I’ve been designing since late 2009, and at that time, there were very few resources for beginning designers. Association of Knitwear Designers was still around, and had a ton of info once you got in, but you had to already be designing to be considered for an associate membership.
Since then, though, there’s been, if not an explosion, a steady increase in the resources available.
Most new designers seem to be following the self publishing of PDFs route via Ravelry, Craftsy, Patternfish, and Etsy, with Ravelry being the prominent avenue.
If you’re on Ravelry, and you’re wanting to design, there are two main groups to check out for general designing info(and by check out, honestly, I recommend scanning the message threads & reading all the business-sounding ones) and one for resources (looking for an editor, etc).
- Budding Designers. Read this thread first. Also check out the group page Online Resources for Designers
- Indy Pattern Designers’ Resources is also a great group.
Do check the various group pages for links to various groups, posts, etc.
Shannon Okey’s book, The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design, is also a must.
Alex Tinsley has a PDF, So You Want To Be A Knitting Designer, that’s more recent than Shannon’s book. The amount of info isn’t as dense, but it’s also a great place to start.
Elizabeth Green Musselman has written an interactive style sheet, available through Cooperative Press. (I just noticed there’s a crochet version by Lindsey Stephens, a fantastic crochet tech editor & designer.)
In Person Classes
Shannon Okey occasionally teaches beginner designer classes.
I’ve taught several beginner designer classes: Becoming an Indie Designer, Pattern Pet Peeves, Creating Your Style Guide, and Working with a Tech Editor.
TNNA has been offering more classes for designers with each show. For the upcoming summer show in Indy, you can choose from the following: Technical Writing & Editing for Knitters & Crochets and Spreadsheet Savvy (basic spreadsheet info) by Edie Eckman; Magic Spreadsheet (setting up a reusable spreadsheet for grading) by Jill Wolcott and Jeane de Coster; and Pattern Writing Essentials by Therese Chynoweth.
Craftsy has several classes (on sale this weekend! Craftsy’s Endless Creativity Sale) that I recommend: Sizing Patterns for Knitting (Faina Goberstein), How to Say It (Edie Eckman) and Handknit Garment Design (Shirley Paden, general designing class, not grading, but has good info).