Tuesdays with Dory: Design Edition


Dear Dory,

I'm curious about the design and pattern publication process. In your understanding, how does it work?


Wondering in Wichita

Dear Wondering,

Based on months of observation of Kristen, I believe the design process goes something like this:

1. Get an idea! Check Ravelry and see if there's anything similar.

2. Find 17 similar things, get discouraged.

3. Have a new idea!

4. Celebrate because this idea is original.

5. Survive a week where the baby wakes up every 2 hours at night; completely forget not only brilliant idea, but how to knit, and even how to dress yourself.

6. Suddenly remember idea at 3am; sketch Thing out. Wonder why you spent so much money on art classes in high school, because sketch looks like it was created by 3 year old drawing with crayon held in his mouth.

7. Start swatching. Find 18 squillion stitch patterns, shaping ideas, yarn combinations, etc. that won't work.

8. Finally settle on vague concept of how Thing will be knit.

9. Submit Thing to knitting magazines' or yarn companies' calls for submissions, or request yarn support to publish independently.

10. Finally, Thing is accepted by someone! Start knitting sample.

11. Rip back. 

12. Frog.

13. Rip back again.

14. Realize you weren't taking any notes. You now have no idea how to recreate what you've knit.

15. Knit some more, taking sketchy notes this time.

16. Done! It looks like Thing! Awesome!

17. Gather your almost-useless notes and start writing pattern out and doing maths to figure out various sizes. Question entire endeavor.

18. Take a break from writing for a week, hoping the math will do itself.

19. Drat. That didn't work. Start writing again.

20. Done! Woohoo! Find test knitters to test your pattern, ideally in a few sizes.

21. Test knitters finish knitting, and actually have things that look like Thing. Success!

22. Pass your pattern on to a tech editor, who will point out embarrassing math errors, spelling mistakes and other obvious blunders you can't believe you didn't notice. 

23. Voila! Your pattern is complete. Pass it on to interested parties, possibly along with your sample, and take a vacation. Or drink a lot of wine.