Monday, October 12, 2009

Designing is HARD!

I've been having a go at making up my own patterns with a view to offering them for sale/free on my blog and eventually in my shop, if I ever get to the point of opening it! I started with some crocheted hats, a knitted scarf, headband and washcloth.

The scarf is one that I have made up myself and is based on alternating panels of stocking stitch and a simple 4 stitch lace panel. So far it's knitting up OK. This and the other patterns that I'm working on are designed for beginners, so they can practice their basic stitches and learn new ones easily. No point trying to learn lacework by starting on a wedding ring shawl! For those who aren't familiar with this type of shawl, here is a link to Lacefreak's blog...this should say it all!

Now, I've never been one of the people who can have a flash of inspiration and create it. I love watching Project Runway and am always amazed at how the designers formulate an idea while they are still being told the challenge, then produce an amazing drawing of the finished design, which they then create from scratch. I've always been more confident letting the "experts" design and I just follow their pattern.

As I get older and maybe more patient, I'm now seeing design ideas for myself. I look at patterns and find ways I can modify it or use the basic shape and fill in the design myself. Of course, I need to respect the original designer's work and not just rip off their pattern. A lot of inspiration comes from just observing people on the street or what people are wearing on television.

The mechanics of designing aren't easy! I'm glad I've started on small items like headbands and washcloths, as they are pretty forgiving and easy to pull out and start again. I started writing out the pattern for my headband, which is loosely based on a basic rib band that increases in width as you knit. My idea is for a standard rib version with options for a cable or lace variation, which both use the same 4 stitch panel as the basic. After knitting one to fit my head, I started writing out the pattern. Once this was done and checked I began to knit from the pattern. I made sure I followed my instructions to the letter and found mistake after mistake...bear in mind this pattern should be able to be finished by beginning knitter in a couple of hours. I'm still working on the instructions after a week of typing and knitting! It's certainly taught me a lesson...just because I've come from a background of writing processes and test scripts doesn't mean I can write a knitting pattern with my eyes closed.

I'm also working on a washcloth with the word "baby" across it. I did my design using a spreadsheet and it looked pretty good. I made sure I changed the cell dimensions to represent a knit stitch and got to knitting. I used Anchor Magicline which is on special at Spotlight at the moment. $10 for a pack of 10 balls and a pattern sheet...awesome value! I'm off to check Joondalup today to see if they have any left. I raided the Innaloo store last week and bought 5 packs, but I've read on the Western Australian Ravelry group that most stores are pretty much sold out.

Anyway, by the time I'd finished the lettering I had a small square shape with an odd assortment of knit and purl stitches....didn't resemble any word I've ever seen, let alone "baby"! So, it's back to the drawing board for me. I've re-drawn it making the letters chunkier and will have another go at a test knit today.

I guess this keeps me off the streets but I'm going to have to get my butt into gear and progress my wool shop project soon....or I'll be forced to swallow my pride and go back to the ranks of wage slave.....NEVER SURRENDER!! hehehe....I love dreams...


  1. If designing patterns is what you really want to do, then it's worth the effort. No pain, no gain - goes with everything in life. It's not an accomplishment if it comes easy. I'm sure you'll accomplish your goals.

  2. Don't I know it! I seem to be living right in the middle of a "whatever doesn't kill you" period! Sometimes I just wish I could close my eyes, open them again and everything that I've been trying to achieve is there....silly me lol