Alex Tinsley’s “So You Want to be a Knitting Designer” ebook is a primer on the ins and outs of being a knitting designer. Her easy writing style, comical antidotes, and no holds bar advice from experience gives a full purview of the career. A must read for all budding designers!
After a short introduction, Alex dives into the essence of the job – writing patterns: what goes into a pattern, how are they formatted, how much information to include, what peripherals might be needed, etc. You might have 1001 fabulous pattern ideas, but it is essential to the career to be able to convey those ideas in a manner in which other knitters to reproduce the intended FO (finished object) identically to the way you envisioned and this chapter tells you how to do it in broad strokes.
Next Alex plunges into the world of self-publishing – the vehicle of the indie designer.
“When you self-publish, there is no guaranteed minimum income like there usually is with a publisher, but you get to keep all of the profit (minus fees charged by Paypal and any site you use to host your shop) and since you can sell the pattern for as long as you want, you stand to make more money in the long run if your pattern sells at least reasonably well” (page 14).
She hits a bevy of subtopics from where to sell, photography tips, style sheets, working with industry experts (tech editors, test knitters, and sample knitters), and the great debate: “To Free or Not to Free”. I’m still learning from her do’s & don’ts of self-publishing photography.
“DO scan your photo for intrusive details” (page 22) – yes, many a Puddles’ hair has made their way into my pattern photos.
Alex floats just past the shallow end in the chapter on working with 3rd party publishers & yarn companies. The reason for the 1 less weight on the yarn scale – I had SO many questions and felt this only scratched the surface. It is a great scratch, but I’m sure a tome could have been written on this topic alone. Her actual email examples are worth their weight in yarn… literally!
The bathing suit section of this review is definitely Alex’s next chapter on marketing. How you present yourself and where you present yourself is essential to the success or failure of your budding business.
Finally after a good swim in all the fun stuff, Alex takes time to clean the pool and reveals the underbelly side of the business and all its grit. Issues such as copyright, licensing, awkward situations, and crisis management – aspects no happy person wishes to ever have to deal with and how to deal with them in a professional manner.
Like all good community pools, Alex includes several posted “do’s and don’ts” lists. These will keep you safe & if adhered to protected. My favorite DO: “DO think about what your email address says about you. ‘Sexybanana69@aol.com’ looks a lot less professional than ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’” (page 35). My favorite DON’T: “DON’T take it personally if you get a ‘no’” (page 38).
The sunscreen is definitely Alex’s thorough resource section at the end of the book. She’s got you covered!
I highly recommend Alex’s book to those considering designing & designers in their first few years of business. It is an illuminating education in 60 pages! By the end of it, you will have a better idea of what knitting designing takes & if knitting design is for you.