Tuesday, October 8, 2013

You're a Star!

Way back since the beginning of time (or a couple of months ago, if you're really keeping track), I started playing around with the Estonian star stitch and trying different variations. One thing led to another, one idea to another and bang, here we are. I hope my obsession is finally over.

Three new patterns!
I have a confession. I'm not a trained designer of anything. I don't think I'm a prodigy or have any incredible talent that must be shared with the world. I'm not inspired by the falling leaves or the change in seasons or how people are interconnected and emotions and blahblahblah. I just like to knit things, I get ideas and sometimes I write those ideas down, mostly because I think they're good ideas and that someone else might like to make them, too.

I was thrilled to learn that two of my cowls were recommended to a group on Ravelry that was having a unisex cowl knit-along. I was following along, though not knitting with the group because I have too many projects already, and loved seeing the finished projects. Interestingly, I offered the two cowls for free through a promotion on Ravelry and, though the promotion was redeemed almost 350 times, only a handful of cowls were posted as finished projects. It's still a milestone moment for me.
Super sneak preview

Sidebar, one other milestone - I sent off a finished project that was accepted to be published in a new book by a big publisher. Now I just wait to see if it was successful or if I have utterly failed. There doesn't seem to be any middle ground in my mind.

As I design more, or rather, write more designs down so that other knitters can have them, I find that I don't have time for every stage, especially the knitting/re-knitting/re-knitting/knitting-again. I have several awesome knitter friends that I know I can ask to knit for me but then I feel like I'm taking advantage, especially if I want to put a deadline on a project.

So here's what my current design process team looks like:
  • Me: of course
  • Tech editor: the awesome Eleanor
  • Test knitters: Jana, Pat, Zen, Sarah, Sarah, Marilyn, Gloria -- all the best knitters I know
  • Sample knitters: see above list of best knitters
  • Pattern lay out and design: me, again, but not my strong suit and should definitely farm this out
The dream team:
  • Everything stays the same but I pay test and sample knitters
Why would I want to pay sample knitters and test knitters? In my opinion, the services provided are two different things, but each equally important. Test knitters work the pattern according to the instructions and give feedback based on knitability and clarity of instructions, keeping the finished object. Sample knitters can do the same thing while also giving me a finished sample of the pattern I can use. A paycheck of some kind would also give an air of professionalism.

Everyone has been awesome so far and I have no bad experiences. I want to reward everyone for what they do for me. So far, the best I've been able to do is give yarn and pattern to a sample knitter and get the project back. That's worked great. I want more.

Ridgeview Infinity Scarf
Wow I got way off track. Estonian star stitch. The more I work with it and the more I see/say it, the more I'm not entirely sure I'm being 100% accurate. (A quick Google search led me to this article, which makes me think I might be okay.)

I have four new patterns -- 4! -- in the works and almost ready for you. Two wide scarves, one infinity scarf and one cowl. I'll be introducing you to them over the coming posts, but first up is Ridgeview Infinity Scarf.

Ridgeview starts with a crochet cast on and is knitted around in one giant circle with balanced sections of Estonian star stitch with an interesting slipped rib variation that gives the scarf alternating body and drape. I used Brooks Farm Surrey, a 50/50 blend of alpaca and wool, and the color is just amazing. I love how the star stitch is highlighted by the flashes of undyed white yarn.

Ridgeview Infinity Scarf is matched with the Ridgeview Cowl, a smaller version that will be knitted up much faster. Both will be available in a couple weeks. I'm very excited by them both and I hope that you'll enjoy them, too.

I'll release the Ridgeview duo as individual patterns and as part of the e-book that will include the two other patterns. More on them.... later!