2.23.2017

Design Your Biz: Tech Editing

A couple weeks ago I talked about test and sample knitting. In that post, I touched on the importance of tech editing, but today I'd like to dive a little deeper.

Tech editing - why does it matter?

As knitters and crocheters we all like our patterns error-free, right?

A good tech editor is your best defense against errors. No matter how good you think you are at finding the misplaced comma or that k2 that should be a p2, it's nearly impossible to perfectly edit your own work. In the grand scheme of things, a tech editor isn't that expensive - I'd say around $20-30/hour. For someone like me that self-publishes accessories patterns, many times it takes less than an hour for a good tech editor to go through my pattern.

Does stuff occasionally still get missed? Of course. We're all human. But without a good tech editor the patterns would contain far more errors.

To take it a step further, I personally think it's a good idea to switch tech editors every so often, every few years or so. Much like it's hard to check your own work because you know what you were trying to say, I think after awhile a tech editor gets used to your style and what you were trying to say too. It doesn't mean they are doing a bad job, it's just being human. :)

So, if you are thinking about posting that pattern on Ravelry (and I think you should, being a designer is the best job), make sure you find a tech editor! Tech editors advertise in the designer groups on Ravelry all the time! Trust me, it's worth the $30 you'll spend to not have to answer questions about your pattern because it was confusing/wrong.

2.22.2017

(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday

A sweater pack from Done Roving Yarns has arrived on my doorstep. Hmm, what will it become?
Sweater Pack from Done Roving Yarns

Hint: It will NOT be a sweater. :)

2.17.2017

Friday WIP Round-Up

Honesty time: for the last few months, I had lost my knitting mojo. I don't know why it happens, but I was burned out on yarn. That sounds absolutely crazy when I say it out loud (or type it into a blog post). But, anyway, the knitting mojo has returned and I've been starting all the things. Now that Sendero and Vauhti have been released, I've been working on my next two self-publish designs. I feel like I self-published so little in 2016, and I'm determined not to have that happen again this year.

The Wooly Wonka Fibers shawl is coming along. I'm almost done with the first ball of yarn!
I probably would have been done with the shawl already, but then I got a sudden urge to cast on for a new project. So this is a cowl design with some Into the Whirled yarn I picked up at Rhinebeck. I can't put it down!
These patterns should be out in the next few weeks. I'm having so much fun working on some new self-published designs!

What WIPs are you working on?

2.16.2017

Vauhti

Yesterday brought another new pattern - Vauhti!

I love the shape of this cowl. You start by working the piece flat (and, you could stop there and simply wear it as a stole!) and add a small seam along one edge to "cowl-i-fy" it.
I'll be wearing this one all spring I'm sure. The sample is knit in The Fibre Company Canopy Worsted. It's some of the softest yarn I've ever used. It's amazing!
This stitch pattern gives me life. I love the little bit of texture that is created by the decreases in the center of the leaves.

As always, I've included the instructions for the charts. Lace cowls for everyone!

Happy knitting!

2.10.2017

Sendero

Earlier this week, I released my first self-published pattern of 2017. This is Sendero:


The Moebius is something I’ve been avoiding in my knitting for over a decade. A crazy cast-on, a super long circular needle – it all seemed so scary. Add a twist to your knitting on purpose? Yeah, no thanks.

But it’s time to face my fears, and maybe yours too. If I can hike the twisting and winding Bright Angel Trail at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, I certainly handle a little twist in my knitting!


Me on the Bright Angel trail last September. I was terrified almost the entire time, but I did it! :) 

 
Since it was my first time knitting a Moebius, I decided to keep the pattern pretty simple. once you complete the ribbing, it's a simple lace pattern that looks pretty in the Done Roving DK Gradient Transitions yarn.


Now that I have the Moebius figured out, you can bet there will be more Moebius patterns in my future. It was so fun to knit!

2.09.2017

Test Knitting vs. Sample Knitting

Test Knitting. Sample Knitting. Two things I find very important as a designer!

But, what's the difference and why use one or the other?

Test knitting is just that - a knitter tests the pattern. They knit the pattern as written, and usually use their own yarn. They provide notes to the designer within a deadline and they get to keep the finished item. Test knitters typically are not paid. They receive the pattern for free (and many designers compensate them with additional free patterns). Some designers might use test knitters instead of a tech editor. That's not what I do, though, I personally find a tech editor to be a non-negotiable item when it comes to patterns. A tech editor, in addition to checking all the pattern math, will also edit things like format and grammar. Testers catch a lot of these things, but I don't rely on them for that. So when do I use test knitters? When I'm working on something new - like a new shawl shape or something that I haven't designed before. For example, when I designed Bandwagon, I had a group of test knitters for that shawl. It was a new shape for me, and I wanted to make sure that the pattern made sense to everyone!


