Monday, March 2, 2015

How to Write A Knitting Pattern and Release it for Sale (Part 3/3)

Hey guys! Alright, we've reached part 3. The grand finale!
Today I'll be highlighting key ways to get your pattern out there. You've finished you pattern and perfected it, now you need to spread the word!
The best way to do this is Ravelry. If you don't already have an account, you must create one. It's by far the best way to get your pattern recognized. You will also need to set up a pro account if you wish to sell your pattern (find this under the "pro" button on the Rave homepage).

How to post a pattern on Ravelry:
First, click on "My Notebook" in the top left corner. Then, select "contributions" from the list on the left side. Then find the words "Add a pattern to Ravelry" and click the "do it" button.
Then select "add this pattern to ravelry".
Now it's simply a process of filling out the required information. Things such as tags, attributes, gauge, and size will need to be filled out.

When taking photographs for your project, it's important that you take them seriously. If you're using an iphone camera, make certain you take it in nice lighting (this results in the best picture quality). Perhaps a few feet from a window. I also find (and I don't know if there's any science behind this) that the camera within the Instagram app seems to take a better photo, so try that out if you're having trouble.
Treat this photography as if it were art meant to hang in your living room. Try to use a very simple background, white is always beautiful, and display your item in a way that shows it off best. If it's a sweater, don't make the featured photo a close-up of the pattern on the sleeve. Take a nice featured picture that shows your audience the main function of what you've created.

When you reach this step while posting your pattern to Ravelry, there's a few things to keep in mind:
1. Don't get too Wordy
It's important that you don't have a description that's 10 pages long. Keep it short and sweet, hitting only on the main points.
2. Sound Enthusiastic
Keep your tone happy and upbeat towards what you've created. Get people excited about casting on.
3. Extra Info
Include anything the reader needs to know before starting. Restate the size(s), gauge, yarn choice, and needle size.
4. Include a Story
A lot of people (including myself) love reading the story of how a pattern came to be. You don't have to write a novel, just jot down a few sentences about your inspiration, or any fun moments that make have happened along the way.

Now, you're ready to release! Once you've hit the publish button, go to your pro account (under the "pro" tab) and hit "manage store".
Then find the drop down box next to "add pattern to store" and select the pattern you just put out. Click the "add pattern to store" button. Then, enable pattern store sales, and type in the desired price. Then, scroll down and browse for your PDF.
Then go back up to the top and click Activate Product. Voila! You're all done!

Congrats! You're now a knitting designer! Well done!

I hope you enjoyed this series, be on the lookout for more tutorials like this in the future. :)
Until next week,

P.S. I've decided to move my posting day to Monday. It just works better with my schedule. Thank you for your understanding!

Monday, February 23, 2015

How to Write A Knitting Pattern and Release it for Sale (Part 2/3)

Hello all!
Last week I wrote the first part of this series on how to develop an idea and begin your design. Today, I'm going to be covering the process of formatting your pattern, including all the little technical details that make a pattern look professional.

The following bullet points list out things to include in your pattern. I type mine up in Microsoft Word, and then when I go to save it: File > Save > Save as type: (drop down box) > PDF

Let's jump right in!

Introduction (optional):
You may choose to add a little intro in the beginning of your pattern. This is similar to a product description on a clothing website. This could include your inspiration, why someone would want to make your pattern, design elements, and finished size(s). Basically get your readers so excited that they can't wait to cast on.

Pretty self explanatory, but in this section you'll want to list out everything you used for your project. Include the exact yarn you used including yarn weight, the brand, the colorway, and the grams/ounces in one skein of said yarn. Also, include the needles you used. Add the size in both numerical American value and in millimeters. If you need stitch markers, add that, and how many. Also mention handles, buttons, zippers, or any other add-on you will need to finish the project.

Here, you add anything else someone would need to know before starting. Discuss any unusual stitches, gauge, or necessary yarn put-up (if a center-pull ball is needed like for two-at-a-time socks). If there are any new techniques you've developed, you should mention that here. If you've taken pictures to guide people through the steps, place those at the end of the PDF after the pattern. Simply make people aware that there is an unusual stitch needed, and let them know about the picture tutorial at the end. If you add the picture tutorial here, it can scare people away before they even start! So just inform people of it, and move on.

