Worth Waiting For

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Well, Spring is here and the Painted Plumes knitting pattern is ready! This Thursday it will go up on Ravelry, Etsy and Craftsy but until then, here are some teaser images of the long-awaited Painted Plumes Shawl. Continue reading

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Bleeding Hearts and Broken Bones

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

Reviewing expectations

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.

Stack of tuques-Sept 20 2013 (1)

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.

KattiklooFiberStudio_knitCity colourway-DK-Merino Diamonds in the rough-blocking detail
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.

07_Rosemarie's-Garden-Shawl_k
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.

Knitting down the days

On Thursday I shall be reborn as a knitting designer! After four months of designing, knitting, researching, planning, building, branding and all sorts of fun JahDoily Knits is (almost) ready to launch. A few things have changed along the way but I’m feeling like I have a solid plan for the coming months and some great designs to offer.

On Thursday, June 27th my first design, Rosemarie’s Garden Shawl, will launch with the site jahdoilyknits.com. The original plan was to publish 3 – 5 patterns on the get go but after chatting with designers this was amended to starting with one pattern and adding additional designs every 4 – 8 weeks.  If you haven’t already done so, please join my mailing list for pattern announcements and news of upcoming projects. Below is a little teaser for the Summer 2013 JahDoily Knits collection.


June: Rosemarie’s Garden Shawl
July: A Modern Victorian Shawl
August: Painted Plumes

The support and encouragement from my friends and family has been invaluable but a few wonderful women deserve a special thank you. Natalie Gagnon of Nattypat Crochet was one of the first people I contacted when I started this venture. She graciously shared her experiences of crochet design and put her branding expertise to work and develop a beautiful logo for JahDoily Knits (she also solved the “but doilies are crochet not knit” conundrum by condensing Jah Doily back into its original JahDoily form). Next up we have Renee Picard whose eyes have double and triple checked website content and will give patterns the final edit. It is no small task for a non-knitter to wading through knitting jargon to find the grammar. While I’m the master of instagram and iPhone photos, when it came time for professional shots I turned to Grace Morris of Grace Photography. Oh my, she captured some beautiful images and I can’t wait to share them with you! I am so blessed to be surrounded by such creative people.

Last but definitely not least, there are the test knitters who dedicated hours and hours of their time to testing my designs. With every project I’ve been overwhelmed by the volume of total strangers who sign up to test designs. Watching their projects take form has been perhaps the most rewarding part of this journey to date. There is something so surreal about seeing my designs come to life on the needles of others and the knowledge that there are people in the US, England, Ireland, South Africa and Australia wearing something I created blows my mind.

So let the countdown begin!

 

Lost in Fonts

As my self-imposed deadline for launching JahDoily Knits approaches I’m attempting to conquer one task a day. Often, as happened today, the day’s task forces me to re-do some earlier project but all the same things are marching on towards the launch date (I do have a specific date in mind but I’m not ready to share it yet but will soon). So far, aside from designing patterns, preparation has included setting up a website, which is almost finished, creating a brand identity, building pattern templates, photographing samples, and exploring fonts.

Originally I had decided on calibri for the pattern font, however, while poking through forums on Ravelry over the weekend I stumbled across some invaluable information. Something that probably should have occurred to me before. Just because a font comes with software doesn’t mean one is allowed to use it for commercial use. Makes sence, I can’t use someone else’s images without permission so why would fonts be okay. So I got to researching “free for commercial use” fonts and set aside some time today to test some out.

Two fonts have come out as the clear favorites but picking which one is turning out harder than I thought. The two candidates are Cardo (left) and Pigiarniq Light (right). Cadaro & Pigiarniq LightAs you can see they are very different fonts. Cardo is a serif font based on a Renaissance typeface where Pigianrniq Light is a minimal and elegant sans-serif. Both are lovely, both will work, but which do I pick? Picking the font feels like a monumental decision. While my designs combine classic elegance with modern simplicity, selecting a font that conveys both is posing a challenge.

So, which do you prefer?

On a side note, did you notice that Jah Doily Knits is now JahDoily Knits? Bet you missed that or thought it was a typo, didn’t you.