I bet there’s a lot to learn from this book, whether you write patterns or just use them.

  3. Terri

    I’ve written a pattern or two, not more, and as hard as I tried, there were still mistakes. So I really need this book!

  4. Claudia

    Wow, that looks like it would be right at home on my bookshelf 😉 And hopefully, chock full of math goodness! Thanks for the giveaway

  5. Maggie B.

    Great giveaway, I’ve had my eye out for this and will probably grab a copy after the giveaway results are in.

  6. Melissa Thompson

    I’ve been anxiously waiting for your re-launch! Thank you for the awesome give-a-way!!!

  7. Aelcee

    Congratulations on the re-launch! I’m dying to get my hands on a copy. Thanks for the giveaway!

  8. Tisha

    I’ve been thinking about learning to be a tech editor, was glad to hear that this book will give me an idea as to whether or not that is actually something I’d enjoy/be good at.

  9. Carol

    As an occasional test knitter and pattern reviewer, I’d love to have this book on my desk. It sounds incredibly useful, not to mention super intriguing.

  10. Margo

    This book sounds really neat. I’ve been thinking about learning more about tech-editing and if that is something I might like to do. Would love to read this book!

  11. Jan

    I have always wanted to share my designs, but have hestitated because I didn’t know how to write them up properly. This book is going to the top of my “must read” list.

  12. Carrie

    It seems like if you have been knitting for long enough you eventually get to the place where you make up some patterns. How useful to understand how to write them up so that other people can make them too! Thanks for writing the book and I look forward to using it.

  13. Amy G

    Oh! Perfect timing! I have been making up patterns for ages but only just started writing them down. Looking forward to it!

  14. Deb Kegelmeyer

    This is a godsend. I am so interested in writing up my own patterns as it just gets my creative juices flowing. I dont need another job so no need to sell them but I love to create my own and see how they work out. Thank you so much for offering the copies in a prize drawing!

  15. Doris

    I designed and knitted a lace shrug for my daughter-in-law to wear for the wedding and have been wanting to write it up as a pattern and just didn’t know where to start. I am definitely going to have to check out this book and see if I can make that dream a reality!

  16. Jen G.

    That sounds like a really useful book. I’ve tried writing up a couple simple patterns, but haven’t gotten them to the sharing-with-others stage yet.

  17. Tanya

    This book looks to be helpful to us knitters who have lots of ideas but are not sure how to carry them through to a final pattern product…. looks very interesting.

  18. Libby Patterson

    I’m getting it! While I’ve not really done any designing, I’ve done a great deal of repair work and finishing projects for others. I’m sure this will help in both those areas.

  19. Jennifer

    This looks like a very interesting book and maybe a kick start to some new creativity for me 🙂

  20. Rebecca

    Congratulations on the relaunch! And thanks for the giveaway. I’m sure it’s as fabulous as the reviews say it is!

  21. Deb

    I am at the stage where I would love to try pattern writing. I’ve heard great things about this book! Would love to win it.

  22. Stephanie

    Congratulations on the new book & thanks for the giveaway. I would love to start documenting my patterns and modifications to share with other knitters in a way that makes sense–this looks great!

  23. LynnB

    Firstly congratulations on the publication of your book with Interweave. Thanks for the opportunity to enter.

  24. Mary Kay Smith

    I love how you have gathered all this information in one place! It so needed to be done. I can’t wait to see the book!

  25. Kate

    This looks like such an interesting book. Knitting from a well-written patten is always a joy, and I’d love to learn more about what goes into that.

  26. C Barney

    I read about this book at Mason-Dixon Knitting. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.

  27. Amy C

    I have tried my hand at writing out my own patterns in response to requests from friends and it’s always a darn sight more difficult than I ever think it’s going to be.
    What a useful tool to have in ones arsenal.
    Thank you for all the wisdom you’ve collected and are willing to pass along!

  28. Ramona

    I’m sure this book is excellent as is the Custom Sock book I own. Looking forward to seeing the te- released version.

  29. Patricia Ho

    A dive into how to write so others can understand your pattern, what a great resource!

  30. Katinka

    Amazon is shipping already! I got my copy earlier this week. Can’t wait to peruse it in depth. 🙂

  31. Johanna M

    It’s so satisfying to see the professionalization of the craft – it speaks to a healthy eco-system! Thanks for the chance to win it.

