Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Is "Free" Yarn Sufficient Payment

From left to right: Mountain Colors Twizzle (Loganberry),
Unnamed Cashmere (400 yards, 2 ounces, pink),
Spirit Trail Fiberworks (449 yard Bombyx silk lace weight, Scottish Thistle)
Yesterday I announced the beginning of test knitting for my new pattern, Edgewood Sweater. As part of the test knit, and hopefully to make up for not being able to pay actual cash money to testers, I said I'd be giving away three skeins of yarn. I hope that's not something that someone takes offense to.

I'm ultra-highly sensitive to causing offense. This often causes me to offend randomly. And that frustrates me greatly.

I know that all knitters are great stash collectors; I'm a great stash collector. So I definitely have extra yarn that, while it's beautiful and I love it--even covet it--I'm never going to use it. I actually can't think of anything better than giving it away. Giving away yarn makes me very very happy.

And if I can get something out of it, too, so much the better.

I hope that one of these three skeins will help sweeten the deal and encourage knitters to sign up to test Edgewood. Reminder, you can read more on yesterday's post, or in this thread on Ravelry.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Step Three: Test the Pattern

Sleeve
A sweater sleeve in process
Wait, what were Step One and Step Two?

If you've been following me on Instagram (and, really, why not? It's harmless and I sometimes post pictures of pretty yarn and even other snapshots like that time I bleached my hair to orange), you will have noticed that I've been working on a sweater design. I've knit sweaters before; I've even knit sweaters without patterns and just made it up as I go, taking measurements and fitting the sweater to the recipient. But this is the first time I've set out to design a sweater from start to finish with the end goal of self-publishing the pattern.

It's a big proposition. I'm always kind of amazed when I'm working on a pattern that there are designers that churn out pattern after pattern and they all seem to be amazing and beautiful. I'd love to know their trick. So far, my only trick seems to be "let's design a sweater and just throw different stitches and yarns at it and see what happens."

So now to the sweater I've been working on. It's striped, short sleeve and has a loose cowl neck that, hopefully, is flattering on a wide variety of bodies. I wanted a cowl neck that is "built in" to the sweater front and not a traditional pick-up-and-knit cowl neck collar. I've seen this type of design on a lot of t-shirts and I think it's very flattering.

For the yarn, I pulled four balls of Juniper Moon Farm Zooey DK, a linen/cotton blend that I had purchased for a different project that just never materialized. I like the three muted colors I had on hand and wanted stripes, something less traditional than just plain stripes. The way these stripes work out, there's no need to cut the yarn and it creates an interesting shadow-type effect. I think it would also be very sharp in darker colors as well, though I'd be tempted, personally, to keep the colors close in tone so the stripes aren't the main feature.

Another feature of the pattern is that the yarn is knit at a looser gauge than usual. It's a DK or light worsted yarn but I knit at a gauge of 4 stitches/inch. It has a nice gentle hand and, at the slight positive ease, skims the body lightly.

I've been working with a tech editor and she's definitely whipping me into shape, or, really, the pattern. It's a lot of number wrangling and she's a whiz. So I'm finally ready to start finding test knitters for the pattern.

In an ideal world, I'd love to line up test knitters, send them yarn and, in exchange for their expertise and work, pay them. Unfortunately, it isn't an ideal world. Yet. It's coming. So I'll be running the test knit through a group on Ravelry. I will offer any of my self-published patterns (literally, any number of them) to any test knitter that completes the knit and all that complete the test knit will also be entered in a drawing to win one of three awesome skeins of yarn. I'll go stash diving and pull 'em out -- it involves me going into a room I've been trying to avoid because it desperately needs cleaning and organizing -- but I can promise at least one will be cashmere. I don't pass along mediocre yarn.

I'm looking forward to meeting and working with new and fun knitters. Please join in below, or see the post in "The Test Pool" group on Ravelry!

Edgewood Sweater




Bust Circumference
32''
34''
36''
38''
40''
42''
44''
46''
48''
50''
52''
54''
Sweater Circumference
34''
36''
38''
40''
42''
44''
46''
48''
50''
52''
54''
56''
Color A
yards
470
470
490
530
590
640
690
730
760
810
860
890

meters
430
430
450
490
540
590
640
670
700
750
790
820
Color B
yards
140
140
150
160
180
190
210
220
230
250
260
270

meters
130
130
140
150
170
180
200
210
220
230
240
250
Color C
yards
140
140
150
160
180
190
210
220
230
250
260
270

meters
130
130
140
150
170
180
200
210
220
230
240
250