I spent the first 12 years of my working life with big companies where, sometimes, getting money for training required a lot of begging, budget writing, proposal creation, general jolly-ing along and then finally 50 signatures from people who had all hidden their pens. That was not my favourite way of doing things so for TLYC, I would like that, as long as there is budget for more yarn and keeping the lights on, there will also be enough for learning more about yarn and knitting!
So, when I saw Joeli’s email about her Designer’s Day Out, I thought it would be a great investment for TLYC … ok, so no, that’s a lie. I actually thought ‘That would be awesome’ so I booked it, happy that I didn't need to justify it nor need 50 signatures!
I have wanted to design patterns for a while. Nothing too complicated as I am a great believer in letting lovely yarns do the talking and to be honest, up until the weekend, I wasn’t sure I was capable of anything more than basic patterns (doesn’t everyone love a good, completely unfounded, self-limiting belief?!). So it was off to Manchester for a day out with lovely knitting folk. It was hosted by Joeli Kelly from Joeli Creates & Kate Heppell, Editor at Knit Now (see, I had to go!) and split into two halves!
My 'first' pattern, before the course ; ) still pending publication!
The first part of the day was with Joeli, covering the steps for taking an idea through to being a finished pattern. The first thing I realised, and no prizes for this statement, is that pattern design takes time and doesn’t happen in minutes! I know it’s obvious but some part of me was convinced that there was some magic in it, that designers, through some divine talent, knew what stitches went well with what yarn and they would mix them together in minutes to create the gorgeous patterns we see.
Of course there is talent but supported by hard work and I like when hard work is a way to get somewhere because hard work is something open to everyone even if the basic natural talent might not be! In addition to this magical revelation, Joeli covered all the details around knowing yarns, learning about how they work/feel, what stitches they work with, building a base of stitches, size knowledge and many other things that it was great to hear directly from someone who designs and edits knitting patterns! She also reassured us that being an amazing sketch artist is not essential ... much relief!
My first attempt at a schematic ... legs traced, other scribbles hand drawn ... the reason I fear sketching ; )
The second part was with Kate and covered putting together submissions for knitting magazines and other publishers and staging for knitwear photographs. I had a little swoon when I saw what was the first submission for Karie Westermann’s Scollay cardigan because I have knit it and it was brill to see how it evolved between the first submission and the final pattern! One thing that has put me off is that I am not able to draw, at all but but both Kate & Joeli dispelled the notion that that is essential. Kate even introduced the idea of a Croquis … well, that was a revelation! Search for them on Google… but do try not to buy all the books with them at once! No Da Vinci skills required.
Photos are something very dear to me, my life’s mission at the moment is getting the colours of yarns in photos as accurate as possible so it was a relief to hear that everyone, including professional photographers, sometimes struggle to get colours like red and teal to behave themselves in photos!
This is the same skein of 'red' yarn, both photos taken seconds apart, with a minor reposition of the camera!
I also met some fab folk whose stuff I now regularly nose through! Vanessa (@knitmedesigns) who sample knits for all the fair and fine in the land, the lovely Karen who is one of the technical editors at WY Spinners (star struck much!), Sarah from N0rth Child who designs gorgeous jumpers in Lettlopi yarn and Zoe Protac who designs lovely crochet things & lots of other lovely folk! And of course Kate & Joeli, in case I hadn’t already mentioned that ; )!
So it was as awesome as I thought it was going to be! The tools and techniques to get the job done & a push from people who know what they are talking about! And it worked! Small steps but I have finished my first knitting pattern which will be in my next blog post. It’s my JK Skinny Scarf because all the 'cool' blogs say skinny scarves are on trend at the moment ;p! Blog post with that included as soon as I get a photo of the finished item that doesn’t make a show of the course I just took! No pressure hey!
A little preview!
If you have want to know more about pattern designing, Joeli is currently doing a 12 part email course in designing – you can sign up on her website. Want to see what inspires Kate? Her Pinterest boards are full of gorgeous inspiration!