In the years since I have published Autumn Leaves Scarflette, my very first attempt at knitting pattern writing, I have learned more than I could ever express in one blog post.
I remember very clearly the night when I uploaded the original pattern. I was too chicken to charge any money for the download. I imagined myself refunding money left and right if the pattern turned out to be awful. I’ll never forget the pride and butterflies with which I uploaded my first PDF to Ravelry, and then the crushing disappointment when the negative reviews rolled in. Cringeworthy, yes. But its the reality of it, and I’m laughing at myself as I type this.
I seriously considered throwing in the towel and vowing to never publish again after reading comments like, “very poorly written pattern” and “full of mistakes”.
While those comments stung, they were absolutely not wrong. My pattern was poorly written, and it was full of mistakes, and I had to face the facts. One knitter commented in her project notes that she noticed row 29 had wandered off to have a lie-down. Looking back over the pattern it was true! 27, 28, 30… oh boy. How did I miss that? Though I did have quite a laugh at her phrasing.
I came to a crossroads. I could slink away with my tail between my legs, or I could learn from this feedback and plug on. After a short pout, I got over myself, and looked at the pattern again with fresh eyes. I poured over patterns from designers that I admired to educate myself on what makes a great knitting pattern, but I craved more information.
I checked out a few local colleges to see if they offered courses in the type of knitting I was interested in learning. I wanted to know more about pattern writing standards, and grading knitwear sizes, technical editing and clothing shaping techniques. Color work and cables and how to write cable charts, and how to write knitting charts in general.
Being in NYC I figured these things would be a cinch to find. But boy I was wrong. F.I.T., nope. Pratt, no. Even local yarn shops only had beginner and intermediate knitting classes, nothing for a budding designer. I found a few books and blogs that were helpful, but my real saving grace was Craftsy. They offer video classes in exactly what I was craving to know. I was able to shape my knitting education into exactly what I was looking for. I think Ravelry is definitely my favorite knitting resource and my favorite platform from which to sell my work, but for instructional videos you can’t beat Craftsy. Plus they have a platform for indie designers like myself where they don’t take a cent. And that’s pretty cool.
I’m still reading and knitting and frogging and watching videos, learning all the time. I have revisited my Autumn Leaves pattern and tweaked it applying all the information I have gathered and now I feel that its finally the best version of itself. I’m so pleased to be re-launching the pattern and I hope that you’ll knit one and let me know what you think. I can take it. I promise!