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Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Great Design Project: Part 7

Sorry about the lousy-overexposed-headless photo, but we work with what we've got around here.  As you can see, I finished the sample for the Apogee cardigan and I'm quite proud of it.  I had no idea it would take on a complete life of it's own but it totally did, lol.  My finished sweater fits better than the pullover did (thanks to the corrected pattern grading numbers) and used one skein fewer, even with the wide bands and toggle closure. 

And speaking of toggles...I thought they looked funny in the picture, and realized that I'd put the toggles on the men's side instead of the women's side.  But I think I'm going to leave them right where they are because the sweater looks like a 'boyfriend' sweater and this just adds to that feel.

Both patterns are back with the technical editor and I've got a photo shoot scheduled for next week.  I'm going to call around for a few quotes on printing a small run of patterns.  I've offered to donate copies of the cardigan pattern to the Great Rhody Yarn Crawl this year (April 15-17) and I'll need some hard copies for them to hand out to the participating LYS's.  My graphic designer is working on an official cover page for my pattern layout and I'm hoping it will be ready by then, but as I'm doing a tiny run just for this event, it's not critical if I don't have it.  Hopefully I'll be able to release both designs by next month!

So, here's what I've learned so far:
  • pattern writing and design is hard, lol.  But you already knew that right?  It's easy to get super detailed in a one-off garment but much more complicated when you have to write out instructions for that garment.  Sometimes a small detail can take paragraphs to write out, and may need a different set of directions for each size.  That gets wordy, and complicated, and costs a lot to print.  Not always worth it.
  • it's better to start with your sketch, decide exactly what sizes you want to include, work out most of the necessary numbers based on the gauge of your design, and then write out as much of the pattern as you can before you start knitting the prototype.  I used to believe that I couldn't possibly write the pattern before I started knitting, but think of it like this: if you've knit a dozen pairs of socks, you know how they're done and really don't need a pattern for most of it.  You can just grab needles and yarn and start knitting.  I've knit enough sweaters in the last three years to know what most of the parts are, and what order to knit them in...so I can write most of that out and make necessary adjustments as I knit the sample.
  • my math teacher was right...it is important to show your work.  I've learned to write out every single step and label them for future reference.  It saves me a lot of time if I need to go back and adjust something later.  I don't have to work the entire formula over in every size...I can start at any step in the process and work forward from there.
  • patterns need to be edited before testing.  (see earlier posts for a refresher if necessary).
  • it's a good idea to have the pattern tested, if for no other reason but to see if there is a section that causes confusion to the testers and to see how well it actually fits.  This is helpful in making sure the smallest and largest sizes fit correctly, as I'm not used to designing for a size range this wide.
I've got to say that this has been an extremely educational experience for me personally, even if no one else ever reads this series, lol.  Designing this sweater online forced me to stick with it.  I'm proud of myself for pushing through and figuring it out :)  And I'm not done my friends!  I'm working on a small handful of secret projects right now but I will definitely be doing more designs out in the open so keep your eyes out.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

And....I'm 35.

You know, somehow I don't feel any different than when I was 25.  Okay, maybe a little bit different.  Wiser.  More patient.  Happier.  More content with my life.  Peaceful.  Driven.  Fulfilled (in love and in faith).  More like a parent (now that I have two boys instead of one).  Somehow I didn't really know what other parents were talking about; you know, about how your whole heart can love something so much and you don't know how it could be possible for you to feel the same about another creature like you do about that one child.  How you expect to love one half as much when the next one comes because you only have one heart and two children, and you'll have to split the love in half.  Having that second child let me learn that I had a root cellar in my heart, where I had enough room to fit in exactly the same amount of love for the next child as I already had for the first one. 

And I'm feeling more proud of myself than I ever did at 25.  I'm four months away from earning my bachelors degree, and planning for grad school.  I always wanted to do it, but never thought I could.  And one day I just decided I was gonna, and now I am. 

Today brought with it a few lovely gifts that I treasure (and I'm not sure if the 25-year old me would have seen how priceless they are).  My son let me sleep in another hour this morning.  He got dressed on his own the first time I asked.  He sat quietly on the couch (I'm talking no sounds...not moving a muscle...I actually asked if he felt okay) and watched cartoons before school. 

My mother-in-law brought me two bracelets from Alex and Ani (which I'm very excited about); one with the tree of life, and the other with a bunch of grapes.  They represent wisdom, prosperity, and several other wonderful things that I just blanked out on, lol.  Thank goodness she didn't get me the pomegranate...I don't need any help with fertility ;) 

My step-mother-in-law brought me a box full of vegan deserts so I could have a treat on my day!  After being so sick, I can't have standard cake today (the milk and soy) and I was feeling a little down about it. 

The value isn't in the swag.  The value is in the various expressions of love that I got today.  I'm loved and I've got three mothers who make it a point to show it (cause my on mom got up at the crack of dawn (Pacific Time) to call me today and wish me a happy birthday...I love you mom!). 

So I'm passing along the love this week with a pattern sale.  Tell everyone!  Tell non-knitters, and offer to knit for them if they buy the pattern (lol).  Go right now and get your 35% off, cause it's only good for a week.  (You do not need a Ravelry account to purchase a pattern from my Ravelry store).

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Birthday Bash pattern sale!

Tomorrow is my 35th birthday, and to celebrate it (and the fact that I'm finally starting to feel like a human being again), I'm having a Birthday Bash!  All patterns in my pattern store are 35% off, no limits, no minimum purchases.  So if you've been eying something, now's the chance!  

The sale starts tomorrow and runs through the end of Wednesday, March 14th.  
Pass on the great news!  (And eat some cake for me because I don't think I'll be ready for cake by tomorrow.)

Monday, March 5, 2012

we're so sick

Just popping my head in here to say that we're all suffering from a nasty stomach virus and I won't be posting an update for a while longer.  I spent three days hardly sleeping, and taking my guys to dr.'s offices and emergency rooms (one had to get an IV), and once they were finally starting to feel better, I got sick.  I haven't been sick for years.  I didn't miss it.

I've gone days without even being able to pick up my needles, but before that happened, I was able to write the 1st draft for one of my secret projects, and to submit the pattern for another.  I've got to get cracking once I'm feeling better (hopefully by tomorrow cause I have to work).  But when I *do* get back, I'll have an update for you on the Great Design Project.