Come on – is it really that difficult to develop a knitting pattern?
.....I’ve made so many sweaters without a pattern and it was always a success…I think!
That’s how I used to think! However, since I decided to become a knitwear designer, I’ve learned a lot. For instance I’ve learned what it takes to bring my design idea to a finished product with clear instructions for all sorts of knitters.
Let’s have a look at what it takes to develop a knitting pattern – for me. Others may very well work in a smarter, faster, more efficient way. I’m very open for ideas on how to improve my process as time is a scare resource in my tiny one woman business.
1) Get an idea….never really has been an issue at it happens all the time, i.e. when I go for a run or otherwise should be doing something else and extremely important
2) Pick the yarn, do swatches, testing of techniques, and think through all parts of the design – both technically and with regard to fitting and sizes. This can be a problem at times, and it surely always takes longer than anticipated
3) Do the calculations for 5 – 8 sizes. Since the beginning, I chose to be as inclusive as possible in my designs with regard to sizes and body shapes, but this part really is tough on me. I’m extremely weak with regard to the math and tend to confuse myself
4) Make sure that the pattern instructions are clear in order for others to follow them. I never succeed in this with the first attempt, rarely with the second, often with the third, and always end up happy with the fourth attempt
5) I do a test knit of the pattern and make corrections. Did you ever time how long it takes to knit a size M? Mind you, as this is a test knit I must follow the pattern thoroughly and make corrections whenever necessary – that’s the whole point of a test knit
6) I ask for 2 test knitters – preferably a very experienced knitter that might make suggestions for technical improvements, and a less experienced to point out where instructions are unclear or where an instructional video is needed
7) I do the tutorials for my YouTube channel. I still find this part to be really pushing my boarders, but I’m a little less scared every time now
8) I send off the whole thing for tech editing. She is very skilled indeed and points out all those things, that I thought nobody would notice. In addition to this, she improves the pattern linguistically and makes me aware of mistakes – and, in her own pedagogical way, explains how I ought to do things – cheers!
9) I review the pattern, make the corrections and prepare the texts for the Danish instructional videos
10) I send off the whole thing again – now for translation into English
11) I read the Danish version again, before I text the videos and upload to YouTube. Once again, I’m a little tired of my idea about being inclusive. It seems that nobody else texts their videos….probably because it so time consuming. However, I insist that the tutorials must be accessible to hearing-impaired persons in addition to those cases where one will watch the video without having the sound activated
12) I receive the English translation, make a few changes, and text the English version of the instructional videos. At this stage, I’m really fed up with my decision about texting all videos. Does anybody appreciate my work at all?...I keep asking myself
13) I prepare both versions of the pattern for layout. Some pictures where taken during the process, with others I’ll have to negotiate with my husband to be the model. It isn’t easy for him to come home from work, tired as he is, and be met by his wife holding a camera in one hand, and a fresh shirt and hand knitted tie in the other.
Add to this, that occasionally (don’t tell anybody) the knitting needles have not been removed yet, as the garment is not completely finished. But we have to do the photo shoot now – right now, ‘cause the sun is out. Let’s be honest, how many persons are able to make a well done tie knot with tired kids around and insufficient amounts of caffeine in their veins?
14) I receive the Danish version of the pattern for review. I use 2 screens for this. At my laptop, I see the word document and on the extra screen I keep the pdf. that I received from layout. I use that sticky index finger of mine to look through the document, word by word, number by number, clicking on all links, etc. I learned that if I can have chocolate afterwards it improves my efficiency
15) I return the document with my comments. Fortunately, we have developed and refined our process to be very effective and little time consuming. At this stage, I’m mentally done with the design. I can see the finish line and am crossing my fingers that nobody will take it down
16) I receive the second version of the Danish pattern – now for approval. Often we succeed in our first attempt, but occasionally things have moved around or I missed a detail in my first review.
17), 18) & 19) is a repetition of 14), 15) & 16) – only with the English version
20) I upload a description of the design and Danish pattern on my website, and add photos in order for you to be able to make an informed decision about your possible purchase
21) I make an English translation of the same and upload this to the English version of my website
22) I upload the Danish and English versions to FetchApp for you to receive the pattern automatically as soon as your purchase is confirmed
23) I do the same with Ravelry to make the pattern widely available to you
24) I prepare posts for Instagram and Facebook. What’s the use of offering a really cool product if it is kept a secret, right?
25) I cross my fingers intensively whilst hoping for some of you supporting my works with likes, comments and sharing the news about my pattern. For the same reason you can easily share on social media from all my product pages. This way, if you want my best, like my designs and think that others might too, I made it very easy for you to support my work by making others aware of my existence….even if you don’t purchase any of my patterns yourself