Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My New Favorite Design Tool!

I am always looking for ways to improve the way I work, and make my job as a designer,  easier and more efficient.

When crocheting a sample, I usually work from a rough draft of the pattern on my computer.  However, there are times when I want to work, and am not able to have my computer with me.  For times like these, I print out a copy of the pattern to work from.  I make notes and corrections on this sheet, and transfer them to the computer when I have a chance.

I often write notes all over the page, and this can be a little confusing later, especially if I am not able to enter the changes into the computer soon after taking the notes.  This is where my new favorite tool comes in!  My daughter first noticed these multi-color pens at the local stationary store, except the one she wanted had 8 colors.  We bought one and she had so much fun with it, that she began to take it everywhere.  Paper and a pen can keep her busy for quite some time! 

Anyway, shortly after she got the pen,  I was working on a pattern and had been taking the same printout out with me all week.  It was becoming unclear which notes were current.  I suddenly remembered the pen!  I thought, what a great idea; I can use different colors for different days or types of notations.  I bought the 4 color pen shown above that day, and have never looked back.  I find it useful for so many situations in addition to pattern writing.  I think I will get one to carry in my handbag as well.  I love how something so simple can be so useful!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Variations on the Helleborus Gloves

Version 1

Version 2

One of the most wonderful things about having your designs listed on Ravelry, is that you get to see what other crocheters have done with your pattern!  It was so exciting to discover these two versions of the Helleborus gloves I designed for the Winter Issue of Tangled Magazine.  Version 1, by Tracy St. John, has little flowers at the ends of the vines instead of berries.  Version 2, by Debbie Schuster features the gloves in a shorter length, 9".  Both are unique and beautiful, and show the versatility of the pattern.  It is also fun to see what the gloves look like made up in different colors.  I hope that others will post their photos on Ravelry, and that seeing these versions will encourage more people to make the gloves!

When I was preparing this blog post, I found out some interesting information about designs that  are featured in Tangled Magazine.  All of the patterns are very well tested!  Tracy St. John and Brittany Tyler, the creators of Tangled, work at Stix, a yarn shop in Bozeman, Montana.  This gives them the opportunity to be in contact with many knitters and crocheters.  

Sometimes they do a class at the shop to test selected Tangled patterns,  and sometimes they offer a class as a way to promote one of the designs which has already been published.  Classes are free of charge, and are open to people who have purchased the pattern (if it is an already published pay-pattern) and the materials for the class.

When I asked Tracy to tell me more about the pattern testing, she replied; "We have gotten very valuable feedback from students when we do a class to test a pattern....several errors have been found and we always find ways to clarify and refine a pattern when we are helping students work through them. We also have several customers who work through the Tangled designs as testers.  They get a free pattern and a discount on materials (or sometimes even free materials), and then they make notes, offer suggestions, and check math and size grading for us. It works really well to get lots of eyes at different skill levels looking at the instructions".

As a designer for Tangled, it is comforting knowing that the pattern has been tech edited and tested so thoroughly.  This gives me the chance to clarify anything in the pattern that may be difficult to understand, BEFORE the pattern is published!  This is also comforting for any stitcher who would like to purchase a pattern from the magazine.  Well done, Tangled!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Little Genevieve's Crochet Belt

I love the idea of using a pattern more than once, but I don't really like to make the same thing twice!  My daughter loved the "Genevieve's Belt" I designed for Interweave Crochet's special Accessories issue last year, so I decided to create a girl's version based on the same pattern.

The wonderful thing is, that I didn't have to make any drastic changes to the pattern!  Here are the alterations I made:

1.  Changed to a finer yarn; "Catania" by Schachenmayr nomotta, which is a sport weight (12 wpi), vs. the dk weight (11 wpi) that was used for the original version, and went down to a size B/1 (2.25mm) hook.  The result was perfectly scaled down motifs!
Difference in  Frame Size Between the Little and Original Versions

2.  Shortened the Belt Strip to my daughter's waist measurement  plus 4 1/2", and made fewer Frames.  The strip of joined Frames is approximately 1/2 of the length of the belt strip.

3.  Eliminated the surface crochet down the center of the Belt Strip.

4.  After the Belt Strip was woven through the frames, I embroidered lazy daisies and a chevron pattern on the Belt strip inside the frames, and eliminated the detail between the frames.

I believe this project was a success because my daughter told me she wants to wear it every day, and I am thrilled because I was able to use an existing pattern again in a new way!

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Crochet Inspiration!

My favorite part of creating a blog post is choosing the photo, because as they say, "a picture is worth a thousand words".

Through the magic of Twitter, I found out about an amazing blog called iCrochet, that is comprised of random photos of crochet projects from crocheters around the world.  How wonderful that there is a blog that says it all with photos of crochet, and allows anyone to submit!

When the owner of the blog, opens up a new gallery, there is an opportunity to "submit your link".  It is very simple; you just enter the link to your blog post, and then you are able to choose any photo from that particular post to be included in the gallery.  After a about a week, the gallery closes, creating a mini exhibition of images.  Anyone who visits the site and is interested in learning more about a project, can click on the image and will be taken to the blog post about it.

It is incredibly colorful and a great source of inspiration!  It is also a neat way to preview several blog posts in one place, and an effective way to gain a new audience for your work.