News for Oregonians! For the first time this year, I’ll be teaching at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in Canby – and registration deadline is very soon! Register online by this Saturday (Sept 5th) to ensure your spot. If you miss that deadline, you can still come and sign up in person at the event, but you risk there not being space left.
I’m teaching No-Pattern Hat Knitting; I’ll teach you how to make 3 different kinds of hats with constructions that allow you to size it to your head as you knit, in any weight/gauge. I taught this class at Knit Fit! in Seattle last year and it was great! I’m excited to teach it again! My class is Friday September 25th in the afternoon slot.
And another thing for more northern Pacific Northwest knitters – I won’t actually be at Knit Fit! this year, but my Game Knitting night will be! This year’s movie is Clueless so I’m bummed to be missing it, but you should go and have tons of fun without me!!
So, I don’t use this blog a ton anymore these days… I figure it kind of exists for followers of my work who want to keep up with what I’m up to, and as a place to talk in more detail about new designs and stuff. It’s been quite a busy year, and is continuing to be, so how about I use this space to tell you all about what’s up with me, and you can read it all the way to the bottom if you’re interested… and I’ll tell you a few more newsy things up front. I don’t have a big vision for this blog in the long term, but for now, right now, I feel like rambling on a bit about my year and design work, so I’m going to do that, and I’ll continue to announce new patterns as they come, and if there’s some random tutorial or project here and there that I find the time to post, I will, but yeah, mostly just the rambling and the announcements.
I want to address some things you may have pre-ordered from me, to let you know they are not forgotten and give you a general timeline.
- Full Body Trio. Tionne, the first pattern, was released last fall, Lopes came in the spring, and the final pattern (Chilli) was originally meant for the end of this year. My original design idea was for a piece that was a warm layer for winter/fall, so that was my plan… but I did some rethinking on the design this year, a new idea popped into my head, and the concept evolved into a springy (possibly summery) kind of garment. So, that is staying on hold for awhile longer – planned release is now early spring of next year.
- Triyang collection. Nothing new to say about that, but I’ll just repeat here that I plan/hope to get the other 3 patterns out by the end of this year.
- Adventure Knitting 3. The ebook is complete, has been for awhile, so if you buy it digitally you’re all set. But the print book (like the first 2 have) is on hold for a little awhile because I just flat out ran out of time; I needed to get caught up on deadline projects first, then I’ll get that book together and hopefully have it released in time to make a good holiday gift possibility :)
- Remixed. This is my big guilty weight on my shoulders. The pattern collection was complete several years ago, and the recycled-yarn-making ebook is still in progress. I feel terrible about this, and I learned big lessons about how to plan long-term projects going forward… I keep planning/trying to squeeze it in between other things, but there ends up not being time enough to complete it. It really is getting there, and my plan as of right now is to basically spend January on this ebook, like top priority for that entire month (unfortunately, there is no sooner month with time available). As for the patterns, I have a huge update in the works, which I almost finished last spring and then wasn’t able to do the final steps, and I really hope to find the 2-3 days needed to focus on that and get it done and released – this will be all 8 pattern pdfs in a modified format to take up WAY fewer pages, more in line with my current pdf style, and edited/updated to just be better patterns generally. Also, when the patterns are updated and the ebook is finally released, the price of the whole collection will be going up a bit, so ordering now will save a few bucks.
Okay, that’s that. Now I’ll tell you all about what I’ve been up to, design-wise, for the last almost-year…
Last fall, there was a submission call for a publication that spoke to me – I immediately started brainstorming and came up with 2 different design ideas I loved, which I thought fit the call really well. I put a ton of work into designing both patterns pretty thoroughly, and sent in my submission. Unfortunately, the call got an overwhelming number of submissions (it’s a popular publication) and mine didn’t make the cut.
