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Resources for Beginning Designers

I’ve been designing since late 2009, and at that time, there were very few resources for beginning designers.  Association of Knitwear Designers was still around, and had a ton of info once you got in, but you had to already be designing to be considered for an associate membership.

Since then, though, there’s been, if not an explosion, a steady increase in the resources available.

Most new designers seem to be following the self publishing of PDFs route via Ravelry, Craftsy, Patternfish, and Etsy, with Ravelry being the prominent avenue.


If you’re on Ravelry, and you’re wanting to design, there are two main groups to check out for general designing info(and by check out, honestly, I recommend scanning the message threads & reading all the business-sounding ones) and one for resources (looking for an editor, etc).

Do check the various group pages for links to various groups, posts, etc.

Written Resources

Shannon Okey’s book, The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design, is also a must.

Alex Tinsley has a PDF, So You Want To Be A Knitting Designer, that’s more recent than Shannon’s book.  The amount of info isn’t as dense, but it’s also a great place to start.

Elizabeth Green Musselman has written an interactive style sheet, available through Cooperative Press.  (I just noticed there’s a crochet version by Lindsey Stephens, a fantastic crochet tech editor & designer.)

In Person Classes

Shannon Okey  occasionally teaches beginner designer classes.

I’ve taught several beginner designer classes: Becoming an Indie Designer, Pattern Pet Peeves, Creating Your Style Guide, and Working with a Tech Editor

TNNA has been offering more classes for designers with each show.  For the upcoming summer show in Indy, you can choose from the following: Technical Writing & Editing for Knitters & Crochets and Spreadsheet Savvy (basic spreadsheet info) by Edie Eckman; Magic Spreadsheet (setting up a reusable spreadsheet for grading) by Jill Wolcott and Jeane de Coster; and Pattern Writing Essentials by Therese Chynoweth.

Online Classes

Craftsy has several classes (on sale this weekend! Craftsy’s Endless Creativity Sale) that I recommend: Sizing Patterns for Knitting (Faina Goberstein), How to Say It (Edie Eckman) and Handknit Garment Design (Shirley Paden, general designing class, not grading, but has good info).




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Summer 2013 TNNA Recap

Oooh boy. First off, I got sick starting Sunday night/Monday day, and am a bit woozy still while typing this, so apologies re: the tardiness of this post & lack of pics.

TNNA went well — it’s always great to catch up with fellow designers, yarnies, etc who I only get to see once or twice a year.

I dropped off proposals & samples.  I also picked out yarn for a couple upcoming projects (thank you Felicia from Sweet Georgia, Jeane from Elemental Affects, and Sabrina from Anzula!).  I chatted with folks from different segments of the industry about possible future endeavors.

Marly’s designer dinner was fun as always (I won a prize based on my birthday being the closest, some benefit to getting older, lol).  Sponsors included Bijou Basin, Boye, Cascade, Chica, Classic Elite, Craftsy, Eucalan, Fiesta Yarns, Jill Zielinski Designs, Knit Picks, Knitterella, Kollage Yarn, Lion Brand, Love of Crochet, Love of Knitting, Malabrigo, Namaste, Prism, Red Barn Yarn, Red Heart, Rowan, Schachenmayr, Signature Needles, Stacey Charles, Sweet Georgia, The Crochet Dude, Webs, Yarnbox, & YarnSisters/ Zealana, and probably a few more I’ve forgotten.  Because I just had a carry on, and intended to leave with just a carry on, my roommate, a talented crochet designer who hadn’t gotten to go to the dinner, went home with a bunch of stuff too!  I’ll try to follow up with a couple pictures of things I brought home.

I ate at Knead (always delicious), North Market (must remember doesn’t open on Sundays til noon, and that not everything is open on Monday), and Barley (?) (the pub across the street from the Convention Center).  I missed Jeni’s due to being sick on Monday.

Columbus Pride was going on, and the Pride parade went right be the Convention Center.  Everyone seemed so happy — I’m sure there were dissenters, but I only saw crowds happy to participate in the fun.  (Can you imagine had the weekend been scheduled after the DOMA/ Prop 8 decisions?!)

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Getting Ready for Summer 2013 TNNA

It’s June, which means (at least for this year, since, as it stands right now for next year, everything’s changing)…summer TNNA!  It’s in Columbus again, so of course I’m looking forward to some ice cream from Jeni’s.   (Let alone, of course, seeing all my designer & yarnie friends who I only get to see at TNNA and conferences!)

If you’re a designer going for the first time, check out my Designers’ Guide to TNNA post here.

My list of things to do at TNNA isn’t that extravagant.  I’ve found the less I expect to do, the more that I get out of going, and the less frustrated and stressed I am before, during, and after.

I’ll be at the Cooperative Press booth helping out, of course.

