Style sheets for designers?

What is a style sheet? It’s an explicit guide to exactly how you want to write and format your pattern. I use one when I’m writing my own patterns and if you have one, it makes pattern writing easier for you and saves time for me as your tech editor (thus costing you less!). If you don’t have one, and would like one, that’s a service I offer.

You might already have a pattern template and be wondering why you need a style sheet and what’s the difference anyway? I like to think of the template as the guide to making your patterns look consistent and the style sheet as the guide to making your patterns consistently easy to read. Consistency across your patterns is important, both for you as the designer and for your customers. First-time customers will appreciate a well-written, edited, and laid out pattern. Repeat customers will become familiar with your pattern style and will find it easier to knit your patterns. With a style sheet, both you and your tech editor will easily be able to ensure that everything you need is included in the pattern and that the layout is consistent with your style.

What’s in a style sheet? All that you need to write a complete and consistent pattern! There’s a lot to include in a knitting pattern and it needs to be as easily comprehended as possible by your customers. You’ll need most or all of the following components in your pattern, and possibly more:

  • Title, image, romance
  • Notes (including construction, techniques, etc.)
  • Materials needed (needles, yarn, notions, etc.)
  • Gauge
  • Sizing information
  • Abbreviations used throughout
  • Pattern directions
  • Charts and/or schematics 
  • Contact information

Your style sheet will outline how and where you put all that pattern information.

When it comes to phrasing directions in your patterns, style sheets are invaluable. For example, my style sheet includes guidelines like:

  • Instruction repeated until a specific number of sts: use “*…; rpt from * to last X sts,” (followed by instructions for last X sts)
  • Measurements: use inches (to the quarter inch) & centimeters (to the half centimeter)
  • Written instructions for charts should end on same row/rnd number as chart (even if using “Row 2 and all WS rows: …” -> write out the last WS row instructions)
  • Notes re techniques: “Work rows 1-15[17,17,-,-] from Instep Chart 1 on p. x then row 16[18,18,-,-] below; or work entirely from written directions below:”

A style sheet also includes includes information about your pattern template, i.e. exactly how to format your knitting pattern. Are your patterns formatted into two columns a page? Do you use page numbers? Is your list of abbreviations at the beginning or end of your pattern? These are all elements that your style sheet will help you keep consistent from pattern to pattern. In my style sheet, I also spell out specifications for fonts used, colours, sizes, and heading styles. Armed with my comprehensive style sheet, I can easily check off each stage of a new pattern to ensure that I’m being completely consistent.

As a tech editor, I can work with you to develop a good style sheet that helps you write the clearest patterns and maintain a consistent style. If you check your new pattern against your style sheet before tech editing, you can save yourself some money! Please be in touch if you’d like to know more or have questions and, in the meantime, happy knitting and designing!

2 Comments

design inspiration

Sometimes, I have a brilliant idea and it takes months (or even years … I’m looking at you “Flower Shop / Knit Your Own Ending Booties”) for me to execute the bootie design to mesh with the inspiration.

Other times, I have a flash of inspiration and it takes some swatches and playing around with colours and textures to achieve my vision (e.g. Bacon & Eggs Booties).

And, every now and then, I see something that forces me to immediately swatch, then, remarkably quickly, put together a pattern and knit the prototypes.

About a month ago, I was looking for a particular stitch pattern … fell down that particular internet rabbit hole … stumbled across this stitch pattern, which I’d previously used in the cuff of a pair of socks … and that was it!

Daisy Chain Booties are currently being tested and will be released on the vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere: March 19.

Leave a comment

bringing home the …

bacon, part 2!

My Bacon & Eggs Booties pattern has been published on Ravelry! September is “Better Breakfast Month,” after all, so why not knit up some super cute booties for hungry babies? 😉

There was much swatching while designing this pattern … clockwise, from the top, bacon swatch 1, egg yolks 1 & 2, bacon 3, egg yolk 3, bacon 4, egg yolk 4, bootie 1, bootie 2, and, in the center, the finished design!

Leave a comment

social media

So I finally managed to set up a Facebook page for shake your booties! I knew I had to do it, I was just procrastinating for some reason! Like many people do, I suspect, I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I enjoy engaging with others and seeing their pictures and updates, but I sometimes resent the amount of time it takes up in our busy lives.

Next is to change my Instagram account to a business account and learn about IG Stories … I need to have all this in place and some kind of posting routine established before school starts back up in September.

What else am I forgetting? Business cards? Are they even a thing any more?

Leave a comment

bringing home the …

bacon?

One of the groups I belong to on Ravelry (hi LSG!) has a standing tradition about bacon. If you run a poll in a discussion thread to get opinions, you pretty much *must* include a bacon-related response.

I recently sought opinions on whether my prototype Cornflower Booties (another post for another day) looked better with one cuff or another. Of course, I included a bacon option.

Challenge accepted! Bacon & Eggs Booties are currently some tiny swatches and lots of chart versions. The group responsible for my Dragon Baby! Booties has struck again. Stay tuned for an update!

Leave a comment

starting fresh …

So, I decided the time was right to start a new website. I’m getting ready to transition from full-time library work to full-time knitting design and tech editing. It was time to let the Handknit Librarian go and unify all my knitting endeavours under my designer name.

I have a new logo; I’m most of the way through Joeli’s tech editing course, I’ve got some great new design ideas; and we’re house-hunting for our retirement house. Full steam ahead!

Leave a comment