Friday, October 21, 2011

A peek behind the scenes: patterns, old school style

Many years ago, I owned a yarn shop. I taught lessons, wrote patterns and sold them and did the whole business thing. I even started a knitting book.  Oh, I even taught myself Adobe Illustrator, in order to provide the illustrations (and LORD was that program S-L-O-W when it first came out).

Anyhow, despite all the knitting stuff I loved, life got in the way, and I turned my hand to other things.  There were times I wondered pretty severely how it was all going to turn out, and some times when I was pretty sure it wasn't going to turn out at all.  However, with great good luck and all due humility, that non-knitting hiatus worked out OK.

In the past few years, the 24/7 stuff has been gradually fading away, and I have able to find the spare moments to come back to knitting.  One day in 2006, I was poking around the internet, and somehow found a knitting blog. Man, that was IT!  I was hooked.  Two days later, TECHknitting blog stated--I think it took me the whole two days to get the first post up. I was so excited, I don't think I slept.

Ever since then, I've been using every spare minute for knitting and drawing and writing.  And lately, the little voices in my head have been whispering to me that I really ought to go back to pattern writing.

The last time I regularly wrote patterns, spread sheets hadn't yet become very popular. (I think the dinosaurs roaming around everywhere got in the way.) So, I learned to do pattern grading and gauge grading all by hand. Now that I've sat down to start pattern writing again, old habits die hard.  I do the illustrations in Adobe Illustrator, I put the pattern together using Adobe InDesign, and know I could do the gauge grading in Excel, but here I am, writing patterns with paper and pencil.  Go figure.

A new TECHknitting pattern is about to come out--a pattern for an Elizabethan-style cap--and I thought a peek behind the scenes at old-school pattern-writing might be interesting, in a time-capsule kind of way.

The pattern will be for sale on Ravelry in about a week.  It's no biggie, it's just a cap, but it is a new direction around chezTECH, a further return to the knitting business that I had to leave behind so long ago.



Anonymous Suzanne said...

Wow! I look forward to that pattern!

October 21, 2011 at 12:29 PM  
Blogger Jani said...

Congratulations! Old dreams die hard, I know - I just started back to school in the fall. :) So glad you're pursuing yours at your own pace.

October 21, 2011 at 12:42 PM  
Blogger Jesse said...

Wonderful! I'm excited to see the pattern.
I've just started trying to design patterns for myself, and honestly couldn't imagine doing it with anything other than pen and paper. And lots of drawings.

October 21, 2011 at 1:11 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Congratulations. I'll look for your pattern on Ravelry.

October 21, 2011 at 1:22 PM  
Blogger Veronik said...

I used to grade with pen and paper, but I now use spreadsheets exclusively - I see it as a way of keeping all of my notes in a single document and it makes it really easy to retrace my steps. Took a little while getting used to it, but really worth it.

October 21, 2011 at 1:30 PM  
Blogger kmkat said...

Oh, good for you! I bet your patterns will be flawlessly test-knitted and proofread (unlike some others).

October 21, 2011 at 1:34 PM  
Anonymous Nathalie said...

I have no doubt whatsoever that this pattern is going to be, not only a very nice pattern, but also a very clever one !
Looking forward to seeing it :-)

October 21, 2011 at 2:54 PM  
Blogger Browneyedbabs said...

I'm so pleased to hear this. I've found your blog so helpful over the past few years I can't wait to see your pattern.

October 21, 2011 at 3:03 PM  
Blogger quinn said...

Really looking forward to your pattern!

October 21, 2011 at 3:49 PM  
Blogger Judy said...

I can relate to the use of 'old-fashion' means for designing. When I'm not knitting, I quilt. There is something very organic and intuitive about taking a pencil to a piece of paper and figuring out all the details. My quilt design program leaves me kind of 'cold'.

October 21, 2011 at 4:08 PM  
Anonymous Elizabeth GM said...

Wow, congratulations! I am very excited to see what your meticulous brain dreams up, and I'll be especially interested to read about your process.

October 21, 2011 at 8:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your stitch count calculations. It always reminds me of balancing chemistry equations when I do that.

October 21, 2011 at 9:02 PM  
OpenID revknits said...

Bravo - good for you. And wasn't Lotus 1-2-3 around in the 1980s?

October 21, 2011 at 11:59 PM  
Blogger Knitting-twitter said...

hi, I am also looking forward to your pattern and thank you for your very informative blog..
all the best from Switzerland,

October 22, 2011 at 5:42 AM  
Blogger Angeluna said...

Exciting news! I went back to see that first post of yours and it was soooooo modest.

October 22, 2011 at 9:53 AM  
Blogger Cindy said...

Ditto to what Browneyedbabs said! I'm really looking forward to seeing it.

October 22, 2011 at 12:31 PM  
Blogger Ness said...

Kudos for jumping back in! I look forward to seeing the cap pattern!

October 22, 2011 at 6:01 PM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

That's so cool! You have a lot to share. I'm eager to see your pattern.

October 23, 2011 at 6:50 AM  
Anonymous AnnP said...

How exciting! Really looking forward to your patterns.
DH recently was gone all day on a fishing trip and I spent those hours blissfully browsing your blog trying out various techniques.

October 24, 2011 at 2:55 PM  
Blogger New York Built said...

I wouldn't know about dinosaurs...I guess I was using VisiCalc. You force feeding geese to make froi gras. My face was muzzled to a small flickering screen.

Hmmmnn...nothing has changed, has it?

Please make more great knowledge. I love how you edit, then publish. Wish more people did the same. (Sigh!)

December 12, 2011 at 8:48 PM  

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