SOS! Need your opinions

Hi Knitters! :waving:

I’m writing a knitting book about [I]‘Designing your own projects using 100% cotton yarn’.[/I] It will include basic design principles (and patterns) for a minimum of 12 projects illustrating those principles. THE GOAL: You will quickly and easily design and knit your own projects! Wow!

The book is in the initial layout and format stage. Now is the best time to ask knitters to express their opinion about “the ideal knitting book”!

For example:

1)What would cause you to pass by a book on the shelf?
2)When you browse knitting books, what is it about them that would make you put it back on the shelf?
3)What would make the book [I]least useful[/I] to you?
4) What do most knitting books lack?

You’re not limited to the above questions. Please rant about anything you’d like. And pet peeves are welcome here! Just tell me what you don’t like!

And, on the flip side of that coin:

1)What makes a knitting book ideal for you?
2)What is it about your favorite knitting books that makes your fingers itch to grab the yarn and needles and add one more piece to your “on the needles” list!
3)ANYTHING you love, please tell me.

As far as the book itself:
1)Would you prefer a printed version, or
2)Would you prefer an e-book, or disk, at about half the price?
3)Would you like to have both disk and print version available?

If you prefer a ‘printed’ version, how would you like it to look?

  1. Snappy cover
  2. Spiral binding
  3. Large type style
  4. Other?

Please feel free to talk about any of the issues mentioned, or any of your own. I want to thank each of you for taking the time to share your opinions! My goal is to create the most useful book I can! Feedback from you is so important because knitters know what’s best!

Thanks in advance, :muah:

Ruthie


Ok, I’ll try to answer all the questions…lol

First of all, no matter what the book, I admit, I judge books by their covers :teehee: In order for me to even pick up a book to glance at it, it must have an appealing, intriguing cover.

Also, when browsing books, I like to see designs that are really different. Honestly, the majority of patterns I have seen, I’m not thrilled with. Don’t get me wrong, the work is beautiful, but, most of what I see is really not my taste. I guess that’s another reason I pretty much don’t knit for myself. I dunno, I think I have kind of weird tastes though :teehee:

What would make the book least useful to me is seeing it filled with actual knitting instructions. I realize that in some cases, certain instructions may be necessary, but, I believe that’s what the instructional books are for. I mean if a person doesn’t know how to knit too well I think they should start off with an instructional book. If there’s a certain type of stitch or BO or something for a particular pattern/s that isn’t necessarily common, then including the instructions are useful, but, instructions for a basic knit or purl stitch and bind off, things like that, I find unnecessary.

I’m not really sure what most knitting books lack as I don’t have a huge collection of them…lol…I have the Stitch N Bitch and Stitch N Bitch Nation books, the Domiknitrix book, the Anti-craft book, and the Naughty Needles book.

As for what makes a knitting book ideal to me is the uniqueness of the designs, and, a variety of patterns for different levels of knitting. I like to see a few different patterns ranging from beginner to advanced.

My favorite knitting books that make me want to add to my WIP’s have fun and funky designs, such as the Domiknitrix and Naughty Needles books.

I prefer printed versions of books. I like being able to have a book to take with me wherever I go, and the ease of having a book on hand. Also, I think spiral binding would be best for knitting books with patterns. I hate it when I’m trying to follow a pattern from a book and I have to weigh down the page because the previous page keeps wanting to flip down…lol…Definitely spiral binding!

Hope that helps!

I’m also one that looks at the cover first and if it grabs my attention then I’ll flip through it.

I like books that have gobs of patterns, if I’m going to buy the book then I want to get my money out of the patterns. If not then I could just browse and maybe buy a similar pattern on it’s own.

I also don’t like books that have a lot of instructions on how to cast on, bind off, knit, etc…to me that takes up pattern room and if I need help with a certain technique I can look here or google :teehee:

I like printed books the best and spiral :thumbsup:

Most of the time I will check books out at the library first and then if it’s a book that I know I will use again and again…I’ll buy it.

I like to also see the designer give us choices with yarn weight and sizes too, or at least explains how to go about adjusting the pattern for this.

:teehee: I’m addicted to buying knitting patterns and feel that if I bought the pattern I shouldn’t have to do any guess work on it.

Be sure to have others test knit the patterns for you before you send the book out there…:thumbsup:

Congrats on writting your book and good luck :woot:

[QUOTE=Demonica;1162430]Ok, I’ll try to answer all the questions…lol

Hi! :waving:

I can’t tell you how much your feedback helps!!! And I really do appreciate it that you took the time and effort to be so thorough.

