Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Whatcha Doing Wednesday

As you could tell from the pictures on Sunday, at least one of my latest socks jumped off the needles.  The second was cast on in short order and as it would happen, has also jumped off the needles.  :)

I love socks for just that reason, cast on, knit a bit, cast off, weave in the ends, quick wash and block to make them even and they are DONE!

Well, almost in this case.

The knitting is done and now the hard part begins.  The editing.

So today, you get the back story of how a pattern grows, because honestly I have been so focused on editing the past couple of days, I have nothing to show you, and maybe you are interested in the process I use.  Maybe you dream of designing your own patterns, either just for yourself or to publish. 

Every designer does things their own way and I can only tell you the way I do it, because we are a secretive bunch and don't share too many of our secrets.  Actually though, I think my way is pretty standard, but who knows.  If you do, leave me a comment saying so!

Ok, back to my process.

First I need an idea.  And don't ask where inspiration comes from because the short answer is EVERYWHERE.

The outline of a fence, spelling words, musical notes written on sheet music, flowers, the twists and turns of a hiking path near a river, the herb gardens at the conservatory....literally everywhere.  And if everywhere isn't enough for you buy a stitch dictionary.  Seriously!  There are lots out there, but it is so much easier when inspiration just grabs you by the throat and says make me into something.

The next step is a little harder, turning that inspiration into a stitch pattern, or three, and deciding what type of item it needs to be.  Socks, a sweater, a shawl, mittens or a hat?  And yarn.  Which yarn to try.

And then, if you are being good you swatch and rip and swatch and rip some more refining that grouping of stitches to say just what you want them to.  (To be honest in socks, my first sock is my swatch!  And that pretty pink yarn got knitted and pulled out several times before I was happy with it!)

So I write and chart, then knit and knit.  Making changes as I go so that the second sock, in this case, is knitted following the pattern I have now created.

And then you think you are done!

But you are not!! the real heavy lifting begins.  When you write and knit and adjust and knit little inconsistencies slip in.  Did you end that row of instructions with a period? Did you mean to?  Are all the row headers bold?  Did you mention where to place stitch markers?  Having just knit this blessed thing twice, what did you just assume from what you wrote and what did you actually write.

So you edit and put the pattern away and then open it up again and edit some more.

And then you take that leap of faith and say to yourself is perfect.

So you bundle it up all pretty in bows and send it to your worst enemy* and wait.

And the waiting kills you, but you don't dare open that file again because as soon as you do, do you know what happens?  You find a mistake!

But worse...then the return email comes with the corrections.

So you gnash your teeth, and wonder why you were so stupid as to use the wrong words or decreases, why the markers don't appear in the pattern where they should, and you pour yourself a big glass of your favorite beverage and close the email and sleep on it.

Once you are rested and the feelings of absolute mortification that you sent someone something with mistakes in it passes, you open that file again and find that you are agreeing with every little detail.  So you apply the changes and send it back with any notes you might have, and wait again.

Then comes test knitting - can someone else recreate what I made based on those instructions, and a final review before hitting that publish button, or in the case of third party submission the eternal wait for publication day.

So that, my friends, is my Work In Progress this week.  I have been editing, reviewing tech edits and editing again, in the hopes that I can bring you clear, concise and error free patterns.

What do you have going on this week?


*Not really!  I have worked with several tech editors, two of whom I consider to be personal friends, even though we have never met in person.  They are the best!  They really do everything possible to make my patterns better and do a great job of understanding that every designer puts a little bit of their soul into what they write.  They are kind, but precise and very much sticklers for "it is in your style guide that you do it this way, so do it that way every time so the knitter knows what they are getting."  If something isn't clear they work through how to make it clear, rather than "do it this way" or "this is wrong". And when I happened to mention that the red ink made me want to cry...the next revision came in blue.  That is devotion to making sure that we work together well as a team.

If you are a designer, who is on your team?  Do you feel they are on your team or do you work against them sometimes?

Answer in the comments, or shoot me a pm on Ravelry (I am marydear there!) because I am really interested to know!

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