The Designalong: What Happened Next

When I announced the Designalong, I hoped it would be a chance for several independent designers to find their feet with the support of one another, Kate Atherley and whatever help I could give with ideas and tips on the blog. What followed was an amazing reaction of designers entering from all over the world and offering one another support and advice for weeks to follow. 

Sarah won the public vote and has been working on her final design. It's almost ready to publish and I can wait to see the final results. 

Here's how she is getting on: 

An Inspired 2015 by Sarah Schira

"After I won the contest, it dawned on me just how much I had to learn about writing and publishing designs. I’m used to heavily modifying patterns and even making up patterns for things I’m knitting for myself and others, but that’s different than translating something into text that others can follow.  It’s one thing to invent a cabled sweater for my daughter, and another thing entirely to contemplate it fitting many bodies!  Kate Atherley’s book Pattern Writing for Knit Designers was something I’d read as soon as it came out, but I soon (re)learned that reading along and agreeing with something is far easier than  reproducing it!

After a quick consultation with the three generous minds behind the contest, I went ahead and sent out the pattern to test knitters.  I’ve test knit, inlcuding Woolly Wormhead’s hats, but I was surprised to learn that it’s best to test knit before sending the pattern to the tech editor. Now that I’m partway into the process, it makes sense, though.  My eagle-eyed test knitters have found pretty obvious mistakes that my brain just skipped over because I knew what I meant.  It will save time for the tech editor who can then focus on less obvious aspects.

Right now, I’m using a new colour of Fyberspates Scrumptious Aran.  If you’ve been following along on my blog, you’ll know that colour selection is very important in order to make the stitch pattern show as a plaid.  See what a huge difference it can make?

colour swatching for plaid

But I managed to mess up a little when selecting colours - colour, especially colour tone, can be hard to see objectively.  I wrote about my troubles here.  That’s why I would suggest looking at your three colours in black and white.  You really do need a light, a medium, and a dark - at least to get the same sort of result.  If you’re ordering online, printing the yarn page off the website in black and white and then cutting out the squares can make it easy to see them side-by-side.  In-person yarn purchases are pretty easy to check if you’ve got a smartphone - the black and white filters will show you instantly what you’ve got in your hands.

 Use black and white filters to help with colourwork

Use black and white filters to help with colourwork

I’m so eager to have this in a finished state that I can share with knitters!  And for people to see the wonderful colour combinations the test knitters have put together.

What’s exciting about this whole process is that it’s lit a fire under me to finally get to things I’ve been thinking about doing.  It seems that this year will be the year of trying new things!  For instance, not only am I working on publishing designs, I’ve learned how to film a tutorial and post it to YouTube.  I wanted to be sure that people who have trouble translating written instructions into reality had something to follow for the one-row buttonhole technique.  And now that I’ve done a little bit of filming, I’m wondering if my time has come to finally podcast. 

A lot of what’s going on in my life fits perfectly into A Playful Day’s “An Inspired 2015” theme.  It’s been a bit overwhelming as I struggle to learn all sorts of things from Ravelry uploads to YouTube policies, and from Canadian business law to how to chart stitch patterns using Excel.  To keep from overwhelming myself, I’ve got a few techniques for balancing inspiration and workload, and I’ll be blogging about them over at Handmade Homeschool tomorrow."