I’m just starting to work on two lines of patterns plus a serialized book. I’ve almost always done whole books before, and some designs for other authors’ books or magazines. But whatever publication a design will be in, the process of writing and checking a knitting pattern in the same. Here are some thoughts on that topic, cross posted from Cheryl Potter’s Potluck Yarn blog, where I also write from time to time.
Sometimes we forget how much work is involved with being a knitwear designer or an author. We dream of having a quiet life and sitting around knitting with our favorite yarns or writing in a beautiful notebook with an expensive fountain pen. But that’s only the first step in the process. Getting a manuscript and patterns ready for publication is a challenge, even for those of us who do it for love.
Here’s a brief overview of the pattern writing process. The text in ALL CAPS is Cheryl’s additions, specific to the patterns for the Potluck Yarn Trilogy.
1) Wake up at 3am with a brilliant idea -
THE KNITTING WITCHES ARE TWELVE, BUT REALLY THEY ARE THIRTEEN.
2) Turn the idea into knitting -
*Chart pattern and make notes
Knit a swatch
Repeat from * as many times as needed needed. SO, NOW ANYTHING WITH A REPEAT OF TWELVE WOULD BE THIRTEEN, PLUS THE LAST CHAPTER OF THE BOOK NEEDS TO BE REWRITTEN AS WELL, ALONG WITH MANY COPY WRITING CHANGES NEEDING TO HAPPEN THROUGHOUT.
3) Write a pattern and have a sample of the garment knitted up -
**Answer questions and make corrections to the pattern as the garment is made
Repeat from ** as many times as needed ESPECIALLY WHEN WE REFER TO THE TWELVE MEANING THIRTEEN AND WHEN EACH OF THE TWELVE HAVE A PATTERN–NOW WE NEED AN ADDITIONAL PATTERN TO PUT THROUGH THIS PROCESS WITH THE SAME NUMBER OF ASTERISKS AND REPEATS, ONLY FOR THE THIRTEENTH TIME.
4) ***Have the pattern tech edited -
Revise the charts and patterns as needed
Have the pattern worked up by a test knitter
If there are problems, repeat from *** as many times as needed MAKE SURE THESE PATTERNS WORK FOR ALL OF THE CHARACTERS AND THE COLORWAYS KEEPING IN MIND THAT NOW THERE IS AN ADDITIONAL CHARACTER AND COLORWAY TO FURTHER COMPLICATE AND LENGTHEN THE PROCESS.
5) Plan and schedule a photo shoot -
Hire models if needed
Take photos of the garment DON’T FORGET THERE ARE NOW MORE GARMENTS THAN YOU HAD PLANNED ON–ALLOW ADDITIONAL TIME AND MAYBE HIRE ANOTHER MODEL.
6) Make sure the yarn is still available -
If not rep from * as many times as needed CONSIDERING YOU NOW HAVE EVEN MORE PATTERNS AND GARMENTS, THIS MAY TAKE MUCH LONGER THAN YOUR ORIGINAL ESTIMATE AND YOU MAY BE UNHAPPY AT THIS POINT THAT YOU HAD SUCH A BRILLIANT IDEA AT ALL.
7) Have the pattern proof read -
Have a graphic designer put the pattern into a fancy template
****Have the pattern proof read again
Create PDFs and/or have patterns printed IF YOU FORGOT ABOUT THE ADDITIONAL CHARACTER, PATTERNS AND COLORWAYS TOO BAD FOR YOU BECAUSE THIS WILL TURN INTO ERRATA WHICH WILL BE A FULL TIME JOB FOR A NEW EMPLOYEE YOU HAVE NOT HIRED YET — SEE COMMENTS BELOW …
7) Sell the patterns -
Find errors and post errata. Repeat from **** as many times as needed TIME AND MONEY *** REPEAT FROM ANYWHERE AS MANY TIMES AS NEEDED
And, finally, for your viewing pleasure, here’s a visual map of the process from my journal: