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Friday, November 25, 2011

The Great Design Project: part 1

Welcome to one of the scariest things I've done yet as a knitter, blogger, and designer: The Great Design Project.  This is going to be a series of posts related to my lasts design idea.  I submitted this design to be included in a fantastic project, but it didn't quite fit with the other designs.  And that's okay!  So I decided that since I love this project, I'd take this opportunity to show what I go through from the first step in the process, all the way to design completion.  This is the first part, and I'd love if you followed along until this is all done :)  Keep in mind that the way I work in no way reflects the way that all (or even most) designers work...it's just what works for me.  So, lets get started

This is a sketch of my baby.  It's a crocheted skirt.  I got the idea when I was working on a swatch for a baby blanket.  I wasn't in love with the colors that I had available to me, so I went to the shop and found a pretty heathered-brown.  When I started doing my 3rd swatch, I thought "this would make a fantastic skirt!", and I ended up shaping my swatch like a mini-skirt.  It was so cute! 

The pattern is simple, and and easily customizable.  I put a great deal of the work into the conception of the idea (for the proposal packet) and I've decided that it will be worked top down, to allow the wearer to more easily adjust the length.  I've also decided on what I feel to be a pretty good range of sizes.  Unlike most of the knitted skirt patterns I've come across, the sizes increase two inches at a time because it's been my experience that crochet has less horizontal give than knitting does.

So, now that I have a few swatches, and a sketch, and a range of sizes with a general idea of how I plan to approach this baby...what's next?  Well, this is where I start working on a prototype, and taking some good notes.  The prototype is simply that; a prototype.  The finished garment can very quite a bit, or not at all from the original concept, because sometimes designers run into issues that work fine in a one-off situation but will never work out when it needs to be duplicated in multiple sizes.  I've experienced this before, and probably will again.  That being said, I'm off to go crochet a few more swatches and get some ideas of row gauge to go with my stitch gauge, and then I'll come back with more photos and an idea of what worked, what didn't, and where I'm headed next.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

me standing in socks, and Norah in 3" heels, lol
This Thanksgiving, I'm really thankful for the fact that my finals were last week, rounding into this week, and finishing up on Tuesday, because I can have a school-work free Thanksgiving this year!  I don't have to leave my MIL's early because I had a major homework assignment due (like last year, or the year before).  I also finished my homework early enough that I had time to scoot down to Slater Mill on Tuesday night to meet Norah Gaughan!  That's right.  This is me...standing with my arm around NORAH GAUGHAN!!  An up-and-coming designer, standing right next to one of the most prolific and talented designers of ALL TIME.  Maybe some will rub off on me :)

This holiday season I'm looking forward to spending time in my kitchen with Alex.  He loves to help me (although sometimes it's not quite as much help as he thinks it is).  I'm going to bake cookies today with my new Pampered Chef stoneware cookie sheet.  I'm going to make mashed potatoes with goat milk/butter so I can eat them.  I'm going to make candied yams with the mini marshmallows and brown sugar :)  And if I can find the energy...I'll be making a pumpkin pie with coconut cream instead of condensed milk so I can eat that too!  Oh, and at some point in time I have to put my vegetarian pot pie in the oven so it'll be warm when I go to my MIL's :)  See... I'm a considerate vegetarian, and I come to holiday events with my own main course so the chef doesn't have to sweat over what I can eat ;)

Now, I'm gonna go knit the rest of my Takoma sleeve, on my couch, sitting next to all of my boys...who are all awake at 8:57am for once.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Off to a rocky start, lol.

So, last night after I finally quit working on my final projects for the evening (the ones due today by 11:59pm...that still arent' finished...and I'm typing this blog instead of working on them...yeah, those), I sat down and finished my second sleeve for Takoma.  The 3rd chart section looked a little odd, and I kept looking at it trying to figure out why it seemed different, but I just kept happily working on it and after binding off, I laid it next to the 1st sleeve, and found this mess.  Really?!?  Really.  So I guess I get to spend another day ripping all the way back to that part and reknitting it in the correct color combo, cause there's just no way I can get away with leaving the sleeve like that, lol.  Oh well.  Chalk it up to user error.

In other news, I heard back already on one of the submission I sent out and unfortunately they did not choose to use my design.  They were very kind, letting me know that they loved my work, and hope to work with me on a future project.  They just got so many submissions for this project, and lots of them were the same type of project I'd submitted (but mine is crocheted and the project actually says "knits" in the title so I'm assuming they put priority on knit designs, which makes perfect sense and I would have done the same).  To be honest, I don't even know if they were accepting crocheted designs (the submission call didn't say) so I was taking a risk by sending it out, but what's the worst that can happen?... they say 'no'?  Well, they said 'no', and I feel okay with that.  Maybe it's because I've really thought this project through, and I created my strongest submission yet so I know I did my best work and I'm proud of it.  So I know that not being chosen wasn't personal.  I can see it from a business perspective, and I get it.   And maybe it's because I'm an independent designer and I have another option for it :) 

So, with that in mind, I've decided to give you all a glimpse into what I go through as a designer to get a design written, a sample knit (or crocheted in this case) and tested, and to get it promoted.  It's an "all access backstage pass" if you will.  Keep in mind, this is only my process, and other designers may work in a totally different (and more efficient, or logical) way.  I'll be working on this design over the next month or so, (with breaks for Holiday Knitting and the inevitable school work), and sharing it all with you!  So enjoy, and try not to judge too harshly, lol.