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’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’m eventually getting round to adding a free mitt pattern to go with this cowl. (The main problem was getting decent photos so forgive the ones I’ve managed to get!)
I also knit a pair for the Wee Man as he hates wearing gloves with fingers (he can never get his fingers into the right bit) but he can put these on easily and he loves them.
NB: these mitts are designed to be roomy and slouchy, this size fits my medium (7.5″ round the knuckles) hand with a bit of room but they don’t fall off. If you have smaller hands you may want to reduce the stitch count a bit.
Here’s how to do it:
You’ll need 2 X 50g balls (one of each colour) of Sublime Extra Fine Merino DK or any DK yarn to get tension/gauge of 13sts and 29 rows to 10cm.
I’ve been busy finishing off a few designs recently – one is published as a pattern on ravelry and one is a very easy one which I would like to share with you for free.
It’s for a simple cowl, it’s knit in the round but it’s an easy first project in the round if you’ve never tried it before.
Here is the finished item…
You will need:
2 X 50g Sublime Extra Fine Merino Dk in each colour (4 X 50g in total) – I used shade 015 (Clipper) and shade 348 (Faye) in this version – see the Etsy link below for other colour versions.
6mm circular (up to 24″ length) or dpns if you prefer.
Tapestry needle for weaving in ends.
Using both colours of yarn held together, cast on 112 sts
Join in the round
Work in garter st in the round (K one rnd, P one rnd) for 61 rounds.
Weave in ends.
This makes a cowl which is 75cm/30″ in circumference and 22cm/8.5″ in height. If you would like it to be more fitted, cast on less stitches (Tension/gauge is 13sts and 29 rows to 10cm/4″). Or if you would like it to be longer so you can wind it around your neck a couple of times, add on more stitches. You will of course, need more yarn for the longer option. I used most of 2 skeins of each colour for the pictured size so work out how much longer you want it to be and multiply the amount of skeins accordingly!
Of course, if you don’t knit, (or would prefer me to do it!) you could always pop over to my Etsy shop and order a custom knit one…
If you fancy more of a challenging knit, you could try my Oran Mor cowl…
The pattern is for sale on Ravelry here or there is also a custom knit version for sale in my Etsy shop here.
I am in the middle of another cowl at the moment – I seem to have caught the cowl bug. It may have taken over from wrist warmers as a favourite design…
My brother was right when he quoted Justin Bieber at Mum’s funeral. “My Mama don’t like you and she likes everyone.” She did like everyone. And everyone liked her. You couldn’t help it.
Here she is in her heyday and beyond…
Her name was Maggie and she is very much missed.
I started knitting her something at the beginning of this year but never got to finish it for her, so I’ve published the pattern and will donate all profits to Marie Curie Cancer Care who looked after Mum so well when she was ill. You can find the pattern here.