The main event. Here, you write out your pattern. Start out with "Cast on X" and write out all your notes in a simple and clean, row/round format. When you're finished, give your pattern to an expert knitter friend to try out. I say expert simply because you want someone who will be able to pick out flaws and inconsistencies. A beginner may just follow the pattern blindly and give you the A-OK regardless of what you wrote. It does not matter whether or not you are going to be charging for this pattern; it is crucial that you double triple quadruple check that the pattern is correct before releasing it. Errors are annoying and confusing, if you've ever come across one you know this, and the last thing you want is for your audience to feel these things while working through your pattern.

-Make note of what kind of cast on you used. Long tail? German? Does it matter?

-Don't just say "increase" or "decrease". Choose a type of increase that works best for the project visually, and stick with it. (knit front back, yarn over, make 1, etc) Same with decreases... Always use knit 2 together when it would look good for the stitch to lean right, and slip slip knit when you need the stitch to lean left. If it doesn't matter, use knit 2 together since it's more familiar.

-If you used short rows, make it clear. Tell people to turn their work, and make it blatantly obvious.

-When explaining techniques (which you should always always do--never assume people know a technique), make it as clean as possible. Imagine you're talking someone through it who's sitting right in front of you. Think about when you were a beginner, and what words would have made this technique click in your head. If the technique is very unheard of, or you developed it, you must, in addition to step-by-step actions, add pictures. Make them simple and small. Perhaps put them into a collage in chronological order.

Editing and Perfecting:
Once you've finished writing your pattern and think it's ready for release, give it a day or two and then go back and read through it. This will make a bunch of little errors stand out. If your pattern is very long and has a bunch of steps, I would suggest using the testing pool group on Ravelry. There, you will find people who will make your item and test your pattern for free. This will really fine-tune your pattern and make it absolutely perfect for release.

Next week, I'll teach you how to release your new pattern on Ravelry or your blog, as well as techniques to get an eye-grabbing featured photo and a captivating, exciting description.
See you then!

-I apologize for posting this a couple days late! I'm still getting used to the system of weekly blogging, please forgive me while I get my rhythm down. :)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

How to Write A Knitting Pattern and Release it for Sale (Part 1/3)

A lot of people have the ability to design knitting patterns and don't realize it. If you know even the very basics of knitting, and have read and followed a pattern, you can do it yourself. But how?
I'm going to be doing a 3 part series on just how to do this. This week, I'll talk about an idea and developing it. Next week and the week after I'll be discussing formatting the pattern and putting out the pattern on Ravelry, respectively.

1. The Brain Storm:
First, you need an idea. When in this stage, I always try to think of a way to "re-invent the wheel". Try to come up with something that the knitting world needs. The universe has plenty of lace shawls, but what makes yours different? What can make it stand out on a page of search results?
Try any of the following:
~Take an element from one craft (crochet, tatting, quilting) and put it into knitting
~Take an element from nature
~Use an unusual shape
~Find a common problem and fix it with a knitting pattern
~Create a pattern recreating a fashion trend

Take into account the trends, and what people are itching to make regarding the season. Don't put out a bulky weight sweater in July, very few people will be interested (in the Northern Hemisphere at least!).

Take inspiration from everything around you in order to find this different, unique twist. Look at trendy patterns, textures, yarns, and techniques. Stalk Pinterest and clothing websites. Mash all these elements together and you have your pattern idea.

It's tough to keep from envisioning of a pattern you saw last week. Resist this urge. Develop a picture of something unique and your very own, even if you don't know how to execute it quite yet. You'll get there in the next step. Dream up a picture of this item. You can sketch it, or just store it in your mind. Just make sure it's clear enough to develop in the next step

2. The Doing
Once you have a mental picture of your idea, it's time to get down and dirty with your design. Pick a yarn to highlight your idea. Don't choose a variegated yarn for a lace design! Use something that'll make your design stand out on a page, but not so loud that people are turned away by the color. Your goal with the color(s) is to make people say, "Wow, I want that."