I don’t just want to write a knitting book, I want to write it [I][B]for[/B][/I] knitters so that it’s totally helpful and totally useful and - very important - totally FUN!!!

Thanks again for helping!

Ruthie :hug:

[B]1)What would cause you to pass by a book on the shelf? [/B]To many advanced techniques. If the cover isn’t pleasing to look at. A bright pretty pattern on the cover would get my attention.

[B]2)When you browse knitting books, what is it about them that would make you put it back on the shelf?[/B] Same as 1

[B]3)What would make the book least useful to you? [/B]If it’s not explained well, if there were no charts with the patterns.
[B]
4) What do most knitting books lack?[/B] I’ve only seen 2 books so I don’t know.

You’re not limited to the above questions. Please rant about anything you’d like. And pet peeves are welcome here! Just tell me what you don’t like!

And, on the flip side of that coin:

[B]1)What makes a knitting book ideal for you? [/B]Beginner patterns to intermediate patterns. Explaining the techniques well. Need charts along with the patterns. I do a lot of knitting charities so if there were patterns that I could use for them would be great. LOVE stitch pattern books. There could never be enough of them.

2)What is it about your favorite knitting books that makes your fingers itch to grab the yarn and needles and add one more piece to your “on the needles” list!

3)ANYTHING you love, please tell me.

As far as the book itself:
[B]1)Would you prefer a printed version:[/B] YES
[B]2)Would you prefer an e-book, or disk, at about half the price?[/B] YES
[B]3)Would you like to have both disk and print version available? [/B]YES

[B]If you prefer a ‘printed’ version, how would you like it to look? [/B]

  1. Snappy cover
    [B]2) Spiral binding–[/B]YES
  2. Large type style
  3. Other?

I would LOVE a spiral binding because when I use patterns I am always going back and forth between pages and the pages won’t get wear and tear with a spiral bound book.

Thanks, Dusti! :hug:

You brought up some great points that will be very helpful for me to consider as I progress on this.

I believe in being thorough and there’s nothing more frustrating than working away on a pattern, frogging, re-working, frogging (sigh!) then finding that there was a mistake in the pattern. :wall: So the ones I’m including will be tested within a milimeter of their lives!!!

This is so exciting! What a generous group of knitters you all are. I’m proud to be a member of this community!
:muah:
Ruthie

I am another one who likes spiral binding. It is so much more convenient.
I like a range of patterns and for the finished garments to be shown in a range of colours. (i am not a pastel person, a book full of pastels just doesnt attract me, even though i know i could knit it in any colour i wanted, conversly somebody who did like pastels might be put off by a book showing lots of strong dark colours, even if the shape of the garment might suit them). I would like to see patterns for men in there too. and more than a token ‘male’ scarf or a plain pullover.

Additionally i like things to be separated very clearly, bullet points and sub headings are good. For accesability (people with visual impairments, or problems such as dyslexia) i would veer away from fussy backgrounds, or start black on white text, overly small text or charts. The best layouts i have seen are plain areas with text in and pictures in their own space or even on their own page.

I like unusual things to be explained. no just how but why. why are you using these decreases, why does this pattern cal for this cast on. Especially in a ‘build your own pattern’ sort of book, it is nice to understand not just what needs to be done but why it needs to be done. but that might just be me.

Hi, Heather:waving:

ALL of your comments are helpful and enlightening. But I wanted to address the above point specifically.

I’m researching copyright restrictions now, looking for a way to protect the rights to the work while at the same time allowing a lot of latitude to knitters for their use of the patterns.

I’ve found that most knitters are such generous, giving souls. They love to share!!!

It’s so frustrating for me when I have a pattern I want to share to be restricted by copyrights. I honor them, of course. I’ve been a professional artist for over 30 years and copyrights are a VERY important part of that life.

But I’d like to be able to allow knitters to make any of the patterns for charity, share them among themselves or knit them for sale! And I’ll find a way to do that and still protect the book itself from pirating.

I’m so glad you mentioned this!

Thanks again,
Ruthie :slight_smile:

Hi, Sophie!:waving:

I’m so glad you mentioned this as a desired item. And the “build your own pattern” describes it PERFECTLY! Right on!:woohoo:

I’ve been going round and round in writing (and re-writing!) some of the basic design chapters to make sure the WHY is clearly shown. It’s so important. If you know WHY you should use a particular type of cast on for a pattern, for instance, you’ll know what to do when you’re dreaming up your own!

Thanks for bringing this up, and for all your comments!

Ruthie :waving:

[COLOR=Black][COLOR=Red]1)What would cause you to pass by a book on the shelf? [/COLOR]
If it seems too trendy, I like classic patterns that I can use for years and years, not while a few things are in style… and I do think that poor photos on the cover.