Sample knitting is a little bit different. Sample knitters are paid (most designers pay by the yard knit) and use yarn provided by the designer. They also knit the sample exactly as written. They do not get to keep the finished item (although, in a few cases, I have returned samples to my sample knitters after a while - there are a lot of shawls around here). For me, I'm using sample knitters most often for the pieces in my books. There's no way I can knit all those things. I try to give my sample knitters projects that are pretty straight-forward and are the easier knits. It doesn't always work out that way though. There was the great sample knitting disaster of Sock-Yarn Shawls II, where my friend, Jenni, had to re-knit the edge of the Harvest shawl three times because I could not get the math right for how much yarn was going to be used. She does still speak to me. :)

From Sock-Yarn Shawls II, Martingale & Company, 2015. Photo by Brent Kane

Lots of knitters enjoy doing test and/or sample knitting. You can search groups on Ravelry to learn more on how to get in on the test/sample knitting game. And, if you're interested in doing any sample or test knitting for me, be sure to join my Ravelry group. When I need a new sample knitter or I'm doing a test knit on a new design, that's where I post!

2.03.2017

FO Friday: I Hopped on the Bandwagon

Much like when I joined the bandwagon and designed Bandwagon, my first asymmetrical triangle shawl design, I have hopped on the messy bun hat bandwagon.
Knitting Like Crazy: Messy Bun Hat

Did I write up a pattern for it? Nope! It's just a hat where you eliminate the last couple of rows and bind off so there's a hole for your messy bun. Really, no pattern needed.
Knitting Like Crazy: Messy Bun Hat

Ever since these hats blew up on Facebook, I've been getting requests to make them. And while knitting finished items isn't a part of my business plan, I'm happy to make a hat or two for close friends who are knit-worthy. :)

Have you jumped on the messy bun hat bandwagon?

2.01.2017

Wooly Wonka WIP Wednesday

This week I'm working on laying out the patterns for the cowls I showed off last week. Now it's on to the next project. I'm really enjoying this time of working on some new self-published patterns. I feel like it's been awhile.

I picked up some Wooly Wonka Fibers fingering weight yarn a couple months ago. It's screaming to be a shawl. The Nimue Sock yarn is 50% superwash merino/50% silk. Such a beautiful blend for a shawl. Last night, I made some progress on it at knit night.
Knitting Like Crazy: Shawl In Progress

Here's the detail of the lace so far:
Knitting Like Crazy: Shawl In Progress

My plan is to start with smaller lace patterns and move to larger and larger lace motifs as I work the shawl. It's something a little different for me, and I think it will make an interesting top-down crescent shawl.

It's Wednesday! What are you working on?

1.27.2017

Design Your Biz: Rejection

I've been touching on the subject of rejection a bit in this Design Your Biz series, but today it's time to dedicate a whole post to it.

Rejection - in this business, most of us experience it. Sure, you can just self-publish all your designs, but many of us have to diversify our income streams, and that often means looking for third-party work, whether that's with magazines, yarn companies, or writing books.

At first, the rejection would really get me down. I'd ask myself why in the world am I doing this to myself, why do I suck, etc. The negative self-talk was really bringing me down.

Then I changed my attitude.

Just because I got rejected from a magazine or whatever, doesn't mean that my idea is bad. It's just not the right fit, right now. Maybe they received two submissions that were similar and had to pick one. Maybe they are publishing something similar in an upcoming issue. Maybe it's just a matter of there was a lot of good stuff and you just missed the cut. There are tons of reasons for my submission not being accepted, and, most likely, I'll never find out why it was rejected. Which leads me to my next point.....

Resist the urge to start a dialog about why your design wasn't accepted. If you have an excellent working relationship with the company, you might be able to get away with asking for feedback, but most of the time, you're just going to get a canned letter of "we had lots of great designs and couldn't pick them all." It's better just to move on.

Once your design submission has been rejected, what do you do? Often times, I'll submit the same exact idea for the next submission call that comes along where it might be a good fit. Occasionally, I'll tweak things if I think I can do something to make it better, but a lot of times it's about just changing some of the text and sending it along to the next company. But be sure to wait until you get that acceptance or rejection email! You don't want to be in a situation where you submitted the same idea two different places and they both get accepted. One at a time for your awesome idea is the way to go!

Sometimes, I'll self-publish the design after it's been rejected. That's what happened with my Wallingford pattern. And, guess what? It ended up being better in the long run, I made way more money self-publishing this design than I would have from a third-party contract. It's still one of my best sellers today!
Walllingford by Jen Lucas

Just remember to keep your head up. Rejection happens in this business all the time. Keep going and you'll be on your way to building a successful pattern business!

1.25.2017

(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday

Lots of blocking has been happening around here.



Patterns coming soon.


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