Saturday, July 17, 2010

Book Review: Knitgrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design

And don't we all need to keep our knits about us?
While this book is geared toward people who want to or are pursuing careers in knit and crochet design... I know there are many of you out there who love "being in the know" about the industry you love. YOU as consumers, are also part of this industry and you will be fascinated by the inner workings of the design world. You might also LOVE the chapter at the end that is nothing but interviews with professionals and their views of the knit and crochet world we all live in.

Shannon Okey wrote the book that so many new designers (knit or crochet) need. There are many important topics covered. Here's the list of chapters, all the comments that follow are mine:

1.What does it mean to be a professional? (OMgoodness how useful is this! It even reminded me to get back into a few good habits that I have let relax a bit...)
2. Social Media (Love it or hate it, it's here and if you want to write a book with or without a publisher, you'll have to know how to use it.)
3. TCB, NO PB&J Required, or: The Business Side of Things This is a discussion on all the related activities to knit and crochet design that can also bring income.
4. Send in the Lawyers Good basic information.
5. Writing Patterns (Note to this chapter a few more times! Don't we all want to be good at writing patterns?)
6. Making Sales (This was so interesting to me! The nuts and bolts of which outlets garner bigger profits, at the same time, there are upsides and downsides to PDF, hardcopy and using distributors. Very interesting... note to self... read this chapter again too...)
7. Proposals and Publishing (Don't be tempted to skip all the other chapters and go right to this one. I know it's an attractive subject and you'll want to read it for sure, but read the whole book).
8. Advertising (You gotta do it one way or another, here are some options!)
9. Further Education (I admit, this chapter, so well researched, just made me jealous for all these wonderful institutions who believe in making fabric from yarn through knit (and I assume, crochet). Ooohhh how wonderful would it be to take some classes at some of these domestic and exotic meccas of fiber learning? I wish I big ol grant would fall from the sky so that I could go! ...and take the family with me...)
10. Professional Organizations and Associations YAY! She mentioned the Knit and Crochet Show, and CGOA! Thank you, Shannon! She quotes Robyn Chachula, who just resigned the post of Professional Development Chair, Tammy Hildebrand it taking over.
11. Standing Out Isn't this a concern of of 99% of us females in a female dominated industry. It's easy to feel that you blend in with the crowd of other designers who all seem to be part of the same demographic. Standing out is important. (ok, ok, note to self... re-read this chapter again too...
12. The Interviews The list of 32 industry professionals interviewed is like a who's who of the knit design industry... with a few cross-over pros (both knit and crochet) and several editor types. ALL the interviews are telling and fascinating to hear these women share where they think the industry is headed, what do they wish they had known when they began designing, what makes a great design, what do great designers have in common.... GREAT STUFF.

Between all my highlights and underlines in this book... I'm so glad I own it so that I can mark it up and USE it.

One of my favorite things about the book is the number of resource links Shannon puts liberally throughout the book. She gives you the exact web addresses to go and see for yourself and gather more information on the topics covered.

The Knitgrrl Guide is available at but also, if you want the PDF, hardcopy, or e-reader versions, all three are available at Cooperative Press.

Hear Shannon interviewed on the YarnThing Blog Talk Radio Show, available free on archives.


Sam said...

Thanks so much for the review! I'm looking forward to reading it.

Shannon Okey said...

Thanks so much, Ellen! I can't wait to hear more feedback from crocheters, I really think the industry underestimates your collective power!