A lot of very exciting things have been happening these past few months, one of which I’ll share now, the rest I’ll share over the coming weeks. This past week I released my very first knitting pattern, Winston the Walrus as a part of a new collaborative brand Little Woolens, created by myself and Annie Rowden (more to come on this later). I am over the moon about this, as in my own little world it’s quite the feat. Despite this particular pattern being small and simple, the process of writing it was quite involved. I am such a newbie at this, that my recount of the process will amuse some, but hopefully those who haven’t yet written a pattern or have just begun will find it as encouragement!
I first started on Winston last Fall as an idea for a gift. I couldn’t find any cute little Walrus patterns so I sat down, sketched out what I imagined he would look like and then got the graph paper out. I essentially made a chart, showing increases and decreases, where the face would be sewn and so on. This chicken scratch chart was a perfect starting point. I knew I wanted him knit in the round, but with a sort of flat-like body…with a front and a back, and fins sewn to either side. So I cast-on and took notes as I went along, writing the instructions round by round. In my over-confident mind I thought “Well, I’m pretty much done”. Wrong, so wrong. Hah!
Poor little Winston sat in my project bag for several months. Annie and I began building Little Woolens and soon realized that Winston would be a perfect fit for our first pattern release. I began knitting another Winston, this time following my previously documented instructions, making edits along the way. I sent Annie the “pattern” to review. She has been doing this far longer than I and was more than gracious as she helped edit the pattern and taught me as we went along. So many important details and thought go into writing patterns.
After the numerous edits, I hired a tech editor to review the pattern. Before this experience I hadn’t been familiar with tech editing. It’s invaluable and I have come to believe that for anyone serious about writing knitting patterns, they should make the investment. It’s reasonably priced and a quick google search will tell you everything you need to know about hiring a tech editor.
Another valuable step in the pattern writing process is test knitting. Test knitters come in all shapes and sizes as do the specific needs for them. Because of the general simplicity of this pattern, I opened it up to anyone who was willing to test and announced it on my Instagram. I had several volunteers and sent them the pattern along with a basic questionnaire about how the pattern worked for them, etc. The response was really great and the test knitting process found a few things that needed further clarifying in the pattern. Aside from the obvious testing of the pattern, test knitters help build community and generate excitement around your design.
Annie and I worked on a template for our Little Woolens patterns and after taking updated photos the pattern was officially done. I worked to setup my Ravelry designer page and we released him last week to much encouragement!
You can find the pattern here.
Right now we’re working on several other patterns for the upcoming launch of Little Woolens. Stay tuned for more exciting updates and thank you to all who helped and encouraged, you’re amazing!
Here are a few Winston’s people have been working on…
From top-bottom: @toltyarnandwool / @homesweethomestead / @littlebobbins / @NeigedeLouAnge / @byannieclaire