Pick a needle size to give you the density of fabric you design. For example, don't use a size 0 for a lace weight shawl. In order to get the flowy material, you'll need to use a size 5 or 7. However, if your design uses lace weight yarn and you want it to be dense and tight, go right ahead and use that size 0! It's totally up to you.

Keep in mind that yarn can pretty much do anything. If there's a new technique that you need to make your design work, create it! Play with how you hold the yarn and loop it around your needles. Think hard on how to create whatever new technique you need. Take notes and pictures so you don't forget how you executed whatever you developed.

Cast on however many and work away. Treat your yarn like clay and go crazy. You can write instructions for anything. If you can do it, so can your audience. However, try to eliminate as many extra, needless steps as you can.

As you work out your design, make notes like crazy regarding what you're doing. This doesn't have to be in "proper pattern format". Simply jot down numbers and words that will be more than enough to put the pattern together later.

If you have developed a new technique, take step-by-step pictures. Keep them simple and clean, with a white background and good lighting. If you're going to be charging for this pattern, it's important that these pictures are clear. Treat them like art!

Next week, I'll put out instructions on how to format your pattern and how to communicate instructions to your audience.
Until next week,

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Knit Football Beanie Free Pattern

Watch football for any length of time, and you’ll see this very hat being sported on the sidelines… Or the non-knitter’s version at least! And even though football's over for the year, winter certainly isn't!
These hats, topped with a pom-pom, are very popular among players and fans alike. You can knit it using your high school, college, or favorite national team’s colors; or just play with color however you like.
This pattern includes instructions on how to make a sideline beanie of your very own. The stripe pattern is the exact same sequence as you would find on the ones you see on TV. Also included are directions to make the pom-pom, and a little knit-as-you-go trick to create a neat, tidy, folded hem on the brim without sewing.
This hat is knit in the round, with a special reverse stockinette brim, but there’s not a single purl stitch required. You will need 3 colors of lace weight yarn, but don’t worry, it’s thick, warm, and knits up quickly using the technique in the pattern.
You can also check out the Ravelry page for this pattern if you would like a free PDF download!

Ok, without further ado, here's the pattern!

Knit Football Sideline Beanie

50g each of three colors of lace weight yarn (I used one natural colored 100g skein, divided it into three 33g skeins, dyed two of them, and it was enough to finish the hat. However, if you don’t dye, 50g skeins are much easier to find than 33g skeins! Just know that you’ll have plenty left over.)
Size 1.5 (2.5 mm) 16 inch circular needles
Stitch marker
Regarding the ever-so-popular football beanies, I noticed that most of them use two colors (the team colors), and white. I used green for color A, yellow for color B, and white for color C.
If you print out this pattern, you can use the boxes next to the instructions to check off your progress.
Throughout the entire pattern, you’ll be holding two strands of lace weight yarn together. This will give you the ability to get the marled look in certain stripes of the hat. However, in order to hold yarn double in the solid stripes, you will need center pull balls in order to pull from both ends.
The beginning 11 rounds will be folded behind and tacked down on the reverse stockinette side after the body of the hat is finished. This gives a nice, firm, smooth edge to the brim. To avoid sewing, you can do this: 

At the beginning of the 11th round, fold the knitting in half behind to meet the tips of your needles. Use your right needle tip to pick up one of the strands from the cast on, directly below (10 rows below) the stitch you’re about to knit. Pop this strand onto your left needle, and knit it together with your next stitch. Do this all the way around, picking up cast on loops corresponding with your current stitch, and knitting them into your current row.

