“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.

*Spread the joy!*

(524 Posts)

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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……..

  3. 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 🙂

  4. 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!

  5. Beth R.

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

  6. 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

  7. 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. 🙂

  8. 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.

  9. Carrie

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

  10. Jane Stoner

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

  11. 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!

  12. Erin

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

  13. Aimee Leonhard

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

  14. 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!

  15. 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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