Deep Dive: Cartecay Cowl
Next, I grabbed my sketchbook and started drafting the pattern. Most of the pattern writing takes place here and I'd love to show you more, since pencil and paper are my favorites, but then I'd be giving away the pattern. 😉 So, here's another preliminary sketch I drew. Mechanical pencils are the best.
I also initially charted the pattern on 2:3 ratio graph paper with pencil, made available in the The Knitter's Book of Knowledge by Debbie Bliss. This book was instrumental when I was first learning to knit, and I often refer back to it when I can't remember how to perform a specific technique.
Once everything was written down, I knit the sample. Being the first to knit the pattern lets me iron out the wrinkles the best I can.
Next came a photoshoot, where I modeled the cowl so knitters can see what it looks like on a real person. Chad and I spent a few days unwinding by the Cartecay river in Ellijay, GA, where the photos were taken (and the cowl got its name). Chad was patient to take photos, while I did the photo editing.
Once I was confident the pattern was the best I could make it, I typed it into a Google doc and shared it with my tech editor, Dori. (BTW - she's a professional knitter and designs patterns herself under the name Fitter Knitter.) Dori and I had a few rounds of back and forth as she made suggestions for improvement. After I made edits, I dropped it into my graphics software for layout, which basically means I made the pattern document pretty. 😊 We went through another round for the layout and, when it had Dori's blessing, it moved on to the next phase: testing.
I made a call for testers, who knitted from the official pattern document for the first time. They each chose yarn in their own colors and knit samples, making sure everything in the pattern was understandable and error-free. In short, they were an invaluable quality assurance team! After testing was complete, I updated the document for errors found during testing and sent it back to Dori for one last look before the final phase: publishing.
During publishing is when I built the website pattern listings (currently here and on Ravelry), built a special promotion for the release, wrote this blog post and sent out my newsletter. (Tip: if you're wondering how I remember to do all-the-things, I use Trello to manage tasks.) Now...the pattern's out in the world! 🎉
Publishing a pattern requires a *lot* of steps from beginning to end. There are micro-steps involved in each phase that I didn't mention, including extra conversations, giving feedback on testers, and sharing on social media.
To be honest, it might be a little insane to wear all these different hats. But for now, while I'm just two months into my knitting endeavor, it seems necessary until I can outsource more of the work that someone else can do better than I can. But don't get me wrong - I'm not complaining. I've never been so passionate about a creative path as I am about knitting!
I hope this inside look at the making and publishing of the Cartecay cowl was interesting and helpful. If you'd like to knit it, I'd love for you to download the pattern and share photos of your finished cowl!
Thank you for your support of Copper House Knits, from the bottom of my heart. ♥