I recently realised that I tend to design in phases. I only realised this as I’m entering my third phase – two phases wasn’t enough for the penny to drop really, but three makes it definite.
When I first started designing knitting patterns, I was obsessed with designing fingerless mitts (or wrist warmers, muffatees, whatever you like to call them). I think I enjoyed these as I love to wear them and also there is the challenge of making something small but stylish that is also practical and there are so many different ways with cuffs, thumbs, gussets etc.
Then I discovered the joy of designing cowls (snoods, infinity scarves…) and I loved these as I could play around with stitch patterns without worrying about increasing/decreasing or thumbholes etc. This is the phase where I think I started to find my particular design style.
Now I have moved on to hats. And the move was pretty much by accident – I had an idea for a pair of fingerless mitts (because sometimes I move back and forward between phases…) with a particular stitch pattern. I submitted the idea to a publication but it was unsuccessful. Then a friend got in touch asking if I could knit her a hat, with a picture of a slouchy beanie as an example of the kind of thing she wanted. I realised that the stitch pattern I had in mind would be perfect for a hat like this and a new knitting phase was born!
Although not deliberate, I feel like this is a progressive learning experience for me. I’m picking up new methods and gaining experience with every different phase.
Presumably the last phase is jumpers (although my very first design was a child’s jumper – exception to the rule!) but I’m wondering what will be next? I am still enjoying designing hats for now though and have just finished my second design, which I hope to have test knitted soon.
Does anyone else find they go through design phases like this? I would love to find out about it!
I’ve just released my 25th knitting pattern on Ravelry. For some reason this seems like a massive milestone to me. It may be because I’ve read about designers having great upturns in customers at 25, 50 and 100 patterns… but I don’t think this pattern is going to do that for me as it’s not a hugely popular category. I think it just feels like a good number of patterns to have. A quarter of a century of knitting patterns… It may also be because I’m so slow at finishing and releasing patterns, every round(ish) number feels like an accomplishment.
Anyway, to the pattern!
It’s a wee bag, I designed it for taking with me when I walk my dog…
But it would work as a project bag or even for festivals (which was the original purpose of the bag I was replacing!)
It’s called the Highweek Bag after my favourite local dog-walking area.
I have been using it often since finishing it and it’s surprisingly sturdy (I wasn’t sure how well the pockets or drawstrings would hold out with heavy stuff in but they have been key, heavy purse and full juice bottle carrying heroes!)
As this is my 25th pattern, I decided to have a 25% off sale of all my patterns on Ravelry which goes on until the 25th of August. If you’re not keen on the bag, why not have a look a some of my other patterns while the sale is on…
Now, I’m already working on numbers 26 to 30…
For all you dog lovers, here’s one last doggy pic!
I have spent the last week messing about with different software applications trying to design myself a logo for my knitting business.
This was a bit tricky as I didn’t really know what I was doing…I used Open Office Draw, then used Microsoft Paint and finally back to Open Office to convert it to an image… and each of these steps took me so long to figure out what I was doing! I’m sure there is probably an easier way.
At the beginning, I wanted a crescent moon shape with the text travelling across the moon and the ‘cut out bit’ in colours that shadowed each other. I couldn’t figure out how to do that. Here is a really awful ‘outtake’ where I tried to freehand draw the moon and type text…
A bit funky… but not quite what I was looking for…
The application I was using didn’t seem to like layering text on top of an object as well as outside it (or even across two objects – which I tried!) While trying to do this, I accidentally made a full moon with the text in the middle. And this is how I stumbled across my logo.
I wanted something simple and serene. This was my first draft:
I really liked the shape and the different tones of the words and how ‘moon’ shows up in white. I got some advice from friends on Instagram and was told that the word ‘the’ stood out more than the other words which wasn’t what I wanted. So I went back and played with it again. (Once I was more familiar with the software I was using, it was fun playing around with it – I tried it in loads of different colours!)
When I was adjusting the colours of the words, I decided to try a few different shades and use a gradient to see how that looked as the original was perhaps a little bit flat.
This is the logo I settled for in the end and I’m really happy with it…
So, another adventure in my knitting design travels is complete. And believe me… if I can stumble my way to a logo – so can anyone.
Has anyone else designed their own logo? How did you find it?
I’ve recently decided to try to be more of an all round, professional, efficient designer. So far I’ve begun streamlining my Etsy and Folksy shops (concentrating on uploading patterns rather than selling items to order) and trying to pay more attention to the social media side – I’ve been using Instagram a lot more (it’s become my favourite social site…) and I’ve gotten round to creating a dedicated knitting facebook page at last.
The biggest change I’ve made though, is in having my designs test knitted through Ravelry. I’ve always either test knitted them myself or asked someone I know to do it offline. But I still always had those nagging doubts when I’d send the pattern out there… Is it good enough? Have I missed something? Will someone come back to me and complain? Having strangers test knit has definitely helped with this. I feel much more confident about releasing a pattern that has been thoroughly gone over by others!
This is my latest pattern which has been test knitted:
I’m having another design test knitted as I write. I thoroughly recommend the test knitting process to any new designers. I tried using the Free Pattern Testers thread on Ravelry for the cowl shown above. This is a heavily moderated thread which has quite strict guidelines on what and how you and your testers post. Great for a first try if you’re not sure exactly how to go about it. I am now trying out The Testing Pool which is much more relaxed – it’s basically up to you to set out your expectations and conduct your test as you see fit.
So, what’s the next step for the all-new professional Knitting Moon??? Well, right now, I have 22 patterns in my Ravelry store – I’m aiming for the magical 25 pattern milestone and trying to make myself release a pattern every month…Not sure if I’ll be able to keep that one up but I’m going to give it a try.
Anyone else have test knit tips or stories? I’d like to hear them.
I’ve been experimenting with making a few things with air drying clay recently. This started because I wanted a little dish for my bedside table to put little bits in like hair bands and jewellery. So I made a dish and a tea light holder and a little fox brooch.
They are a bit rough and ready (and cracked and wonky…) but I don’t mind that. They’re just for me and they make me happy.
Dish and fox brooch
Hopefully the cracks in the tea light holder will disappear once it has a lit tea light in it!