dusktreader knits

March 8, 2010

New skills

Filed under: Designing — Tags: , , , , , — dusktreader @ 5:54 pm

It turns out that designing knitting patterns, particularly if you want to publish them, requires a whole host of other skills besides knitting. I am better at some of these things than others.

  • Writing. In addition to understanding the abbreviations and grammar used in knitting instructions (k1, p1, *k2tog tbl twice, sl2 pwise, yo p1* rep from * to * anyone?), pattern designers have to be able to write descriptions that sell their patterns. I have experience in communications and outreach in the non-profit field, so this one comes easier to me than some of the other things. Except for thinking of appopriate names for my patterns. That’s the hardest part, for some reason.
  • Sketching. It is one thing to make little sketches of ideas in my notebook that only I have to decipher later. But pattern publishers expect sketches of what the finished object will look like when you are submitting a proposal to them. I have always been envious of people who can represent on paper what they can imagine in their heads. Sketching has been a topic in the designers group on ravelry lately, and someone posted a link to a tutorial series she’s posting on her blog that looks like the kind of step-by-step beginner breakdown I need.
  • Photography. I can point and shoot with my digital camera, turn the flash on and off, and do basic editing on digital photos (cropping, resizing, using the red-eye reduction tool). But I do not really understand ISO and composition escapes me. The boy went over the rule of thirds with me (which I should have remembered from my student film society days) and that seems to be helping already. Sometime this spring I plan to take some photography books out of the library and at least get a better grasp of the settings on my camera and practice better composition. Expect lots of practice pictures of Metadata Futurecat!
  • Self-promotion. There are so many patterns out there, which is great, but if you want people to see your patterns, you have to put some effort into getting the word out. Again, I have experience in web marketing so I’m comfortable doing it, but there is only so much time I’m willing to put into self-promotion. That’s fine: I’m not trying to build a knitting pattern empire here. Maintaining a blog and posting links to my patterns on social networking sites like twitter and ravelry is about as much effort as I’m willing to put in, and only because those things actually enrich my knitting life and online interactions with other knitters.
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