Wednesday, January 27, 2010

All Hail the Tech Editor!

Can I just say tech editors are the greatest? I honestly thought "whats the big deal?" I know my numbers are right, etc, etc.... And then we started the test knit, and rewriting the pattern (no numbers errors, I was right about that, but to make the thing more readable, clarity in instructions and so forth which led to some number "reinterpretation" and general headache) and I got pretty lost to be honest. Being able to just shoot and email off to someone with a cry for help and get back corrections and clearly explained details is a huge revelation. I have an entirely new vision of how the design process can work now, and it's quite a relief! I don't think I even realized how stressful it was to work everything out myself and re-check and re-check it without anyone to rely on. Woot!

Also, this experience has led me to conclude that I don't enjoy editing, and if at all possible I will be happy to submit designs to publications that will take care of this stuff for me. Now that would be amazing! I do think this will get easier as I get (and learn to use) the proper tools and get routine and some checklists worked out, but I expect to remain in awe of someone else to help me edit and prefect the finished design for a long time.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Typical.

This evening as I sketched out schematics for the in progress design I was told ever so clearly that even in utero, this newest progeny will not put up with mommy doing something interesting and rewarding that does not directly and immediately involve them. Why yes, they will fit in very well with their siblings apparently. As I ever so carefully inked over a pencil sketch with a felt tip (and very permanent) marker, I received a jab to the elbow from below my ribs strong enough to, oh, I don't know, spill a bit of coffee, or, perhaps, make a skewed inky line go exactly where it was not supposed to. little jerk(ette).

I am going to spend tomorrow looking through stored boxes for that wacom tablet I never learned to use. And, I guess, learn to use it. sigh.

Also, I have found that my netbook will definitively not work for pattern layout, or anything much at all other than web browsing. It seems to choke up when I even ask it to open a pretty lightweight (graphically) pdf, much less edit said document in open office. I have been hijacking hubster's computer for doing the real work of pattern layout, and having information or even notes, etc, on my own computer has been a huge hassle to get back and forth. (sharing not working so well between linux and windows...) So, I think the plan is to save any knitting revenue I may generate toward some sort of knitting specific work tools. It's a littl exciting to have a specific goal to work towards actually, but still quite frustrating in the meantime to have to cobble everything together as I am.

More on schematics soon... probably.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Color Cards!

Finally, the color card (and a few other goodies I ordered before New Year's) for the wool that I am designing with has arrived! I need to decide if I am going to stick to my original colorway (or as close to it as possible with the changes in colors/availability) or go in another direction. I have 2 other ideas that would be very attractive (I think!) but I love the original so much that I suspect I will stick with it. I think I will ask for small amounts of wool in the second color way though so I can knit up a sample portion and include photos of it for people to see another option.

While contemplating all these wools and gazing at the knitted swatches it occured to me that I really (really, really) need to work on my photography. As it stands I am not really able to do justice to the wools or knitting that I need to include images of in my patterns. I think it would be particularly nice to use a long tall photograph of some of the swatches for this design along the edges of the pattern writeup, though I don't know how I would set that up yet. hm.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Simplification

Having spent an inordinate amount of time over the weekend writing out the most complicated portion of the new pattern, I have come to realize that there is a much better (and more simple) way of managing the increases, etc, etc. The time wasted is very frustrating, as is the effort of all the calculations, write up, etc, etc. It was not for nothing though, as eventually I happened upon the much simplified (and preferable if I do say so myself) version of the pattern. I do wonder, though, why I seem to need to spend lots of time and effort figuring out how to do things, or write them, before the easy way "appears". When knitting for myself (not focusing on a write up or design specifics) I tend to "knit by the seat of my pants" and the easy way appears as I need it, no lengthy considerations, calculations, how to's, etc.

Of course, I also feel like now my pattern looks like I didn't put in the effort and work into it that I poured out over the past few days. Oh well. I will continually remind myself that simpler and easier for the user is preferable. I guess I have to go through the process of doing the more complicated difficult thing to get to the simple elegant solution.

I'm getting close to having a write up that I can send to test knitters. I think we will have a googlewave set up to have an organized central place for everyone to comment and discuss issues that may come up. I have never used googlewave so this will be yet another technology leap for me. I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Gauge Wars...

So I first knit the design I am reworking now over a year ago, in a yarn other than the one I am using now, in a very dense gauge. I am finding it extraordinarily difficult to get this density of fabric again with the new wool choice, and it has led me to the realization that it hardly matters what size needles I use. Tthe fabric qualities of my knitting are almost exclusively reliant upon the wool I use. I had no idea this was the case until last night. I always thought I was just a bit of a loose knitter (harhar) because I prefer somewhat smaller needles to knit worsted weight than most people to get a similar gauge, but as I swatched last night I found that the actual measurement of stitches over inches was the same (exactly 18 sts over 4 inches) using over 4 sizes of needles! Now, the larger size (9's) did have a "fluffier" feel than the others, but only slightly, perhaps the gauge would grow very slightly after washing and blocking. Even so I feel that the situation is a bit ridiculous. I am going to go down to size 3's & 4's to try and achieve the density I require for this project.

Another issue I am dealing with is that the original article of clothing is, shall we say, well loved by my kids. Not ratty or pilly at all actually (probably due to the tightly plied wool as well as the very dense gauge) it looks fairly new, but just getting it away from them for a few minutes to check how I constructed it, or what  the original gauge was in that other yarn for example, is proving quite challenging. As soon as M (21 months) sees me holding it she begins shrieking "MINE MINE MINE" (of course, she also mumbles this in her sleep, along with "nope" and "toot" so maybe she isn't really as attached to the garment as it seems...) and requires me to give it up immediately. I am beginning to realize that the only way this whole "being a designer" is going to work is by sleeping less and working at night. This is not encouraging.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Publishing!

omg, omg, omg, I'm going to be published! For money! (based on download fees, rather than upfront compensation. (Fine by me, I keep all the rights, etc...) Oh, and YARN SUPPORT!!!!!! (cue angelic singing...)

Getting this great news so quickly after I submitted my design left me feeling excited and happy of course, but it also forced me to consider that I had spent the last couple of years being awfully foolish about not submitting designs to publications or even self publishing. I have had the fear of hearing "Who the he** are you? Why would we want anything to do with you? Of course you can't have yarn for that, don't ever contact us again." run so deeply through my heart that the alternative (never submitting any ideas or asking for anything) seemed sensible, even though the outcome was exactly what I dreaded, never being published or getting the mythical yarn support. So I decided before Christmas to just get over it and put out some ideas, hence the stocking pattern. Then I started working on another free pattern that I am really excited about, (I feel like it is important that Sidna's baby cap concept be out there, getting thought about and promoting garter stitch seamless shaping concepts, etc...) and thought I'd just shoot off an email to this new program I had heard about that might give yarn support and provide a convenient publishing venue. I am now of course feeling a bit of pressure (cannot believe how fast they responded!) so have put everything else on the back burner for the moment.

I am frantically going over tutorials on using open office's word processing and spreadsheet capabilities so I can organize and be somewhat professional about this pattern layout. So far Marnie's tutorial here has been helpful, and I will continue to struggle with text boxes and fonts and other things I would greatly prefer not to fiddle with. oh well. Unfortunately I have also spent some time finding out that (yet again) Inkscape is not going to work for me (my little net book screen can't even fit the menus apparently...) so the next several patterns I manage to cobble together are going to look somewhat primitive. (no one will pay attention to that, right? They will be stunned and amazed by the brilliant content I am sure... pfft.)

Rather than posting about new ideas or designs right now I think I'll just update about the process of getting this idea on paper/hard drive and what new and confounding issues I come across to fight with. Forcing myself to focus in this way is frustrating in it's own way of course. I woke up in the middle of the night unable to get back to sleep contemplating the fact that of course now I would find the backbone to work on publishing because last year I had a handful of decent ideas that would have been good to work on, but at this point I have too many to possibly organize in a functional way and find my mind so overflowing with new ones every few days I can barely jot down a sketch and note to myself to hopefully decipher someday. I know that this is some bizarre mental block on my part, as soon as I have less limited time I will be blank and completely uninspired to do anything useful. Luckily (do I really mean luckily?) with 2 little ones and another on the way "less limited time" is a long way off. I will just have to find some way to cope once the children find a way to play and educate themselves without my constant involvement. (wink)