Friday, February 10, 2012

Beyond Knit & Purl by Kate Atherley

Kate is a member of the Pro-Knitters group that I started here in Toronto. I also had the benefit of Kate's expertise when she tech edited a pattern I did for the magazine A Needle Pulling Thread.  She spent extra time with me to get it ready for publication. I learned so much from that one session with her that my regular tech editor told me my next pattern was more concise and clear than my earlier ones had been!

Kate has a new book out you can find it here.  As Cooperative press says "This book is not just for beginning knitters. Even those who’ve been knitting for years will have an astonishing number of “ah-ha!” moments inside its pages. As a technical editor and more importantly as a teacher, Kate knows where knitters hit roadblocks and how to overcome them, and she shares her many years of experience in Beyond Knit and Purl."

Kate has answered a few of my new questions below and you can read an interview I did with her here that includes links to her blog and to her Ravelry page. I've read about a third of the book and am giving it an enthusiastic 2 thumbs up. This is exactly the kind of book that helps knitters to fill in the gaps in their knowledge that will ensure knitting success.

You've described publishing a book as being a little like birthing a baby. Can you tell us more about how the process works?
I joked with my friends that it was like having a baby because there was lots of late nights and a fair bit of screaming...  but it was actually relatively painless. It’s a long process, longer than I expected and there are things I simply didn’t know about before I went into it. Writing really is only a small piece of it; it’s a photo-heavy book, and to get good photographs I was happy with took a lot of time.  And layout and editing is complex, particularly because there’s a lot of content in the book, and a lot of pictures tied to instructional content than need to be placed in just the right order.  I have a page that teaches Judy’s Magic Cast on,and it took us a couple of hours just to get the right captions on the right photos, and then get them in the right order.

You are an experienced tech editor as well as a designer. How did that background help you to be published.
Well, I’d like to think that my patterns needed less editing, but I’m not sure about that! Being a tech editor is part of what motivated me to write the book in the first place – a lot of what I do when editing is about helping knitters be successful, and that’s my objective with the book, too.

I know you need a lot of ideas for a book. What’s your process for generating them and how did you choose what went into the book?
The content has been developed and refined over the 10 years I’ve been teaching knitting; the specific projects are each designed to be approachable skill builders for learning knitters, and I’ve been lucky enough to be able to test them out in my classes, and to get very candid feedback from knitters in all stages of the learning curve.  Essentially, it was a case of choosing what I had tested and what I was confident would work as learning tools, and what would be approachable and what could be successful for even the newest knitter!  There was one idea I was excited about early on, thinking it was fun and approachable, but then I remembered my own (not good) experience with something very similar and the reasons why I don’t use that particular type of project in my classes, and I realized it wasn’t going to work for this book.  

What are your plans for the future, will there be more books?
I hope so!  People seem to be responding well to the somewhat unusual approach I’ve taken, and if so, there’s lots more good stuff to talk about – I hope to be able to cover short rows, Entrelac, Magic Loop, more advanced lace, at the very least!

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