Which was totally okay with me, because during the proposal-making process, I’d thought and brainstormed, and ended up realizing, hey, this one design, the construction is awesome and super versatile, it would actually make for a perfect collection! That design ended up becoming Twou – the lace design in the Triyang collection. The big gold swatch in that photo was the design swatch for that proposal. Twou will be a bit different (heavier weight yarn for one thing) but that was the beginning of the Triyang collection design process. As soon as it didn’t get in there, I started planning the collection around the construction, deciding to do it similarly to the Betiko collection, a garter stitch, any-gauge pattern, and then lace, cabled, and colorwork designs in the same construction. But unlike the patterns in the Betiko collection, I decided to just do one version per pattern, just a single gauge pattern for each of the non-garter designs. I was super excited to get the ball rolling on this… but needed to work on other things first that were already rolling. So, I’d get back to that collection plan in 2015 (this planning ahead after the proposal was still happening in late fall of last year).
So then, there was that other submission – remember how I said I proposed 2 different pattern ideas? Shortly after that proposal didn’t work out, I saw another call for submissions for another publication, for which the second design idea fit perfectly! The first proposal was for fingering weight, and this one was for worsted (or, based on the call, I wanted to change the design to worsted), so I made a new swatch and sent in that proposal… and didn’t hear back… and pretty much forgot about it… until earlier this year, I found out they’d held onto the design for a later issue from the one I’d submitted to, and it was picked up for that one, yay!
And, even though it’s not out yet, I can actually tell you what it’s going to be in, and show you a photo of it, because it was revealed in the fall issue of Interweave Knits! (And online too.) So yeah, this pattern will be in the Gifts issue of Interweave, coming out pretty soon!
So, that was designed and knit and everything in early spring of this year, around the same time I was designing and knitting Lopes. And around the same time I’d originally been hoping to be designing the entire Triyang collection… I had this whole plan at the beginning of the year, which involved the then-unnamed triangle shawl collection being released in the spring, before the Adventure Knit-a-long launched. Well, the theme of my life pretty much is things always take SO MUCH more time than I expect/want them to… Zulo took a ton of extra time, throwing off my early spring, and then Lopes did as well, and since that new Interweave pattern was thrown into the timeline, by the time I actually got going designing Triyang, it was already getting really close to the time of year I wanted to release the whole collection.
And then, like I mentioned in my Triyang post, I ended up spending WAY more time than expected swatching out versions of the shawl shape, trying to get it just right and figure out how to write the pattern, etc, etc. So by the time I was actually ready to knit the samples, and figure out stitch patterns for the other collection patterns and stuff, it was late April, and I had to make some choices. I could really try to get the whole collection out as planned, as quickly as possible, before the Adventure KAL, and then the KAL would have to happen in late summer, possibly like really late summer. I didn’t want to do that – I wanted the KAL to happen in early-mid summer, and I knew trying to get the collection out pre KAL (which still needed to be designed at this point!) would risk things taking longer than expected and the KAL getting bumped even more… it just wasn’t going to work.
Oh, and then, kind of a tangent, there were a couple of other designs thrown into the mix right around this time of the year. I worked really hard (spending way too much time, once again) on a publication proposal in May, cutting into that Triyang designing time. And I did a design for a third party in June (a secret one, pixelated below, which will be revealed probably in a few weeks), which again lengthened my timeline on self-publishing plans. Of course, I take on all these projects because I want to, and I love doing them, I just kind of am terrible at planning realistic timelines for myself.
I made my decision, got Triyang and the collection in general (especially Twou, which already had a lot of work put into it) into a state where I’d kind of worked through everything that was in-process in my brain and in notes, wrote up the whole pattern in as complete a format as possible, so that I could put the whole thing on hold for a few months, and I’d be able to pick it back up where I left off no problem. (Putting a design on hold and coming back to it later is normally pretty risky, since you might not remember little things that you hadn’t thought were worth writing down at the time, or you might not be able to decipher your own notes, or just not being in the same headspace as before can hurt the design…) During this first run of Triyang collection designing, I made alllll the swatches I mentioned last week, figuring out ratios and everything, all the design details, for the Triyang pattern, which would relate to the whole collection… lots of notes were taken.