32 stitches and 48 rows per four inches.
Cast on 150 using colors A and C held together, place marker, join to knit in the round.
Colors A and C: 11 rounds (tack down using notes above at 11th round if not sewing)
Color A doubled: 3 rounds
Color B doubled: 15 rounds
Color A doubled: 3 rounds
Colors A and C: 7 rounds
If you don’t wish to follow my color pattern, this is a total of 39 rounds for the fold-over brim section. Feel free to play with these rounds, and their colors, as you like!
Now you’re going to turn your work as if you’re knitting flat (instead of knitting clockwise normally)  and knit the round in the “wrong” direction (counterclockwise). When you get back to the beginning of the round, continue knitting in the new established direction. This will give you a stockinette section and a reverse stockinette section without purling. Continue in this direction for the rest of the hat.
Colors A and C: 4 rounds
Color A doubled: 3 rounds
Color B doubled: 15 rounds
Color A doubled: 3 rounds
Colors A and C: 3 rounds
Color B doubled: 5 rounds
Color A doubled: 3 rounds
Color C doubled: 20 rounds
Color B doubled:  7 rounds
Color A doubled: 3 rounds
Colors A and C: 10 rounds
Total of 76 rows in the main body of the hat.

Change to color C doubled before starting the decreases.
At this point, we start the decreases. While working the decrease pattern, you are going to be working a stripe pattern just like the one you’ve been following. The decrease pattern is as follows:
Round 1: *Knit 23, k2tog*around.
Round 2: Knit around.
Repeat rounds 1 and 2 for the remainder of the hat.
While working this decrease pattern, follow the stripe pattern below:
Color C doubled: 15 rounds
Color A doubled: 3 rounds
Color B doubled: 24 rounds
Total of 42 rounds for the decrease section.
Break yarn, thread the end through the remaining stitches and tighten. Weave in ends.
Pom-pom (optional): If desired, you can make a pom-pom for the top of your hat. To do this, you can use a pom-pom maker, or do it the old fashioned way. In order to do it without a pom-pom maker, wrap colors A and B held together around a 4-inch square of cardboard loosely. The more you wrap, the fluffier your pop-pom. Once you have your desired thickness, carefully slide the bundle off the cardboard, taking care to keep it from falling apart. Now double knot a 12-inch length of yarn (doubled, so it doesn’t snap when you tighten the knot) around the center of your bundle, creating loops on either side. Use your scissors to snip all of these loops. You can use your 12-inch length of yarn to attach your pom-pom to your hat later, so don’t cut these ends short. Fluff your pom-pom and give it a “haircut” to make it nice and round and uniform. Use the ends from earlier to attach your pom-pom to your hat.

I hope you enjoy this pattern, and let me know if you have any questions!

Until next week,

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Beginning Again

Hello all,
You may be seeing this post and asking yourself the question, "Wait, when did I subscribe to this blog?". The answer to this question is a long, long time ago, my friend. It's been a while, but I'm ready to start blogging again.

Since we last spoke, I have transitioned to knitting as my main creative outlet, rather than crocheting. I've been working on designing patterns occasionally, but I really desire to take it to the next level. Professionally designing patterns is what I want to do, and starting a consistent blog is the first step towards that.

So, with that said, you can expect a blog post from me once a week. Every Saturday you'll see a new post in your feed from me, regarding current works in progress, things I've been loving, and perhaps a tutorial or free pattern thrown in every once in a while.

I look forward to starting up again and growing this blog!

See you next week,

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Death by yarn

Get it? Cause I'm dying. But I'm die-ing? Wow, aren't I clever?

It all started when I bought a set of Wilton's food dye to experiment with. I had been using kool aid and was looking for an alternative. Don't get me wrong, kool aid is great, but it lacked the black and browns I was needing. And let me tell you, black is INVALUABLE when it comes to dying. Add it to blue to get navy or obviously just use it on its own. So fun.

Anywho, these skeins were inspired by yarn I saw (and splurged on) about a year ago on vacation in a LYS I frequent when I'm there. Manos Del Uruguay Alegria. Look it up in Ravelry when you have the time. I bought the two brightest skeins there and I have yet to make something with them. They're just so pretty. So expensive. Ahem.

But I figured why not give it a shot myself? The results are perfection my friends. Take a peek-

Turned out fairly well ya think? Seriously, if you haven't tried dying, you must. It's so much fun. Now I'm trying to decide if I should keep or sell them. It's too much yarn for me to knit up but it's just. so. pretty.