It’s one thing to design a piece of knitwear. You have to think about the type of yarn you want to use, the color(s), the pattern, the size, the story the design tells, the audience who will want to hear it. You spend countless hours knitting swatches to test how the colors and patterns work together with different types of yarns, you bribe your friends to be test knitters, you write and rewrite the pattern over and over until it is as clear as you can manage and you have fixed all the errors your testers have found. And after all this, if you desire to publish it on a site like Ravelry, you spend another bit of time figuring out how to create your “store”, how to upload your pattern, create your page and monitor people’s interest in your design. Whew! You’re happy for awhile…
Then, just when you think you have a handle on all these things for at least one design, you start thinking about putting that design out there so that more people can see it. Alrighty then, get ready to blast into the next universe called advertising if you wish to showcase your pattern! Suddenly, you have to learn how to take the photos, how to use a graphic design program to resize the photos according to the publisher’s requirements, how and where to add text as a layer to the photo (after you have chosen font type, font size, and font color) and last, but not least, what file type to use when saving the photo so that the image isn’t overly skewed. Granted, you can hire a designer or design team to do this for you, but if your budget is tiny, and you are just starting out, you need to dive headfirst into the ad creation waters. No life vests, people, sink or design!
I know I’ll get better over time with designing my own ads, but here are my first two. Yes, they are the ones I have published here before, but it has taken me three days and a lot of emails with a helpful Ravelry editor to figure out how to make them small enough and how to add the pattern title. When I get frustrated, I just think about how these might help sell my patterns so that I can donate all the profits to my favorite animal rescue shelters. That thought is my life vest.
One of the hardest decisions for me is to choose between telling a “color story” and a “stitch pattern story.” I have been mulling over my next design for awhile now, and I keep drifting back and forth between representing the design by using colors or by using a lace or intarsia pattern. My inspiration for my next shawl pattern is the following photo of a runway at night.
The shawl will have a central panel that gives the feel of a runway in either dark blue or purple and the sides will be striped in shades of brown and gold. I am also thinking of using beads along the edge of the runway to create the runway lights. It was the beautiful blue runway lights that started my thoughts on this pattern!
Here is an example of an Isager pattern I just finished that uses a stitch pattern story, rather than a color story. It is so lovely, I admire this designer! (Her name is Lise Vaaben.)
Thanks to my amazing and inspiring friend Laura of Handwerks, I am starting my own study project on different breeds of sheep and the yarn that is produced from them. There are over 77 breeds that Handwerks is familiar with but I am starting with a subset of some of my favorite ones so far. Laura has provided some samples for my project and I plan to use Barbara Walker’s afghan squares book to start my squares. There will also be a lot of exciting online research about the breeds and I hope to track down more samples of a wide range of yarns.
The yarns in the photos from the top down are:
British Milk Sheep (one of my favorites!)
Gotland (my very favorite; the most gorgeous silver gray)
CVM (California Variegated Mutant)
And this is just the beginning!
A beautiful pattern in ombré stripes. The color combinations are lovely and I love the technique they use to move through the colors.
This pattern is now published on Ravelry! You can find it there and download it for free until the end of May. After that, my patterns will have a small charge and all sales will be donated to one or more of my favorite, nonprofit local animal rescue shelters.
I promised to create fingerless mitts to accessorize the City Stoplights shawl and so here is the first one! I decided to try beading so I chose a motif that reminded me of stoplights and added a few beads in the center and at the edges. Adding beads with a super teeny tiny crochet hook is quite a challenge but it was also satisfying to see the bead finally settle down into the stitch. I used size 8/0 Duracoat galvanized beads in a gold color called Champagne. (Very tempting to drink Champagne while beading, but probably not the best idea…) Here it is in Handwerks Super Twist sock yarn in color Heirloom Tomato. It is the same red I used in my Primary Colors City Stoplight shawl:
I tried updating my previous post with a new photo of the City Stoplights shawl, but can’t seem to find the “add photo” button on the edit screen. So, I will just add it here. From my friend Lyle, known to some of us as the Queen of Purple, her version of my pattern. Isn’t it wonderful? We may not be able to find a purple stoplight anywhere in the world, but at least we can imagine it.
I have my final pattern now, after lots of very useful feedback from my wonderful test knitters! It is amazing how small changes can make your pattern suddenly sound professional. I also completed a primary colors version of the pattern which is pictured below. In the first photo the shawl is knitted in Isager yarn; in the second photo, it is knitted in Handwerks Super Twist sock yarn. I love primary colors, they are so cheerful. One of my test knitters has finished her version and is in the process of blocking it so photos will come soon. I am now starting the accompanying fingerless mitts, so stay tuned! They might even have beads in them…something new to learn how to do.