  32. Judy Phillips

    Congratulations! I have also worked as a tech writer and editor in the software industry, so I know exactly how much work went into creating this book! Can’t wait to see the product of your labor.

  33. Elizabeth Miller

    Though I sometimes leave negative comments I have only positive things to say about the skills of the author. Also, having devised a pattern I would love to write it up. This would e very useful.

  34. Suzanne

    I heard you discuss this book on the Yarn Thing Podcast and I’ve been eagerly awaiting its release! So glad you shared it here. Congrats!!!

  35. Debra

    Can’t wait to see this book. Hope i am the lucky winner of your giveaway. Thank you for the chance.

  36. Lori

    Oh, I’d love to win this book! I’m working on writing my first pattern right now, and I want to get it right.

  37. Marci

    I’ve just developed my first design, and am starting to write the pattern, so the timing of publication couldn’t be more perfect!

  38. Niki Winchell

    I took a class from Kate last week at the Interweave Yarn Fest. If her book is even half as good as the class, it’s a winner for sure! I’d love to win a copy.

  39. Annette

    I would LOVE to have this book. And I would USE it. Thank you for giving a few copies away- I’m sure hoping I get picked!

  40. ilehlia

    This sounds great! I appreciate all efforts to standardize instructions and terminology across the knitting world. I would especially like to see all the major yarn companies get on board with their patterns, some of which contain pitifully minimal information. Keep up the good work!

  41. bittenbyknittin

    Recently I have become interested in developing my own patterns, for me, but in case someone else is interested in them, I’d like to provide decent instructions. I am going to recommend that the local library stock a copy, too.

  42. Lee in KS

    Even if I’m only making notes about a project I’m making for myself, treating the effort as if it is a real pattern will force me to be clearer. It sure beats trying to remember what I meant! This book would be a useful addition t o my library.

  43. Gina in the SF Bay Area

    This would be so awesome. I can write patterns that make sense to me but probably not many/no others.

  44. Sarah

    Thank you for the giveaway opportunity. This book is exactly what I need to kick-start writing down all my designs.

  45. Casey Kay B

    I’ve written a couple simple patterns, but this book looks like it would be incredibly helpful in finishing some more complicated ones I’ve got notes for.

  46. Darlene Krystal

    Hi….I’m designing a Mariner’s Compass in the Round……..and would like to be able to share it with the knitting community for free…….I think the book would help me be able to write it out without it looking too messy……..

  47. Torin O

    Oh my, this is wonderful! I would love a copy of this as supplemental reading to help support my undergrad thesis about designing and drafting 🙂

  48. Carmen N

    I’ve done a little bit of designing, but I’m sure I can still learn quite a bit from this book. Thanks for the chance to win!

  49. Beth R.

    As a copy editor who informally looks over friends’ personal patterns for problems, would love to learn more about tech editing.

  50. Alicia Fitton

    I write a lot of patterns for personal use and would love to be able to write them well enough to share with others. At the moment I’m intimidated by sizing, esp uk/us variations. I would love to win a copy of this book. Xx

  51. Angela

    Oooh! Sign me up! Of course, if I don’t win, I’ll buy it. That’s not supposed to be a disincentive for making me a winner, though. 🙂

  52. Lisa

    I would love to win this book. I have written a couple of sock patterns that I use when teaching. This would help me a whole lot.

  53. Carrie

    just the thing for my daughter to leave home with; she won’t have me around for the Help Option.

  54. Jane Stoner

    Without realising it, I have needed this book for ages. I’m crossing everything that I am the winner!

  55. Lucy Harrington

    I love well-written patterns and would really like (no, LOVE) to be able to document the few designs that I’ve created. I can’t even begin to imagine the work that should go into that, so could really value a book that would take me through the pitfalls. Please pick me!

  56. Erin

    This peaks my interest I think tech editing is interesting but would love a reference guide to it.

  57. Aimee Leonhard

    I have so many ideas for patterns but no idea how to write them out. This looks perfect.

  58. Stephanie.

    I love Kate’s patterns! I can’t wait to read this book, as someone who’s been thinking about designing for myself, this would be an awesome resource!

  59. Karrie

    I have been a test knitter for several projects. It would be interesting to read about what goes into pattern writing.

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