[COLOR=Red]2)When you browse knitting books, what is it about them that would make you put it back on the shelf? [/COLOR]
Poor pics in the book, not many pics of the patterns, not a variety of levels, sometimes I want something simple and other times I something that takes more thought and brain work. Also not a wide range of sizes, I’d like to be able to knit the item for different people and patterns that don’t give year weight, I rarely use the yarn in the pattern. (How’s that for a run on sentence…)

[COLOR=Red]3)What would make the book [I]least useful[/I] to you?[/COLOR]
All trendy patterns… most patterns without variety of sizes… I also don’t like them to have how to knit in a book like this

[COLOR=Red] 4) What do most knitting books lack?[/COLOR][/COLOR]
Humor… I love EZ’s book cuz of the way she writes… and I learn something from them.

[COLOR=Red]1)What makes a knitting book ideal for you?[/COLOR]
Classic patterns, pretty much what I was saying that would make me put a book back if it didn’t have

[COLOR=Red]2)What is it about your favorite knitting books that makes your fingers itch to grab the yarn and needles and add one more piece to your “on the needles” list! [/COLOR]
EZ’s Knitter’s Almanac, and Victorian Knits today

[COLOR=Red] 3)ANYTHING you love, please tell me.[/COLOR]
I also love color work, mostly stranding… and I am VERY interested in learning more about design… I would love to see your book.

I’d prefer for the book to be both printed and an ebook, I’d like to see it and if I was enjoying it I would by the actual book.

I also really like when on amazon I can browse through the book some. Where I can see the book. My local book stores carry mostly how to knit books so most of mine I get through Amazon,

For the book I’d prefer it to be spiral… makes reading the patterns easier and having it in soft and hard cover would be preferable too.

Replies, in the order asked:

  1. Anything that looks like a “coffee-table” book or a Dorling-Kindersley type of “How-To” (the sort with lots of white space, lots of information boxes scattered around the pages, lots of distracting, eye-popping colors).

  2. See above.

  3. Beginner info like loop or long-tail cast ons, how to do the knit stitch, how to do the purl stitch, how to bind off. Almost every book has these, and every knitter buying design books already knows how to do the basics.

  4. Information on fitting a pattern or design to a specific wearer’s body.

  5. Information that I can use to adapt or design future projects.

  6. Expanding the possibilities of a simple design. As an example for a top-down raglan: necklines; entire-garment stitch patterns vs. stripes or panels of different stitches; the relationship between color, yarn texture, and stitch pattern (and how these may affect garment width/length); effects of each type of increase and decrease along a seam; treatment of hems and edgings (including crochet edgings).

  7. I used to love books that told me exactly what to do. I now love books that give me a jumping off place and encourage me to do my own thing.

I prefer a printed book. It’s easier to flip back and forth in, throw in a tote bag or next to a favorite chair, take to the doctor’s office or the soccer game, easier to “ooh!” and “aah!” over with friends, easier to keep at hand. Knitters are a tactile bunch. We like to hold things in our hands, turn pages, riffle back to the table of contents or ahead to the index.

Do not go with a conventional wire-bound spiral. They do not display well spined-out on a bookstore shelf, and what doesn’t display well doesn’t sell well. (For many years, I was the assistant store manager of a large, national bookseller.) Wire-bound spirals are easiest for the user but heck to sell, and they damage more easily on the store shelf, resulting in lost sales for you. A better option is a plastic-bound spiral which has a spine for your title, name, and graphics. Both trade-size paperback and hardcover will always be popular bindings, with the paperback generally more attractive due to a lower price point.

Font should be clear and sized for comfortable reading. Overly-large font and [I]gratuitous graphics [/I]hint that a book is more padding than substance.

In coming up with a design and format for your book, I suggest the following. Spend a few rainy, cool Sunday afternoons in your local bookstore’s knitting section and in your LYS’s book section. Watch how knitters look over shelves of books, how they choose specific ones to pick up, how they handle and look over each book (looking at cover and back only, or at table of contents, flipping through book quickly, paging through slowly and occasionally pausing) and how long they look at each book, and note what the book(s) they walk away with have in common. As knitters are a gregarious bunch on the whole, [I]after [/I]you have observed a knitter you may wish to ask her/him what elements led to the choice of a specific book. Believe me, patrons in bookstores love to discuss the book(s) they’ve chosen!

I posted my first post before reading everyone else’s…

tarrentella made me think of something else… I would love a design book that would cover cables. Like how to design things that that sweater in the GAAA book, or the trees that are out there. I know how to follow the pattern, but having someone help me understand what the stitches are doing would be great, cables are really the only one that I’m not understand that well with that… but I can see how others may struggle with lace that way so explaining also what one stitch does how it effects the stitches around it.

