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Becoming an Indie Designer

Assumptions:  That you have either heavily modified patterns beyond recognition, or knitted some items without a pattern & that you have at least one (hopefully more) ideas floating around that you want to try writing up.

Minimum Steps:

  • Write a concise, clear pattern.
  • Lay out your information, photos, etc.
  • Produce a PDF.
  • Test knit.
  • Tech edit.
  • Publish.

In detail:

Write a concise, clear pattern.  Study other patterns.  Utitilize the AKD rubrics.

  • Clear photos showing all the details
  • Description/info:  inspiration, nifty aspects of the pattern, etc.  Your chance to get people excited about the pattern.
  • Actual yardage + the yarn used.  Yarn manufacturer, name, fiber, yds/gms, skeins needed.
  • Abbreviations
  • Techniques used, +/- links to tutorials
  • All supplies required
  • Gauge in Stockinette stitch and in pattern (if necessary).
  • List sizes (to fit) and finished measurements.
  • Clear directions divided into sections, with notes at the beginning of each section to explain what will be done.
  • Details like which increases, decreases, cast on and cast offs to use.
  • Notes on where would be good places to make alterations – eg. length, short row bust darts etc.
  • Stitch counts at key points; ideally every time you have a net increase/decrease.
  • Illustrations or photos of parts that might be confusing.
  • Finishing info.
  • Schematic with finished item (not body) measurements.
  • Any useful notes
  • Designer contact info
  • Copyright notice.
  • Page numbers

Lay out your information, photos, etc.

  • Word:  Easy to use, most people have it, but hard to work with if you’re really tweaking the layout.
  • Publisher:  I never used this, but you could.
  • InDesign: Expensive, steep learning curve, industry standard.  I use it now and would never go back.

Produce a PDF.

  • Word:  newer versions allow you to save as a PDF
  • Free programs
  • Acrobat:  I now use/work with Acrobat.  Again, industry standard, very powerful.

Get it test knit.  (This doesn’t happen as much or at all for patterns in books, magazines, etc, but is becoming to be expected for indie published patterns.)

Get it tech edited.  Invaluable.  I also tech edit but I now always have another tech editor go over my own patterns.

Publish (online)

  • Ravelry
  • Patternfish
  • Etsy
  • Self-hosted/your own site with shopping cart

Sources of information

Shannon Oakey’s book:  indispensable.  Available both as a hardcopy and PDF.

Ravelry Groups:  Designers, Indie Designers, Budding Designers.  Go through the archives.

AKD:  Association of Knitwear Designers.  Requires application & jurying process.  Even if you’re not ready to join, go ahead & study their rubrics.