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 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 took a couple of days off from knitting this week. It used to be that I would often go days without knitting and not notice but these days it seems that my hands are constantly itching to pick up those needles. But for the last couple of weeks I’ve been so busy finishing off two (two!) design submission ideas at once that once it was done I took a breather.
Then another submission email dropped into my inbox and my brain was off again. A third submission has been sent off – 3 in one week! I may have submission fever…
The thing is, I’ve not had a submission accepted yet but I’m starting to actually enjoy the process of it and the ideas that it generates without being so bothered by whether my ideas are accepted or not. If they’re not right then I have some new designs I can do myself. (A few too many at the moment!)
One of the aspects I’m trying to improve with each submission is my design sketch. I tend to make it a bit basic with some colour and texture as appropriate just to convey the idea of the design. With the last one though, one of the designs was for a top and as it was my first time submitting a top design I tried to make my sketch look a bit more natural as it would look on a person. I found the easiest way to do this was look at a photo of a real person wearing a similar shape and copy the form then adapt the shape of what the form is wearing to my design. I did find while I sketched this time that I felt like a ‘proper designer’. Which was fun.
Maybe one day I’ll have enough sketching time/talent to do one like these I found on pinterest.
As this is supposed to be a blog about the highs and lows of my attempts at knitting design I thought I should say a little something about one of the things I’ve learned and had to change about how I knit and/or design. So here is my confession…
One of the things I have always done, even while following someone else’s pattern, is just blithely carry on when I’ve made a mistake or something just hasn’t turned out right. My eagerness to get it finished tends to make my brain go “oh, that’ll do!” While this might be alright for something I’m knitting for myself, I’ve had to really fight against this attitude while designing. Never more so than in my latest design in which I was attempting to create a bit of overlapped knitting (or two bits of overlapped knitting going different ways on different gloves). I could NOT get the thing to work without making a wee hole at one of the joins. I knitted, frogged, knitted, frogged and knitted again I don’t know how many times. And there were moments when my brain kept saying to me “oh, that’ll do!” But…I fought it. Because I can’t design something good and expect someone else to pay for it when it has holes in it, really,,,can I? Unless it’s meant to have holes.
The best thing about this fight? I made something I think is really great and it works. In two colours. With no holes. Eventually. Phew.
Here it be.
The pattern is called Caol and you can get it here.
Yep, I’m still on a roll with the fingerless mitts… This is an easy quick one, I really like the contrasting exposed seams…I’m thinking of putting this one on Etsy/Folksy to sell as a made to order item as it’s so quick and easy. I’ve put the pattern on Ravelry for free at the moment – you can find it here. I do have a more complicated pattern which is almost done, but yes, it is another pair of fingerless mitts. I can’t get enough of them. And hey, I’m learning a lot from them as I go. Have a fantastic weekend everyone. tkm
If you haven’t heard from me in a while it’s because I’ve been on a bit of a designing binge. I have decided to concentrate on small projects until I get more experience under my designing belt and I have been really enjoying designing a few wrist warmers/muffatees/fingerless glove type things.
So far, I have three wrist warmer patterns almost done and one cowl. Here is the first of the wrist warmer patterns I have managed to finish this week.
I found some half price Rowan Pure Wool recently in my local woolly wonder emporium in some colours I like together so I bought 7 balls of the black and 7 of the clay and I already had 1 ball at home of the Cypress. So I now had to rack my brains for a suitable pattern for this bonanza. Here is some of the thinking and deciding process I went through before I found the stitch pattern I wanted to use.
I have recently really wanted to knit a check or tartan pattern to I tried that first. Here is a swatch of my first attempt…(I used the crochet slip stitch I used in my Haiku wrist warmers for these patterns.)
I wanted to try to get a rougher line through the middle of the pattern so I used both the black and the clay colours held together for the two stripes in the middle of the lighter squares but it didn’t really come out as I had in mind – not enough of the black. So I tried a solid line with more vertical stripes.
I even started with the ribbing I wanted to use on this swatch which I’ve never done before! Yep, I’m trying to be more prepared these days… I definitely like this pattern better but it still wasn’t right. The light bits look too much like windows. So this one was out too.
I scrapped the check pattern idea at this point as I didn’t think it was working with these colours. (I might go back to it later though…) So I tried a stripey pattern I’d been thinking about where you change colours randomly in the middle of rows.
I also added a wee vertical crochet slip stitch stripe in this one. (Can’t get enough!) I realised at this point that these colours are almost exactly the colours of the jumper The Big Man was wearing when I first met him. Maybe why I like them so much? But this still wasn’t right. Maybe it’s one to come back to for a Big Man jumper later…Oh, yes, I forgot to say – I want to design a lady jumper for the first time. I’ve been a bit scared to do it but told myself not to be a wimp and just get on with it – it can’t be that hard!
So, my head was whirling about with all the different things I could/couldn’t do with this wool in these colours when I suddenly remembered another technique I had tried on a swatch before but never made up into a pattern. Weaving in yarn! I really like this technique for some reason and when I knitted a swatch using it I knew it was the right one straight away.
I even did a circular swatch for the first time! (A tiny one, admittedly but it’s better than none.) As soon as I realised I wanted to use this stitch pattern, I realised it was going to have to be a circular jumper as I couldn’t face sewing all those ends in…and probably no-one else could either so no-one would want to knit it.
So I’m now designing my first circular jumper! I’m 11 rounds in and have only frogged it twice so far! That’s not bad right?