Busy Days (and making time for blog updates)

The past few days have been pretty busy. On Monday I released my free shawl pattern “Ravens Land” and I was blown away by the response it got. I had a feeling that a one skein, lacy summer shawl would be well received, but I was overwhelmed by just how much people seemed to like it. I was especially excited to see it climb to the number two spot on the “hot right now” list on Revelry. (Talk about feeling like a real designer!!):

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I have been so happy seeing project pages pop up from people who have begun working on it and I just can’t wait to see that first finished project!

Of course, you may remember from my last post that I was also in the middle of writing up the pattern for a worsted weight shawl (which I’ve decided to name Pack Monadnock) when I got distracted with knitting up Ravens Land. I am happy to say that that pattern is now in testing (my first experience with recruiting test knitters, and something I will be doing with all future patterns) and should hopefully be ready for release by the end of next month.

In the meantime I have begun work on a fingering weight lace wrap which I am quite enjoying knitting on, and I have begun drawing up some basic designs for a textured, semi circular, worsted weight shawl.

 

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Pattern Writing

If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I have recently completed knitting up a new shawl design. The design process itself went by rather quickly. I came up with the idea about a week ago:Untitled

And quickly began working on my design:

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Within a matter of days, the shawl was finished:

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So what happens now? Knitting and designing were the fun parts, but now I am faced with the task of taking my ‘design’ and translating it into a ‘pattern’ that can be read and understood by others. This is a slightly intimidating task. How can I be sure that something which seems straightforward to me will be equally clear to another knitter? Every knitter is unique in their level of experience and in the way that they think about and understand their knitting, and I need to make sure that I am presenting my pattern in a way that can be clearly understood by a broad spectrum of knitters. Thankfully, since I have written up two previous patterns, I now have a template which I can turn to to help get me started in laying out my pattern. Still, I find that this phase of the design process is the one which takes the most discipline on my part to make sure that I keep working steadily and don’t stagnate in the process.

As a prime example: even though I am still working on writing up this pattern, I have already started knitting up a new design. This new design is nothing fancy, just a simple, lacy, summer shawl which I will most likely release as a free pattern. The problem is that given the choice between sitting down and editing the pattern for the shawl I just completed versus sitting down and actually knitting on my new shawl I almost always lean toward the knitting. While this is still work toward a design goal, it does not help me to leave things half finished while I run off to start new projects. I will have to find a way to strike a balance between doing the work that is most fun and doing the work that simply needs to get done in order to turn out fully finished products.

Feeling Like a Real Designer

So I have officially released two patterns through Ravelry (New England Woods and Streets of New York). I have to say that I was very nervous about taking that first step and releasing my patterns to the world. Part of me was convinced that my patterns would go unnoticed and that all my effort would be for nothing. Part of me is still convinced that there is no way I can really make this ‘designer’ thing work. I mean, what exactly makes one a knitwear designer? Is there a certain level of success or popularity that one must achieve before one can officially claim that title?

For me, personally, I have decided that the simple act of designing patterns and making them available for public consumption is all that is required to be able to call oneself a knitwear designer. Even if nobody ever purchases one of my pay-for patterns, and even if I never see any proof that anyone has actually knit any of my free patterns, the fact that I designed them, and had the courage to put them out there, is enough for me. (Although I cannot deny that I am eagerly awaiting the appearance of that first Ravelry project page for one of my patterns).

In the meantime, my design mojo is in full swing and I am very enthusiastically working on my latest design: an oversized, worsted weight, textured shawl. I love this design because it is exactly the kind of thing that I love to knit: big, warm, snuggly, and just a bit rustic.

Here’s to beginnings

Over the past few weeks I have been hard at work preparing my first ever series of patterns for publication. As a new designer i am very excited to finally be sharing my work with the world. I hope to be able to use this space to track the progress of my design work, and to keep any and all interested parties up to date on what I am working on, as well as when, and where my patterns will be available for download and/or purchase. I hope also to be able to shed some light on the design process itself, coming from the point of view of someone who is doing it all for the first time and learning as they go.