Oh and for design a moveable colorwheel would be great too! It could be attached to the book or not.

Hi Ruthie,

Good luck on your knitting book venture!

My answers are pretty similar to others here- but I wanted to add something. I would like both versions available, and a “notes” section by each pattern or section for ideas. A line I would use to market the e-book version would have to be “print whatever pattern you like to use as many times as you want” or something to that effect- because I tend to need about 2-3 print outs of patterns I have online over the course of making them. The few in books I have done I copy. I write all over them and take them everywhere (the only way I get knitting done) so they always ended up folded or lost etc. I also like the idea of some blank grids to print & plan on.

An idea for the printed version- kind of like a drafting notebook. I am really on the go so having it a good size to be portable is great. A creative design is good- because I think most people who want to design their own things are artistically creative and you could get away with something easy to read and well laid out but less traditional looking than most “textbook” like books I have seen.

Hope this burble helps!

1)What would cause you to pass by a book on the shelf?
[COLOR=Blue]You mean w/o even picking it up? I guess the title.[/COLOR]
2)When you browse knitting books, what is it about them that would make you put it back on the shelf?
[COLOR=Blue]The choice of patterns for the most part.[/COLOR] [COLOR=Blue]Clarity of instructions[/COLOR]. [COLOR=Blue]Also trendy patterns. I prefer classics that I can change up a bit if I want to.[/COLOR]
3)What would make the book [I]least useful[/I] to you?
[COLOR=Blue]See #2[/COLOR]
4) What do most knitting books lack?
[COLOR=Blue]For me personally it’s pattern choices. I see no point in buying a book that only has one pattern I might consider. That’s when I go to the library.[/COLOR]

And, on the flip side of that coin:

1)What makes a knitting book ideal for you?
[COLOR=Blue]Patterns I like with instructions that are easy to understand. I also like some humor. Think of Mason Dixon Knitting, Yarn Harlot’s books, etc. I would also like a book that actually gives you the instructions for figuring out how to fit/design a pattern. I am math challenged and just telling me to take your gauge and figure it out is no help.[/COLOR]

[COLOR=Blue]One other thing occurs to me… what would be really neat would be a book with a pattern that also shows how simple changes can make it yours. Like a simple cardigan, but how to change the neckline to a V-neck. Or how to add sleeves to a sleeveless top. Etc…[/COLOR] [COLOR=Blue]Too many books tell you this can be done, but not how! [/COLOR]
2)What is it about your favorite knitting books that makes your fingers itch to grab the yarn and needles and add one more piece to your “on the needles” list!
[COLOR=Blue]Again it’s gotta be the patterns and clarity of instruction.[/COLOR]
3)ANYTHING you love, please tell me.
[COLOR=Blue]See above answers[/COLOR]

As far as the book itself:
1)Would you prefer a printed version, or
2)Would you prefer an e-book, or disk, at about half the price?
3)Would you like to have both disk and print version available?
[COLOR=Blue]I prefer printed versions so I don’t have to sit in front of my computer.[/COLOR]

If you prefer a ‘printed’ version, how would you like it to look?

  1. Snappy cover
  2. Spiral binding
  3. Large type style
  4. Other?
    [COLOR=Blue]Don’t know what a ‘snappy’ cover is, but spiral is always nice if you have patterns.[/COLOR] [COLOR=Blue]I guess large type would be good if the patterns are geared to the older adult.[/COLOR] :lol:

[COLOR=Blue]Cost is a factor for me as well, but if the book has good patterns and is a fun read then that becomes much less of an issue. For instance I’ve read and reread Mason Dixon Knitting, Knitting Rules!, and an EZ book that’s name eludes me for the moment.

As you can see there are a lot of differences in opinion here, but some of the basics remain the same. [/COLOR]:lol:

Hi!:waving:

What an inspired group this is! And I know all the things you’re sharing with me will help me make this a terrific book for knitters!

[B][COLOR=“Blue”]Denise in Michigan[/COLOR][/B] - Great information on the wire spiral bound. I never would have thought of it, and it’s an important point. Almost one for one, everyone prefers spirals, but the plastic spiral would give the reader more quality in the book, and make it more visible in the bookstore! And I will start haunting knitting book sections in my favorite stores.

