How the Pattern Book Sausage Gets Made


I am really proud of our newest seasonal collection, Burnished. Not only are there some gorgeous garments in there, it was the biggest collection I’ve worked on since joining Knit Picks. I thought I’d use this blog post as a way to give you a peek behind the scenes into what goes into the designing of a pattern book!

deskEach pattern designer supplies the original schematic measurements and charts along with the written pattern, and it’s my job to re-draw the schematics and re-create the charts so they’ll be consistent in style, and put each pattern into our template. I also select and crop the final photos. The complete book is laid out in InDesign (above) and I use Knit Visualizer for the charts. Depending on the size and complexity of the pattern, schematic and charts, I spend anywhere from 2-15 hours on an individual pattern. I get to know them pretty thoroughly!

Rough draft of Burnished

I then design the cover, researching and choosing a title font that’s interesting and representative. I used Porter Sans for Burnished. Choosing a cover photo is difficult, as it must meet several criteria: be eye-catching, display the project well, have enough room to fit the title, and finally, feel like a summary of the collection. Usually I’ll mock up several different versions and discuss them with the rest of the office to find the one that really hits it out of the park. For this one, we felt that the striking colors of Umbra and Penumbra against a background with interesting perspective, coupled with the radiance of the model, was a winner.


Once the rough draft is completed, it goes around to everyone in the office to check for errors and make suggestions-you can see some of them above. Each individual pattern is sent to its designer for checking as well. After I fix any issues and incorporate changes, it’s off to the printer, who then sends back printed proofs. The proofs are passed around the office for another round of error-checking and correction, and I mail the final pages to the printer. Then it’s time for a little celebration dance!

Photo shoot

My favorite part of the process is selecting, cropping, and arranging the photos. Amy, our photographer, and Hannah, our catalog director, style and shoot such amazing, awesome photos that they make it hard to choose just a few. I try to put in as many as will possibly fit, especially because I always want lots of photos to be inspired by and to look at when I’m actually knitting the project. A front shot, a back shot, and at least one detail are a necessity. I try to include sleeve length and body length pictures too, because those often need to be adjusted to suit different body types (as a tall person, I know this all too well!) I also really love atmospheric shots, as they are so helpful for establishing a distinct attitude and identity for each collection. For Burnished, shooting on a farm and including some friendly horses emphasized the casual, nature-inspired autumnal feel. I love how Holly’s video of the shoot really captures the beautiful scenery as well as the process.

Pulling together all the pieces of a pattern collection into a lovely cohesive whole is a lot of work, but the finished product is so worth it. It’s always a happy day when the books arrive and when we launch the new patterns, and I hope you all love Burnished as much as I do!


  1. Kirsten / August 22, 2014

    This catalog looks so fun! But, I am in LOVE with the white piece you’ve used in the background of the photo…what is that, and where can I find it???

  2. Julie / August 20, 2014

    I’m always impressed by the quality of your catalogs. This one was exceptional! Love the collection and the models. It’s going to be hard to choose which sweater to knit first.
    Thanks for the behind the scenes look, fun!

  3. Connie Nielson / August 14, 2014

    So interesting to read about this process. Thanks for sharing!