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Design Process

A couple people have been curious about my design process.  I came up with this list during Shannon Okey’s Designer 101 class;  it was one of our homework assignment. I’ve refined it a little since then, so this is the most updated version.

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Steph’s Design Checklist Process

  1. Rough idea of pattern i.e. cabled fingerless mitt w/ heart motifs, want to incorporate braids.
  2. Sketch.
  3. Go through stitch dictionaries, etc &/or make up motifs/cables from scratch.
  4. Start charting in Knit Visualizer.
  5. Start swatching.
  6. Work up Excel spreadsheet.  (I actually have developed several spreadsheets I use, especially for sweaters.)
  7. Rough up a pattern based on swatching, charts, excel spreadsheet.  Initial write up in Word. (Now that I’m using InDesign, I don’t worry about doing any formatting in Word, though I do follow my style sheet re: what info I’m providing, the order of things, etc.)
  8. If sending in as a proposal that just requires swatch/sketch/idea, do so around this point.
  9. Get yarn support.
  10. Start knitting item.
  11. Keep notes as I go, updating any changes to chart/directions.  (I actually do a lot of updating as I go.)
  12. Try to remember to get in progress photos. (Suck at this.)
  13. Take technique videos while in progress. (This is a new thing I need to start doing.)
  14. Finish item.
  15. Weigh item, leftovers, calculate yarn used.
  16. ‘Finalize’ pattern with FO pic(s), charts, legends, layout etc in InDesign or in accordance with publisher’s requirements.
  17. If it’s going to be test knit:  get testers, make revisions/corrections found during testing, finalize pattern one more time.
  18. I knit the second item at this time from my pattern if it’s one of a pair from my final pattern.  Make any more needed corrections.
  19. Send off for tech edit.
  20. Make any really, truly final corrections.
  21. Publish! (which has a whole ‘nother checklist).

I actually don’t really refer to this that often (it’s a bit general), though it does sum up the process.  There’s just too much going on once I’m embroiled in a pattern. I do refer the the publish checklist, which I’ll talk about in another post;  it actually has concrete things to do.

Two things off the list I really ought to do more of is getting in-progress pics and doing the technique videos.

Yes, there are many, many revisions of each pattern along the way.  I’ve not listed the frogging, reknitting etc that often occurs.

I’ve learned that usually I’m not really thrilled with how something is initially going, but if I stick with it, I usually do fall in love with it.  But sometimes I don’t.  I’ve not yet learned how to distinguish, early on, whether I will love it or not.

I have learned that, if I’ve not fallen in love with it (which usually happens by the time there are enough repeats of the cable, lace, etc motif to actually see what the motif really will look like in the item), I need to frog and reassess immediately, rather than continuing and then later, after wasting more time, having to frog and reassess.

I’ve learned I’m most productive when I’m working to a deadline — it keeps me from procrastinating.  But the trade off, if the deadline is too tight, is sometimes I can’t re-do as much as I’d like.  I’m still working on the getting that balance right.

3 comments… add one
  • Robin September 25, 2010, 10:59 am

    It’s interesting to see how much really hard work goes into making a good pattern. I’m a writer and the process is so similar. In writing, I sometimes get discouraged thinking that the words should just spring from my fingers and be perfect, but there is much editing, revising, deleting that goes on – just like frogging and reknitting. 🙂

    Thank you for the window into your process!

  • Shandy September 26, 2010, 3:34 am

    How interesting! If I ever try to put elements together in a project, I have to be able to see them in reality before I can decide if they will work – and they often don’t.

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