[B][COLOR=“Red”]Mama Dawn [/COLOR][/B]- Thanks, and I’ll make sure the reader will learn how stitches work together and the effect they create on each other. In fact, that’s a big part of the message! :slight_smile:

[B][COLOR=“Magenta”]Simply Renee [/COLOR][/B]- Sufficient space for notes is DEFINITELY a must feature for a design your own. I’m hoping that shortly into the pattern section of the book, the reader will have so many creative ideas hopping around that they’ll need to jot them all down!

[COLOR=“Lime”][B][COLOR=“DarkSlateGray”]Jan in CA -[/COLOR][/B]
[/COLOR]
Your quote…

[B][COLOR=“lime”][COLOR=“Lime”][COLOR=“DarkSlateGray”][I][I]"just telling me to take your gauge and figure it out is no help.[/I][/I]
[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR]
[/B]
That would be a sin of some magnitude! Having struggled with that sort of thing myself, I hope I’d NEVER do that to another knitter! :slight_smile:

[B][COLOR=“Lime”][COLOR=“DarkSlateGray”][I]“One other thing occurs to me… what would be really neat would be a book with a pattern that also shows how simple changes can make it yours.”[/I][/COLOR]
[/COLOR][/B]
Throughout the book there are sections on changing all the patterns around however you’d like them! I’m a firm believer in PLAYING! :woohoo: Oh, PS. Jan - I think by “snappy cover” I was thinking of something kind of bold colored that grabs the eye rather than a more conservative or elegant cover.

Thanks again to you all! Every response is giving me more and more valuable information. I have my checklist in place and am noting down what you’re telling me! So far today, for instance, spiral bound is front and center!

This is so cool! And you’re all so generous!

Ruthie:hug:

First thing that attracks me to a book is the cover picture. Something that looks fun and easy to do.

I would prefer a spiral also, this way u can keep the pages down for the pattern purpose.

I would love to see fun, trendy patterns also, not old fashioned patterns. From easy, to intermediate.

Easy to follow patterns from beginning to advanced with suggested type of yarns included in the pattern.

Something that makes me grab a book and want to starting knitting would be, a different type of pattern, something unusual to do.

Thanks
Kathy

Thanks to your opinions, I’ve already been clarifying the pattern instructions so that they’re completely user friendly!

Your input has been fabulous and very appreciated! Keep it coming! :yay:

I just wanted to mention that, even though your answers may be similar to or the same as someone else has written, they’re very important, too. For instance, nearly everyone prefers a spiral type binding! (I do, too!)

So even if your preferences have already been mentioned by someone else, please feel free to share them anyway.

I’m keeping a notebook and am noting down each person’s opinions and it’s helping me get a clearer idea of what would make an ideal book for a wide range of knitters.

Thanks again for your wonderful help!

Ruthie :notworthy:

I noticed someone said that spiral bindings are a problem in the bookstores. I can see that since they don’t stand up the same sometimes and people aren’t always nice about putting books back on shelves correctly.

To that end… if you sell online you could offer spiral with no problem. Another way to make it easier is to make sure the text is far enough from the left margin that it could be taken to Kinkos and have it spiral bound. I know several people who have done that with knitting books that didn’t come that way to begin with. It works great as long as there is room to do it. :thumbsup:

I buy most of my knitting books online, especially at Amazon, so the “Look Inside” or “Search Inside” features are very important to me. If you want to block access to the instruction pages, that is fine, but please allow customers to see pictures of the projects. If I cannot see what the projects look like, I’m likely to just skip the book altogether.

This may be harder to pull off, but customer reviews are also important to me. I’ll do Amazon and Ravelry.com searches sorted by “highest rated” and go from there. So if you have some friends or professional contacts you can recruit to rate and comment on your book and patterns, that would be a big plus. Ravelry.com could be a help here - once a book is out for any length of time, users will usually start to post pictures of their projects with comments and ratings.

As others have said, I tend towards contemporary classic designs - mostly because it may take me so long to complete a project that a trendy pattern is no longer in style by the time I finish it.

Best of luck! We’re pulling for you!

Hi!:waving:

Thank you very much for your good wishes as well as the info you provided!

It’s been my plan all along to get all patterns thoroughly tested so that I know they’re correct and won’t frustrate the readers to death! :slight_smile:

But also, when the book is compiled and the manuscript is finished, I want to recruit two novice, two intermediate and two advanced knitters to read the manuscript, work through the steps and then let me know if I’ve achieved the goal - knitters who can easily design and knit their own projects.

Whether I can get the book published by an established publisher or go the route of self-publishing, I totally agree with the “look inside” feature you suggested. I love that about Amazon and very often will bypass a book if I can’t check it out the way I would at a bookstore. So I don’t want anything less for my readers.

Again, thanks for your input!

Ruthie :hug: