Designing again: after a 25 year break!

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Designing again: after a 25 year break!

Postby inspiresuccess » Sun Jun 05, 2016 3:14 pm

Yes! I'm designing again!

I used to be a freelance knitwear designer for a short time in the 90s. I designed patterns for craft magazines, books, and leaflets. I created the sample, which was photographed by the magazine. Plus, I wrote the instructions for people to follow, in order to make the items.

I've been trying to get the photographs of the designs online, when someone Googles my name, but no success yet. I'll keep working on it.

I'm only doing baby aghans this time, but back then I did mens' and womens' sweaters, hat/scarf sets, baby afghans, and Christmas stockings. I worked in knit and crochet, but this time I only want to knit. If after they're published and enough people request it, I'll crochet, but I don't want to. I only did it because the editors and magazine readers wanted it.

Here's what a project looks like:

1. Come up with themes (fun)

2. Sketch ideas (fun)

3. Create swatches (sometimes fun). "Swatches" are small, knit, four-inch squares to test whether the sketch actually translates into a knit piece. Most times they don't. That means multiple tests to find one that actually works. It's time-consuming. The verb is "swatching", as in "I'm currently swatching". Actually I'm not, but it sounds good to say it!

4. Math (not fun at all!) Knitting has a certain number of stitches across and down, and certain repetitions as well. I tried to find someone to pay to do this, but no luck last time, so I had to do it myself. I'll try doing it myself this time. Magazines have tight deadlines, which are a nightmare, but this time I don't have deadlines.

5. Instructions (really not fun at all!) Here's an example of what knitting instructions look like:

Row 3: Slip one as if to knit, K1, PSSO, work across 36 (39-42) stitches, RT, K2, LT, work across to last 2 sts, K2 tog: 80(86-92) sts.

This is an actual line from a sweater design I did for a Leisure Arts leaflet! If you're a knitter and know the abbreviations, it's easy to follow. But if you're the designer and have to write the instructions for 3 sizes, with a tight deadline, it's a nightmare.

6. Knit sample. (Time-consuming, boring, and a waste of a designer's time). I used to pay people to do this because of the tight deadlines with magazines. This time, I may do them myself. I'm not sure. I definitely will do, maybe three, in order to see what things look like with the yarn size I'm using.

7. In the past this involved sending ideas to magazines. This time it involves a huge amount of research. The Internet didn't exist back then! I have no presence on the Internet. I send emails. That's it.

This time, I need to learn about e-books, websites, blogs, twitter, Instagram, and whatever else is out there. I've given myself one year to do everything I want to do. That involves not only the designing but learning the Internet. Then, at the end of the year, if I'm ready, I will launch my business online.

So, that's it, folks! Right now I'm in the themes and ideas stage. I'm getting to the point where I'm going to have to switch over to swatching.

Wish me luck! InspireSuccess
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Re: Designing again: after a 25 year break!

Postby Lyndon » Mon Jun 06, 2016 9:48 am

Yay you!

Two tips, both for learning the subjects and for seeing Good Examples of instructions.

A series of book that we like is the "Teach Yourself Visually..." Diane bought Teach Yourself Visually Jewelry Making and Beading
Teach Yourself Visually WordPress. I'm also reading one of them.

Though their biggest number of titles are on computer stuff, the local library also has their books on Color knitting, Circular Knitting, Learning Off-Loom Beading Techniques One Stitch At A time, Car Maintenance, Guitar, Piano, Yoga. I'm not studying any of those on them now, though I might sometimes.

(I didn't see one on writing concisely, that was one long tip.)

The other is children's books, especially teens. Every needed detail must be there -- interestingly and clearly.
When we start a new project we often go on a library crawl through local libraries, and take home an armload. Also, if we find delightful authors, then we see what else they've written.
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Re: Designing again: after a 25 year break!

Postby inspiresuccess » Mon Jun 06, 2016 11:09 am

Thanks, Lydon!

I love the library, too. I've been getting books on knitting at the library to supplement my own design ideas. Many books on the library website are electronic now. I need to learn how to access those. I'm really behind on computer knowledge, but I'm trying to catch up. Slowly!

As far as pattern writing goes, I know how to do it. I just hate doing it! But eventually it will need to be done. I'll just bite the bullet and do it myself.

I'm having fun with ideas. I have the outline for a book. I've checked knitting books from the library to see how many chapters, and how many patterns per chapter. So far, I have four strong chapters, but I need about six eventually. No rush, since I've given myself a year to put this together.

I'm really enjoying doing this after so many years!
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Re: Designing again: after a 25 year break!

Postby inspiresuccess » Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:38 am

If there's anyone out there who has put something on hold for a year, or two, or 10, or 25 -- go for it! It's not too late.

I can't believe how much I'm enjoying designing again! I've moved up to the "swatching" stage. This is where I find out if any of my sketches translate into actual knitted samples. Wish me luck!
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Re: Designing again: after a 25 year break!

Postby La Fenice » Wed Jun 15, 2016 11:31 am

Go go go!!!

I love knitting too!
I have been dreaming about doing what you are doing too! :D
I love wool... so much! From dyeing, spinning, felting but knitting is my favourite!!! It makes me feel "old (in a very positive sense, though I am 31) and accomplished" in a way! :)

WISH YOU ALL THE BEST!!!
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Re: Designing again: after a 25 year break!

Postby La Fenice » Wed Jun 15, 2016 11:34 am

Btw!
I am not sure if you know about it (probably you do) but there is a very famous website for knitters where anyone can post a design and if people like it, they can purchase its pdf pattern directly from the website.
I cannot post links yet but I hope I don't do anything bad if I write this: it is ravelry dot com

I still believe that your best option is to contact magazines directly (they are always looking for innovative designs... I think! Never tried myself but I have seen it written every once in a while), but you might want to make yourself noticed there as well! ;)

I love that "winter is coming" and the knitting season is going to fully start soon! :D
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Re: Designing again: after a 25 year break!

Postby inspiresuccess » Wed Jun 15, 2016 12:32 pm

Hi La Fenice,

Thanks for your enthusiastic response to my thread! I also love being part of a long tradition of women's crafts. There's something special about carrying on a tradition. In addition to knitting, I've also done embroidery and quilting, which I'm hoping to get back to again.

Do you actually do dying, spinning,and felting? I've always admired women who really start from scratch like that. I used to work with wool and mohair, but now, I work exclusively with acrylics because I'm only doing baby afghans.

La Fenice wrote:Btw!

I still believe that your best option is to contact magazines directly (they are always looking for innovative designs... I think! Never tried myself but I have seen it written every once in a while), but you might want to make yourself noticed there as well! ;)

:D


The magazines I designed for are:

McCall's Needlework and Crafts
McCall's Crochet Patterns
Women's Day 101 Needlework & Sweater Ideas

I also had several Leisure Arts leaflets under my own name. Plus, my designs were used in other Leisure Arts books and leaflets, including I Can't Believe I'm Knitting!, and Our Best Knit Baby Afghans book.

Nowadays, the best place to sell is online. That's why I'm going to launch my business online in a year's time. I have lots of knowledge about knitting and design but I'm a complete dunce when it comes to the Internet! I have lots to learn!

Please stop by and share what you're working on. I'm intrigued by what you're doing with wool.
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Re: Designing again: after a 25 year break!

Postby Elaine Glimme » Wed Jun 15, 2016 6:49 pm

:D :D :D

I was wondering what you're up to. Now I know. Good wishes to you. It sounds like fun.
Elaine Glimme - author - "Temporary Address" and "The Molly Chronicles"
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Re: Designing again: after a 25 year break!

Postby La Fenice » Wed Jun 15, 2016 10:37 pm

I do all those things but not for everything I do.
I have done a dyeing course and I have done it at home only once (such a mess! But the color was lovely. I used indigo for a light blue!) and then spinning I have done it but I have put it aside now: I was not as precise as I wished to be and so I didn't want to use the best wool I had... and therefore the skeins I spinned were not the best quality, since the wool was not a super fine merino or something like that... so I have tried to use them but I haven't liked them so far.

For the record, I am a scanner, if that was not clear already :D

Felting I have been doing it on and off. The last project was a jacket, but I haven't finished it yet :D , I am planning to continue it when I go back to Europe (I don't have the project here with me now).

Instead, knitting is my favourite! :D I have FINISHED some projects too!!! ahahah :mrgreen:
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Re: Designing again: after a 25 year break!

Postby inspiresuccess » Tue Jun 21, 2016 8:56 am

Hi,

I have to take a break for a week or so. I cut my hand. Ouch! Not really badly, but bad enough to have to stop using it for a bit. I can't knit and I've burnt out on all the designing. I was at the next phase of needing to knit to see how the ideas will turn out.

It won't stop me for long! I'll be back soon.

Inspire
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Re: Designing again: after a 25 year break!

Postby La Fenice » Tue Jun 21, 2016 9:54 am

Get well soon! :wink:
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Re: Designing again: after a 25 year break!

Postby Elaine Glimme » Wed Jun 22, 2016 8:57 am

Sorry about the hand. I hope it heals quickly. It's fun to vicariously be involved in all of your projects. (That's everyone, not just inspire.)
I love the library also. They're keeping up with technology, and they help you. They have virtual books as well as paper ones, and if they don't have what you want they'll get it for you.

Lyndon, I looked quickly at how to choose cabins. I need to look at it a bit longer. If you want to do the inviting, my log on is either Elaine Glimme or ElaineGlimme.

I'm taking my husband for a much needed get-away. Just a couple of days. We are at that age when a lot of people we love are passing away. This is hitting my husband's side of the family especially hard, and Tom is taking on a lot of eldercare duties. I'm not good at planning vacations. In my younger days I was too broke to go anywhere, so I didn't get a lot of practice at it.

Writing is going well, knock on wood. I know I'll slow down when I get to the parts where I have no idea of what will happen. But for now I'm working pretty steadily. I love the plot line, and I love most of my characters. A few still need "fleshing out." I'm thinking, I could post bits of the story under the writers thread. I think it's unlikely that anything of mine would be stolen.
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Re: Designing again: after a 25 year break!

Postby inspiresuccess » Wed Jun 22, 2016 5:43 pm

Hi Elaine,

It's fun to follow along with your writing projects as well. Since I read, but don't write, hearing about plot and character, etc. helps me read in a more aware manner. I love reading so much, it makes it even more pleasurable. Thanks for sharing your ongoing process.

I hope the vacation is successful. It sounds like the two of you really need a break -- to rest, recover, and regroup.

I've always admired your commitment to writing. It inspires me to be more committed to the things I pursue. I'm sure your most recent writing HAS TO BE stronger than your earlier work. Experience, in any field, always moves us forward.

Love, Inspire
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Re: Designing again: after a 25 year break!

Postby Lyndon » Wed Jun 22, 2016 6:22 pm

Inspiresuccess: Looking forward to next installment of your designing when you are feeling more handy.

Elaine: Seconded on the rest, recover, and regroup -- and any other positive words whether or not they start with R.

I'll wait until Sunday to read up on cabins and do something (unless you beat me to it.) Next 3 days are trying to be excuse-producing days.

To be continued,

Lyndon
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Re: Designing again: after a 25 year break!

Postby Lyndon » Wed Jun 22, 2016 6:27 pm

Speaking of knitting and recovering, the song WE ROGUES OF WOOL usually is good at cheering me up.

The author/cartonist said "I remember trying to describe this sequence to some friends “You see, the vulture is a pirate, singing a sea shanty, only it’s about knitting, and instead of being on a ship, they’re all riding sheep.

I mostly got raised eyebrows"


https://youtu.be/w3ZtVuo5AL0

Link looks sort of unlinky. Original appearance here. http://www.littledee.net/?p=3753
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