I’ll be touching base with all the yarn companies who will be at TNNA who’ve given yarn support for Hitch and for my next book:  Anzula, Blue Sky Alpacas, Elemental Affects, Knit Picks, MadelineTosh, Shibui, Sincere Sheep, Sweet Georgia, & Zen Yarn Garden.  Elizabeth at Cooperative Press has told me we should have a look book for Hitch.  I’ll have a look book for my next book as well.

Roxane and Neville at Zen Yarn Garden will also get a peek at the twisted stitch cowl, the pattern for which I’m hoping to be releasing quite soon.

british blueAt the last winter TNNA, I met with Erika Knight (who is just amazingly gracious and funny).  Her US distributor, Blue Water Fibers, sent me home with a ball of her British Blue Wool in all but one color (of which they were out).  I’m planning on stopping by & dropping off proposals for some accessory patterns.

There are several designer meet ups:  Marlybird‘s designer dinner, a lunch on Sunday, the official TNNA designer/teacher meeting Sunday night, and probably more I don’t know of yet and may crash, lol.

I had an Airbnb room set up — it looked wonderful — but was too far from the convention center (didn’t find out til after booking) and had to cancel (which means it’s available to anyone who wants a bit more exercise to & from the convention center!).  I’m now sharing a room at the Crowne Plaza, which is connected to the convention center.

Are you going to TNNA?  leave a comment if you are & would like to meet up!

I still have some lovely yarn for sale, please check it out here. See books via the Amazon link.


Logos, Blogs, & Design, oh my!

For better or worse, as an indie designer, you get to learn a lot about things that seem unrelated to designing — such as html, css, web design, and so on.

Over the next week or so I’ll be totally overhauling my blog. I’m updating to Thesis 2 (I’m currently running Thesis 1.8.3), which is NOT a simple update. The entire Thesis interface totally changed, and based on the number of ‘oh my gawd I’m totally lost and don’t even know what to ask about where to start’ posts on the forum, I’m not the only one who was initially lost.

I’ve found some good tutorials (I’ll add the links later for you) and am feeling fairly confident. I’ll be playing with my veterinarian page first, setting up the various templates with that. I think I can save the ‘skin’ I make, with all the various templates, and can import it into this page.

I’m going towards a nice clean look, with a static landing page, easier navigation, and so on.

What prompted this? Well, it’s something I’ve been thinking about doing for a long time, but I also wanted to do a logo redesign, and saw no point in doing the blog when the colors, fonts, images, etc were going to be dictated by the final logo.

I worked with MJ Gumayagay and I love what she came up with! You may’ve noticed it as the new header to the blog; I added that several days ago. It’s now being used in various other places: my Ravelry group, my Mailchimp newsletter, and so on. I need to update my patterns (yet again), this time with the logo & fonts (I purchased an awesome font, Gotham, which MJ used for the SUNSET CAT DESIGNS portion of the logo).

And did you notice the colors? Turquoise, my favorite! and a nice sand-evoking taupe. The logo looks awesome in black & white as well.

What do you think?


Winter TNNA Recap

Winter TNNA was great for me.  I didn’t have many expectations (I’m not sourcing yarn for any upcoming projects;  it’s nice to not have to ask folks for yarn!) and not a lot on my to do list.

aran lace cowl green croppedI did have a few folks I needed to meet up with, and that all went fantastic.   I showed off my Achillea Cowl pattern to the folks at Dream in Color and Lorna’s Laces.

For the most part, though, I was able to touch base with other designers, see some new yarns and colorways, and help my pal Michelle.

I did pick up a few things:  a gorgeous new bag from Namaste (below, center) that I’d been coveting since TNNA last summer, some of the sharp needles from Hiya Hiya (below, right), a new interchangeables needle holder from Offhand Designs (below, right) for my new set of ChiaoGoo interchangeables that I ordered…and a selection of really nice reading glasses (to be delivered as well).

IMG_2145 IMG_2146 IMG_2144

I had a lovely chat with the folks at Koigu.  They gave me a couple lovely skeins that are just crying out for colorwork (above, left).  Michelle gave me two skeins of Tilli Tomas sock (above, right) that are also due for some serious colorworking.  The little swatching skeins are from Swans Island.

I had a serious fangirl moment with Erika Knight.  She’s gracious and funny and elegant and ever so nice — she liked my designs!  and made me swear to come back on Monday to get yarn to play with!  I got chills when she told me how much she liked California Revival Knits.  In all seriousness, I think getting validation and praise from someone you don’t know, who’s so established in the field, is one of the best things to experience and to give you a big confidence boost.

british blueHer new yarn, British Blue Wool, distributed by Blue Water Fibers, is lovely — I’m already plotting some accessory patterns that will take advantage of the yarn’s subtle luster, softness, and colorways.

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