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The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design Paperback – June 1, 2010

34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Shannon Okey, aka Knitgrrl, is the author and editor of a number of knitting books, but this one fills a special niche. Okey, who has worked in various aspects of the fiber business—designer, author, magazine editor—speaks to knitters who want to take their craft to a more professional level. Newbie designers, as well as those with some experience under their belts, will find Okey’s advice invaluable as she discusses writing patterns, selling them, working in both traditional and online media, and using social media to promote their designs and themselves. Knitters will also enjoy the personal essays, which make up about half the book, by professionals in the field. Most of the writers take a refreshingly honest look at their profession, notably the creative director of a yarn company who, when asked what advice she’d give someone entering the field, replied, “Go to law school! Work at McDonald's! Become a trophy wife!” Professional wannabes will get the most from this, but lots of knitters will enjoy the backstage look. --Ilene Cooper

From the Back Cover

As informed as she is impassioned, Shannon Okey understands and advocates for independent knitwear designers like no one else. The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design is by far the most all-encompassing guide to the subject ever published. It's also one of the most enlightening and amusing reads around.

-- Julia Grunau, founder, Patternfish

Shannon Okey has compiled a terrific resource book full of insights and information from which knitwear designers of all levels can benefit. This is the "how-to" book that connects all the dots. Her interviews with more than 30 of the industry's leading designers are worth the price of admission alone!

-- Kathy Elkins, co-owner, WEBS (yarn store)

A wise and witty guide for anybody who's ever dreamed of turning their passion into their profession. In pages peppered with her own personal stories, Shannon tells you what it takes to become a professional knitwear designer -covering everything from marketing to contracts, guilds and associations, continuing education, and the importance of finding your own personal design voice. As frosting on the cake, she even includes interviews, advice, and stories from 30 other industry professionals.

-- Clara Parkes, publisher, Knitter's Review, and author of The Knitter's Book of Yarn and The Knitter's Book of Wool
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Cooperative Press (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0979201713
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979201714
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.5 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #322,988 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Shannon Okey is a designer and the author, co-author or editor of many fiber arts-related books, including Knitgrrl, Knitgrrl 2, The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design, Spin to Knit, Felt Frenzy, Crochet Style, Just Socks, Just Gifts, AlterNation, The Pillow Book, How to Knit in the Woods, the second edition of Knitting For Dummies and Alt Fiber.

She is currently working on a number of new publishing projects with her company Cooperative Press, whose books are also available on Amazon!

Okey is the former editor of UK-based monthly knitting magazine Yarn Forward, the current editor of Knit Edge magazine, and also a former columnist for knit.1 magazine. She has appeared on several crafty TV shows, including Knitty Gritty, Uncommon Threads, Crafters Coast To Coast and Knitting Daily TV. She teaches all over the world.

For the latest news on Shannon and her books, check out her Knitgrrl website which includes her teaching and events schedule, as well as information on upcoming projects.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

103 of 106 people found the following review helpful By Janet Lee Wolfson on August 26, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I want to start off by saying that this book is great - it will be very useful for anyone who wants to turn pro with their knitting. However...there is very little info here about actually designing knitwear, in fact out of 247 pages, only 10 are about writing patterns, and most of that is about how to choose designing software. The breakdown of the book is:

1. Be professional
2. Social Media (how to use blogs, Twitter, FaceBook and Ravelry)
3. How to make money with your knitting (teaching, writing, test knitting, providing a service)
4. Legal stuff (copyright and contracts)
5. Writing Patterns
6. Making Sales (wholesale or PDF?)
7. Publishing a Book
8. Advertising
9. Further Education
10. Professional Associations
11. Standing Out From the Crowd
12. Interviews with Knitting Professionals

There is nothing here about how to turn an idea into an actual written pattern, or how to successfully submit to magazines, when/if to offer free patterns, etc. There is also no index, which is very frustrating. At the end of the book she has a list of resources, one of which is a list of 8 books on knitwear design. If learning how to design is what you really want, I would look at those books first, and then study Knitgrrl's book afterwards for the good info on advertising, networking and making a name for yourself in the knitting world.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Stefanie on August 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
There a lot of knitters right now who are making the leap from knitter to designer. It's a natural progression of the starts out following patterns, figuring out how they're structured, and then adapting them and finally making up their own.

This book is written at the perfect time to help those people get themselves all set up and established in a professional way.'s not just for the newbies! The Knitgrrl Guide is for anyone who's trying to navigate through the craft publishing world, and is written by a woman who really knows her stuff.

Shannon has been a long-time friend and mentor to me. She has literally worked in every aspect of our field and knows her way around. She's worked with every major publisher, has been a magazine editor, brick and mortar shop owner, and really pays attention to what's going on.

When I'm in a situation with one of the above, and wondering, "Is this normal?" I call Shannon. If she doesn't know the person I'm dealing with, she knows OF them and always has a story about something happening to some anonymous friend...(which tells me that I can confide in her and it doesn't go anywhere!)

In reading The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design, I felt as though it was an extension of our conversations. In it, she's not only giving me advice, but advice WITH LINKS. I read this book with pen, Post-Its, and a highlighter in hand, and used them all. I found links to ways to pay less when I use Fed Ex, links to legal advice, copyright explanations, Ravelry groups that I hadn't explored.

I mean, I knew that if Shannon wrote a book, it'd be great. She's the kind of person that you speak to and know that they're already 100 miles ahead of you on the plan.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By knitola on June 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
Truly the first of its kind, The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design is a must-have resource for knitwear designers. Okey's extensive industry experience is distilled in chapters detailing what it means to be a professional, effective use of social media, potential revenue streams, legal issues, pattern writing, marketing, design proposals, professional organizations and more. Additionally, Okey includes eye-opening interviews with 30+ industry insiders, whose insights reinforce and extend the information presented in the other chapters.

As a knitwear designer, I would have LOVED to have this amazing resource when I was first starting out. All the same, The Knitgrrl Guide contains plenty of useful tips and tidbits for more experienced designers.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is full of extremely valuable tips and hints and wisdom for the wannabe professional knitwear designer. It's worth getting because of that. However, this book suffers from profound spelling, grammar and punctuation problems. This is especially disturbing because the author takes great pains to point out that she is a professional writer (reminding the reader frequently she has written more than 12 books) and preaches about the importance of professionalism in everything you produce and of having a second pair of eyes look at your work. So if the author is going to preach about the necessity of professionalism and accuracy, the least we can expect is professionalism and accuracy in her work. While the content of the book is superb (!), the presentation is sub-par and diminishes the author's credibility on the substantive material.

The worst section of this book is also the best: the interviews. The second half of the book is devoted to interviews with dozens of knitwear designers, editors and publishers. The content is fabulous and so helpful. But this is also the section that is so riddled with errors and mistakes that it's truly distracting. There are sentences without periods, open parenthesis without an accompanying closed parenthesis, random capitalization in the middle of sentences, etc. (Importantly, these are not judgment calls but honest-to-goodness indefensible errors.) It's horrible. Clearly, these interviews were either done via e-mail and the author simply cut and pasted the text without combing through it or transcribed live interviews without combing through the transcriptions. Even the author's QUESTIONS have errors!

I want to be clear that this was still money well spent for me -- I learned a ton from this book. But I feel compelled to put out my intense feelings about the presentation, if for no other reason than the fact that professionalism is something that the author espouses so emphatically.
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