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My Forced Hiatus from Knitwear Design

    Shortly after I released my first sweater design (the Sierra Sweater), I was forced to take a short hiatus – pregnancy. While pregnant, I could hardly look at yarn without getting nauseous. I took this time as an opportunity to continue to research knitwear design. 

    Swatch Studio Circle

    Before getting pregnant, I had signed up for Swatch Studio Circle with Frenchie from Arohaknits. It was here that I learned more about how to grade properly, the importance of tech editors and how to format my pattern into visually pleasing content. There were Monthly Masterclasses about various classes which I found very helpful. 

    Learning to Grade Effectively & Quickly

    A knitting friend also showed me how to use excel for my calculations. She helped me set up my first excel sheet by walking me through it step by step. This was such a game changer!  Towards the end of my pregnancy, I was able to release one sweater: The Dahlia Sweater. I graded this sweater based on the Craft Yarn Council Sizing Charts and using excel sheets for my math. I currently base my grading on Ysolda’s Sizing Charts.

    My Monthly Goal with my Patterns

    Once our son was born, my designing really took off. In fact, I named the first top I released after his birth after him: Kai Cotton Top. My goal was (and still is!) to release at least 1 pattern a month. I love designing tops and sweaters, but I sprinkle in some shawls and beanies to keep it interesting for myself. Last year I was able to release a sweater/top AND accessory (shawl, beanie, etc) every month. 

    How I Found my Tech Editor

    I found a great tech editor that looks over all my patterns and streamlined some of my processes. She created a personalized stylesheet to use when writing my patterns. How did I find her? The Tech Editor Hub has a great list of tech editors. I picked out a handful that seemed like they were knowledgeable in the items I was making. Afterwards, I emailed each one and asked about an estimated cost for a pattern. Each one responded differently. Some were a little curt and almost seemed annoyed that I would ask for an estimate before beginning the tech editing process with them. Others gave very vague answers. The tech editor I chose gave a nice, thorough response and also offered to tech editor a smaller pattern for free so I could see if I would want to send her my more involved patterns. It’s been over a year and I find her feedback to be invaluable. 

    Improving the Process

    With each design I release, I reflect on my design process. What worked? What didn’t? What needs to be improved? There are a lot of steps in the design process and there’s always room for improvement. I try to make it better each time. After all, I want this to be sustainable and I want to keep designing for years to come.
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