The continuing life of a design

As someone who is very new to knitting design, I have learned some interesting and unexpected things about the process.

The most recent example of Lesson Learned: You might think you’re done with a design once you put the PDF up for distribution, but you’re not. What else is in store (so to speak)?

Take, for example, my Rodeo Kid pattern, which I completed in late November. It has seen only modest interest – which I’m hoping is mainly because I haven’t had the time to really promote it. Still there’s some work that any committed designer needs to do:

1. List the pattern in several different places (blog, Ravelry, Etsy, etc.).

2. Keep tabs on orders and respond to them quickly. Keep track of who orders so that you can send them updates to the pattern.

3. Keep records of money spent developing the pattern and money earned selling it. You will need this for tax reasons, but also so that you can keep track of how much profit you are really making with your designs.

4. Promote your design (blog about it, show it to your LYS owner, advertise it on Ravelry or other venues).

All of that I expected. But there are other parts that I hadn’t anticipated:

5. See if your LYS will let you teach a class based on the design. Gauge in Austin has very generously let me do this, starting on February 7. It’s going to be a multi-part class, so there’s lots of prep work to be done, like deciding how to break up the elements of the design, how to illustrate them. I’ll also need to prepare swatches so that I can be ready to demonstrate different techniques.

6. Think about expanding the audience. Since I’m not very practiced at designing for multiple sizes, I released the original design in just one size (18 mo – 2 years). I’ve decided to knit up a second, larger (3-4 yo) model and add the instructions for that to the pattern. Why? A couple of reasons: I’m not entirely pleased with the photos that I’ve got of my original prototype, and I don’t know that many kids who are the right size for that sweater. I’ve got a 4-year-old on staff, so I can get better shots if he’s in the picture. Also, the expanded size range will make the design more appealing.

I’m sure this is all a very back-asswards way of going about things, but for now I’m all about the fumbling through.

Speaking of the 3-4 year-old version, here’s what I’ve knit up so far:

Which ribbon should I use to line the button bands? I’m leaning toward the one on the right, but I’d be glad for your input.

Deborah Newton is a rock star

A couple of weeks ago, I ordered myself a slew of knitwear design books. The one that has totally captivated me is Deborah Newton’s Designing Knitwear.

This is SUCH a fabulous book. Newton spells out in meticulous details just exactly how she goes about planning and executing her own designs, where she goes for inspiration, how she translates that into knitwear, how she works with yarn… on and on.

Now, her design aesthetic is completely different from mine. I don’t think I’d ever make any of the projects from the book. But the general principles of how to get from zero to your own design are spot on.

So, now that WordPress has added a cool poll feature, let me ask you this: