Remember how I spent October in Puerto Vallarta? Me, too. I didn’t want to come, if staying was an option I would have taken it in a heart beat. But it wasn’t, so home we came and, I’m sorry but, things have not gone so great since coming home. November was fine, I got back into the swing of pattern design and was feeling focused. Then December came around and things began to crumble. Continue reading
Things happen unexpectedly sometimes and even the solid plans need room for flexibility. Six months ago when JahDoily Knits launched I expected to publish new designs every three to six weeks. Looking over my portfolio one may think that those plans have been abandoned but that is far from the truth. What has happened is I encountered unexpected events. Designs that took longer to create or write than a tight schedule allowed for, impromptu travel, family obligations, and sudden rushes of design ideas. Yes, a concentration of new ideas can set back progress. While my published portfolio may look slight, lots has been happening with JahDoily Knits.
As I review the first six months of JahDK I am learning to allow for the unexpected. Starting out I set too many goals too quickly. Some designs need time to percolate while others come swiftly. Trying to fit each into a tidy timeline stifles and takes the joy out of the process. Looking forward to the next six months I strive to give each design the time and space it needs. When I’m faced with a flood of ideas my schedule shall be set aside. Those ideas will be allowed to bloom or wilt in an organic manner – some ideas are better than others but they all need to get out.
For the last two weeks I’ve been determined to design a cowl to accompany a hat designed in September. So many ideas have emerged, but not of them the companion I was looking for. Each idea felt like a failure – That’s not the project I’m looking for. What I’d been neglecting to acknowledge is that each of those ideas is the beginning of a new design. It has been an incredibly fertile few weeks but there is little to show for it. The ideas are rushing so quickly they can’t be knit before the next comes. Instead of allowing the designs to evolve organically I have been fixated on finished items.
No, I don’t have a pile of finished projects to show but what I have is so much more important. Gathering these ideas and setting them aside will give me a “stash” of pattern ideas to pull from. Some are full first drafts, written and charted patterns, others are swatches of stitch patterns and textures with notes pined to them, still others are scratches in notes books that hopefully I can decipher. As each idea emerges I file it away and let the next take form. When the ideas begin to wane I will dig into those files and begin knitting projects.
Going forward I will remind myself that creativity comes in waves and one must learn to work with the natural swells. A storm, such as this, may stall publication deadlines but there will be calmer days where editing and knitting samples will be a welcome distraction from the lack of fresh ideas.
There was on my schedule a pattern to coincide with JahDK’s half anniversary but as it sits waiting to be graded and test knit, I give you this instead, 50% off my first design, Rosmarie’s Garden Shawl. The sale begins today, Friday November 22, 2013 and runs until midnight pacific standard time November 27th and is redeemable through my Ravelry shop – from the pattern page, click “add to cart” and the discount will show up.
I don’t travel lightly and like being prepared. It doesn’t matter where I’m off to, coffee with a friend, running errands or taking the train up to Dad’s, my purse is packed. You never know when a friend is going to be late or creativity will strike. When extra time pops up its good to have a way to fill it and vital that you have a way to record that life changing idea.
I’d like to introduce you to my Mary Poppins bag. She is green leather satchel from Danier and perfect for everyday use. Zippered outside pockets on either side make for easy access to phones and what ever small items you are likely to need while walking and more inside keep things tidy. She’s a medium-sized bag, large enough to fit an amazing amount but small enough to keep from being intrusive. Lets not be that woman who hits children in the head with her big bag as she passes people on crowded streets.
This is just a regular summer day. As the seasons change so do the contents, and yes, an umbrella fits in there. Today’s items include:
- two moleskin notebooks, a smaller hard cover book for general notes and a larger soft-cover writing journal.
- ball point pen, mechanical pencil, fountain pen and white eraser. I recently discovered the joy of fountain pens and this is my first choice for creative writing, the pencil is for general notes and ideas and for editing knitting patterns, the ball point pen is just smart – you can always use an extra pen.
- stain remover pen and wet wipes for eating on the go and coffee spills
- paper back book. I’m particularly enjoying this one for carrying around, the chapters are short and easy to get through then when you only have a few spare minutes – like waiting for the train.
- oversized sunglasses, because, lets face it, I’m a diva in disguise
- lipstick, this gets very little use but I always know where it is – in with my pens
- phone and ear buds
- knitting bag with current project & pattern in a clear plastic sleeve which helps protect it from coffee spills and wet patio tables
- business card holder and cards
- travel grocery bag
- shawl kept in a cloth bag to protect it from snags, this one is Rosemarie’s Garden
- knitting notions bag (stitch markers, darning needles, hand lotion, emery board, measuring tape, crochet hooks and a bunch of other stuff)
With this much entertainment carried around on my shoulder you never need to apologize to me for being late. My knitting kept me company and I got some writing done, I know to embrace free time when I see it.
What to carry with you?
Yesterday I published my second knitting pattern, A Modern Victorian Shawl. This time around I wanted to get a better feel for where sales come from – does time of day make a difference, are they coming from the New Patterns feed or forums I’ve posted in?
The strategy I devised was to post the pattern in the morning to catch both European and North American viewers instead of eagerly adding the listing at 12:03 am when North America is sleeping. Secondly, resist the urge to post it in forums, on my blog or anywhere else (other than the JahDoily Knits sites, Ravelry, Etsy and Craftsy). When the attention slows down, then it post to other areas but allow enough time to pass that I can try and determine the source of the sale. A strategy, isn’t it nice to have a plan.
Up went the pattern at around 10am – admittedly a little later than I originally intended but I still felt like a good time. Almost imminently little hearts started to accumulate and it was added to a few queues. Obsessively I’d bounce back and forth between the pattern page and my designer’s page watching to see the numbers change. As captivating as this was, missing was the little double chime of two emails coming in – notifications of paypal payments and download receipts. Silence. For hours, more hearts, the occasional queue. No sales.
Looking for some friendly encouragement I posted an image to Instagram. My fellow instagram knitters are good source for a boost.
By 6 pm my heart was sinking and I was beginning to second guess all the time and energy I’ve invested in these patterns – in myself. I was in need of a distraction, something that would remove me from close proximity of the laptop. So out for dinner we went and I agreed to go on Craigslist excursion to Richmond (totally different story but I now have a bike). The entire time we were out I left my iPhone in my pocket, that my data is running low added motivation to remain offline, but the second we walked through the apartment door out came my phone, safely back on wi-fi.
Bing, bing, bing, bing.
Two sales, four minutes apart. One originating from Ravelry, the second an Instagramer who had just begun following me earlier in the week. Just like that, mood lifted. Life is good. I only took two sales to validate endless hours.
A few more sales today has me on the “hot right now” list. Not in the top 20 mind you but in the top 100. My design was sitting directly above a Steven West shawl and not far below the Holden shawlette which I thought pretty awesome. It has dropped back a few pages now but is still in good company.
So, I’m resuming my resolve to refrain from posting to the forms yet. Things might not happen quickly but there is movement. Keep designing, publish often and when I do, get out of the apprentment and enjoy the day.
Well, I did it. I’ve published my very first knitting pattern. Yesterday was dedicated to jitters and trying to distract myself from today’s launch. So much time and energy went into preparation for today – and not just my time, I’ve called upon friends for help with logo design, photography, editing and bored more than one non-knitter to death with my rambling. The fear that it would turn out all for nothing was overwhelming but I kept reassuring myself that it was a design that I’m proud of and that’s all that matters for the first pattern. That this is a learning process, that I’ll have a better idea of how to approach things in the future. Continue reading