Since Twou had been semi-designed for that submission, I did more swatching in the new heavier weight gauge, made some stitch pattern decisions, and got that pattern basically done, to come back and knit the sample later. Twou will be in Infinite Twist Helix DK weight yarn (in Spooky Purple):
I also made yarn decisions about the other two designs, so that I’d be ready to dive right in when the time came to focus on them, getting these skeins of Black Trillium Pebble Worsted (in Phoenix Rising and Saltwater) for the colorwork pattern:
And this giant skein of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Targhee Worsted (in Blue Moonstone) for the cabled design, perfectly squishy for the big cables!
So that collection was all planned out for later, and I set it aside, the first Triyang sample in-progress and the other yarns all ready to go, so I could pick them up as soon as possible.
I started work on designing this year’s Adventure Knitting collection then, in May. With the plan to get that done, like completely totally done, by the time the actual KAL started, in July, so while the KAL itself was happening I could be knitting the Triyang samples and designing the other collection patterns. And then, like a month or so after the KAL, I’d release the entire 4-pattern collection all at once.
Well, of course, Adventure Knitting got totally out of hand and took SO MUCH more time than I wanted it to. I had this plan that I’d make this year’s much simpler and shorter than last year’s, which was ridiculously long and complex and just too much. Well, this year’s was different, and there were some things that were shorter/faster, but other things that kind of spiraled away from my plans and got bigger and bigger… and in the end, this year’s pattern book was even LONGER than last year’s. Blech, why do I let these things get so overwhelming? One idea leads to another and I can’t stop myself. Great for you (SO MANY pattern options to choose from!), not so good for me and my timeline. So, I was still finishing up samples and doing work on the pattern all the way through the KAL, and wasn’t able to even pick up Triyang until the KAL was over.
Which leads me to other factors… My plan to release the Triyang collection asap after the KAL was part of the greater plan/timeline for the year. Because I’m doing the big awesome exciting collaboration project this fall! (Mentioned back here.) And then, three other opportunities happened to come up for the fall which I couldn’t pass up, because they are all so great and exciting and I’m wanting to branch out and do more third party stuff and diversify my income and all that self-employment stuff… so… I have deadlines now for 6 (SIX) different patterns within the next couple of months. Which is insane, for me. I usually design pretty complex patterns, and I usually average around 1 per month. So yeah.
This is why my Triyang collection plans got further bumped. I really loved the idea of releasing all 4 patterns at once, and I even had a head start – Twou was almost completely designed in like April – but once the KAL was over, and these other deadlines had appeared, there was no way. The Triyang pattern was almost done already, so I powered through that and got it out as quickly as I could, and now I’m focused on all this new excited stuff through early November. And then, I really hope I’ll be able to get those 3 Triyang collection patterns designed and finished extra quickly, since they are all started. Of course, there’s that theme of everything always taking longer than expected, but I’ll just do my best and see how it goes.
One thing I did to speed up the Triyang release was a new system that I think turned out really well, and will hopefully speed up future pattern releases as well. I skipped the entire test-knitting process! The pattern got knit by me (in the case of Triyang, knit over and over and over by me, like 20 times!), and then when it was in its as-finished-as-possible-by-me state, it went to an excellent tech editor who gave extremely thorough notes, found a couple of typos, checked that all my numbers were correct, etc, and now the pattern is all set for public use! (Thanks Chris for the great edit!) The only thing missing is project pages on ravelry when the pattern is brand new, which my patterns usually have from the test knitters; so if some of you fabulous knitters out there make a Triyang and post your projects on ravelry, I will be so happy! There are already a few, which is awesome, including this finished one by Sarah! Love it!!
So that’s a bunch of assorted behind the scenes leethal stuff that’s been going on in my year. As for what you can look forward to for the rest of the year, besides those Triyang patterns around the end of it, more details about that collaboration will be revealed in a couple of months, and I’ll be instagramming peeks at those patterns as I work on them.
I’m designing a hat in this Knitted Wit yarn…
…that you can expect around October 1st:
And then a couple of other things I’m working on won’t be revealed until next year. And speaking of next year, I have some big plans for 2016! A couple of months ago, I brainstormed up an idea that I am SUPER excited about, but now I have to patiently wait until the end of the year to launch it. At least I’ll have plenty of fun work to keep me busy till then!!