Worth Waiting For

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This gallery contains 6 photos.

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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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.

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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.

Don’t Panic – a good lesson to remember

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?

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Photo by Lili Vieira De Carvalho

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.

Putting it out there – from knitter to designer

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

Looking for a Name

I’m usually good at coming up with titles and find the process fun. The inspiration can come from life, some personal significance the pattern or painting has to me; from nature, the textures, colours and smells of life on the Pacific West Coast; or even from other artforms – I have been known to take lines from songs, poems, of reference to paintings. With all this in mind, it is odd that I am at a total loss of what to name this shawl.

The working title is A Modern Victorian, referencing the origins of the lace motifs, but it was never meant be stick. The problem is, for almost a year not it has been A Modern Victorian to me and I can’t get past it. It isn’t a horrible name, it just isn’t what I want to conjure.

A Modern Victorian Shawl_detail1_medThe pattern uses a dk cotton yarn giving it weight and structure but keeping it cool enough of summer evenings. I envision it worn around the waist on the beach as a swimsuit wrap (you know those skirt like things used to hide our bums and upper thighs when walking around, I love those!). I see it around the shoulders and tied in the back like a bolero over a dress or loosely draped around the neck as a scarf as summer is ending and through the fall.

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It deserves a name that is catchy and enticing, that is easy to remember and conjures versatility. A name that is both romantic and urban. Is that too much to ask? I for one am stumped.

What would you call this pattern?