Sunday, August 7, 2016

I didn't expect that...

I am so grateful and appreciative of the overwhelming and positive response I received from everyone for my first pattern release, the Balsam Range cowl! I was very nervous and didn't know what to expect. What if the pattern left knitters frustrated? What if the piece was not a useful part of a knitter's wardrobe? What if?

It was absolutely amazing to read the kind comments and see the pattern be downloaded by so many. My local knitting group, the Smoky Mountain Knitting Guild, has even announced a knit-a-long with my pattern! What!? Amazing. I am so, so appreciative of the support.

Thank you!!

And...then I was stuck. I had spent so much time worrying about that single pattern that I was unprepared for next step. Naturally, that would be to release another pattern. I have a list of inspirations, tons of stitch dictionaries, lots of construction options to explore, and I'm getting the hang of a great software program (StitchMastery) for customizing stitch patterns...and all I could do was sit and stare off into the distance. There were too many possibilities, even when I decided that the best bet would be to begin swatching. Because you can see a stitch pattern in a picture, but not realize its full potential until you begin combining it with different yarns and other patterns in actual swatches. The patterns and fully designed pieces are like words that are hiding on the tip of your tongue, just out of reach. Even when you have an "aha" moment and the possibilities inherent in that stitch, that construction, begin to show is like a scene cut from a Matrix film, with shapes, textures, and colors, all flying everywhere on multiple levels and different directions, radiating...then (just when you think, "hey, that's pretty cool") the designer's version of writer's block smacks you down.

So, that's what I did for a while, immediately after releasing the Balsam Range cowl. I wallowed in my own absurdity. (That's what it felt like, anyway.)

I finally decided to go back to the trick that actually helped me get started with, and finish, Balsam Range. That was Francoise Danoy's rules for her Initiate Knit Design Challenge (check out Aroha Knits). For the challenge, she assigned a limited choice of general topics and a garment shape. So I assigned myself a topic and a construction shape. And I swatched. And swatched some more. Here is one complete section of the larger garment:

That's all I'm showing for now! I'm hard at work on the pattern and knitting up the full sample. Test knitters for lace anyone?

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