Drawing with Yarn
Designing knitwear has made me ridiculously happy. As in, it's hard to even talk about it without grinning. Over the past few weeks I've been trying to articulate what it is about knitting design that I love so much.
If you aren't familiar with knitting design, like I wasn't, a single pattern involves many steps from conception to release. For me, a design starts as a pencil sketch on paper. Then it moves to graph paper where a rough idea of stitch placement gets charted. There is yarn and, perhaps, needles that need to be bought and gauge swatches to knit. Sometimes I make a digital drawing of the piece so I can experiment with color and shape. Then it's time to knit the sample.
At this stage I have the pattern instructions written in pencil and charted so I can knit from them. I'm the first official tester. This means every stitch is documented and the math calculations complete. Once the sample is knit, I create a draft pattern that I send off for tech-editing. The tech-editor combs through the pattern and makes sure the instructions are as clear as possible. After a few rounds with her, it's time to lay out the pattern into .pdf form (i.e. make it pretty!). The tech editor reviews it once more and then, it's time for testing.
I've discovered a passionate knitting community out there, including knitters who enjoy testing new designs. They follow the documented pattern and provide feedback on anything that isn't clear or seems "off". They share their progress as they work and photos of their samples when done. Then I take their feedback and modify the pattern to make it better. The .pdf gets reviewed by the tech-editor one last time and, finally, the pattern gets published.
So, to share why I'm so thrilled about knitting design, it:
1. Feels like drawing with yarn. I can be as creative as I want with colors, textures and shapes (and get to wear it, too!).
2. Engages the analytical side of my brain. I enjoy digging into details for the things that interest me. It takes me back to my software days!
3. Allows me to collaborate with others. I've been working solo for a long time and it's been so refreshing to work with others again, even if it's only online.
4. Combines all the things I've learned as an artist over the past 10 years - design, color theory, working with my hands, graphic design and photography (for pattern layout and social media posts).
I've been so motivated, I've stayed up late many nights, knitting "just one more round". I set up a new website under the name Copper House Knits and am super passionate about spreading the word about my new craft!
This week I published my first knitting pattern - the Hannah Cowl. 🎉 It's available on my website as well as Ravelry.
It took more than 4 weeks from start to finish, so it's incredibly rewarding to see it finally published!
If you enjoy knitting, I hope you'll check out the pattern. If you're not a knitter but know someone who is, will you please forward this post to them? That will help so much in helping people find my work. I have a few more pattern designs coming soon, too (the yarn above is a hint!).
Thank you so much! 💗