behind the scenes, tips and tricks

Tutorial Choices

I love love sharing the different tricks I discover, learn and to take a word from Elizabeth Zimmerman, unvent.

There are many ways to share those. In person and that is my favorite. Through photo tutorials, which I have done a few of and the easiest for us all I think, video tutorials.

These take me the least time, though they still take quite a bit of time. The majority of my videos are hosted on YouTube. A few strays are on Instagram. I like YouTube because they make it easy to make the videos have subtitles. That makes the directions available to a wider audience. Between the audio and two kinds of visual, video and written in the subtitles, it hits nearly all of the learning types. I have started adding swatch directions to the videos so that you can swatch along with me and that hits the tactile learner.

If you prefer photo tutorials, simply pause the video and now you have a still picture of what it is you’re trying to do. Only you get to choose what the photo is of.

Here is the link to the spreadsheet of ALL the tutorials I have done. The Tiktoks are slowly being redone into YouTubes. The Tiktoks I guess are still there and the links will moved to the “TikToks” tab as I replace them. There is also a tab for the few photo tutorials I have done. The remaining tabs are all for different kinds of videos; crochet, knit, other…

If there is ever a stitch, technique or something that you’d like me to share please let me know by commenting on this post or messaging me on IG or click over to the contact page and let me know!

Happy Making!

behind the scenes, linen and lace

Linen and Lace

I’ve been working on this swatch for a while now. Ripping and redoing. The linen, cotton blend yarn I’m using wasn’t happy about it so I changed over to using some fingering weight super wash wool and it is taking the ripping so much better.

Yesterday after teaching Estonian lace at Yarnfest I grabbed my bag of design bits I brought with me and headed back downstairs to work on this swatch yet again.

I have a lace stitch dictionary that I had marked multiple stitch patterns in. The one I had started with wasn’t great and wasn’t laying correctly with the miter in the middle.

I surveyed my options and chose a pattern with an 8 row repeat, that is mostly knit. Below is what I got.

I am so very happy with it!

This morning after breakfast I got it charted up and then printed it out here in the business center at the hotel. So convenient!

Here is what I have to show for the afternoon of stitching. I like the pattern and am only questioning one thing, does it need more edge stitches before the eyelets? It isn’t going to roll but I think it would look neater, more finished.

I have started writing the directions and they need a bit of help. Over all it is a simple pattern, I’m struggling with communicating the repeat correctly and completely.

Now to go rip and add some edge stitches.

Happy making!

Brick and Mortar

From Design Idea to Published Pattern

This topic can be approached from a couple of different directions and might become lengthy. I will start with the approach of what I as a designer of crochet and knit patterns experience in my personal design process.

First of all the design process is exactly that, personal. It is different for everyone and everyone has a different approach and way that they deal with it.

For me most often the yarn comes first, not always but usually. I see a yarn and I love something about it; fiber, color, weight… So I buy it. Sometimes when I buy it, I will have a basic idea in mind of what this yarn might become. This helps me know how much to buy.

Next I begin swatching. This process can take a lot of time. If I am designing an ethnic piece using what I’ve learned from the techniques that have been written down, then this part of the process will include time doing more research so I know, to the best of my ability, I am doing the best I can by the technique and preserving as much of it as possible. When I publish an “ethnic” design I say that this piece is done in the style of… It will never fully belong to any ethnicity, because I am 100% American made. My family has been here so long that my heritage has been lost.

Swatching is the process of choosing a needle or hook that I like with the yarn and choosing a stitch pattern as well.

If you have been following the blog you may have seen that I have been working on a mitered square piece. One morning on my walk, I thought “What would happen if the line in the miter was off center…” When I got home I pulled out needles and yarn and tried it in knitting. Below is what happened.

I will continue swatching and trying different things until I have something I like. This doesn’t mean it is the final and that it is what will be published. That might change as the larger finished piece comes to life, during fitting or if I have another idea along the way. That’s why there are 2 different reversible hat patterns in my design library. The stockinette was the original idea and the ribbed was the new idea along the way. Both of these ideas were good and both made it to publish.

Next for me, I get the piece started and far enough along that I feel comfortable to begin writing the pattern out for others. Prior to this it is just notes and drawings in my notebook and on my phone. I wait because I don’t like to edit the “final ish” directions again and again if I make changes early on. This is how I miss key details that I changed in the piece but not in the directions.

For the next piece I don’t really have a standard of how I do it. Sometime I have completely finished the pattern before it goes to tech edit and testing. Since I have started using a Tech Editor it always goes in that order, but the final piece isn’t always completed. Sometimes though the piece has been finished so long and been worn or used so much that I need to make a new one for photos.

During the stitching process I make a lot of other small swatches too. These are used in my technique and stitching videos which I am working hard to include in each new pattern and in the patterns that I have started refreshing.

I do my own camera set up, shooting, editing and uploading. This is a process but I am grateful for all that I have learned from it along the way. The videos I have made and uploaded can be found here.

Tech editing and testing can take anywhere from a month to 3 months, depending on what the piece is. I have 4 tech editors I am working with. They each have a different specialty. I found them through The Tech Editor Hub.

When the file is returned from the tech editor, I make my changes and then send out the file to the testers. To recruit testers I use a service called Yarnpond. As a designer I pay per test and the the testers don’t pay anything to get to be testers. I like this platform and the tools it provides me. If you would like to sign up to be on my tester list outside of Yarnpond, click here

When the testing deadline comes, I collect the info and input they gave. If there was something big enough along the way there might be changes to the file and it gets sent out again. All the changes get put in. I add photos and the links to the videos. I do photo editing in Affinty Photo, colleges and pages in Canva and bring it all together in Affinty Publisher. These programs are worth every penny for me to keep my work looking consistent and cohesive.

Then it’s time for publishing! I am currently publishing on 2 platforms, Ravelry and PayHip and am working on a 3rd, Making. The first 2 I can upload and run from the computer and have been around a while. Making is barely out of beta testing and is only available on the phone, through the app. They have big plans and that takes time and I’m happy to be part of the early ground work process.

All told, depending on the muse, the process from idea to published pattern might take 6 months, could be as little as 6 weeks though. I love my design process and am happy I change things up along the way if needed.

What else would you like to know about my design process? Drop a comment below and I’ll share.

Happy making!

behind the scenes, Swatching

Knitted Mitered Squares

A swatch of course.

I tried a couple of different increases to see which one I liked best. Blocking will tell the final story but that won’t happen until tomorrow.

Then I tried two different bind off methods to see which one most closely matched the give and stretch of the slipped stitch side. Above is the normal bind off and below is what I learned when working lace, that one is the winner.

Front and back views are important and help to avoid surprises later. I measured this one too but since I used different increases, bind offs and want to block it, it isn’t the final measurements.

The last thing that I have to play with is joining and the best way to do that. I want it to be a join as you go piece and I want it to look nice in both sides, even when joining different colors.

After I get the knitted ones figured out, I will start on the crocheted ones. I think some parts of that might be easier but only time will tell.

behind the scenes

Mitered Squares

I have finally finished that last project and now I can start another! I’m not a monogamous stitcher but I do try to limit myself and meet the same deadlines I give my testers.

I will be starting a mitered squares baby blanket. This one will be knit but I also have plans for a crocheted version as well. I have already searched a bit to see how mitered squares work.

When I want to do something that is new to me I search the internet first to get an idea of what has been done.

The knitted ones I found, no I didn’t look at ALL of them on the internet, we’re made by decreasing. I don’t want that for this project, that’s more work than I want to put in this go around. I’m thinking more of a recipe so that the blanket can made any size, with any square size, using any yarn you want.

I also want to make this a join as you go, modular piece, maybe with different square sizes but we’ll see about that last part.

Comment below what size squares you’d like to make and what you would make from them.

Happy Making!

behind the scenes, Brick and Mortar, Swatching

More Swatches

I’m sure you all probably think that all I do is swatch because that’s mostly what I’ve been sharing here. The swatches are needed but also I have been only working on one project and it can only be shred so much.

These swatches are needed for a video shoot later this week. They are videos for the Brick and Mortar Accessory patterns that will be released next week.

I will be shooting videos for both knit and crochet and for both right and left hand knitters and crocheters.

Here are my swatches or the beginnings of them and a note for what I’m doing. I shoot in batches but don’t edit that way. This combination works best for me.

Some are specific stitch techniques and some are finishing techniques. I love to help stitchers learn something new and level up their stitches.

What would you like to learn?

behind the scenes, Swatching

Swatching at the Coffee Shop

One of things I have added to my weekly routine this year is going and working on the computer at the coffee shop down the street. I am not a coffee drinker but they made their own chai and it is good.

I also take along a bit of yarn and either needles or hooks to work on an idea between files. Today is some orange worsted weight from Cascade and crocheting mitered squares.

I’m using my newest crochet hook. It is from Crochic Styles and I love their work!

The sounds of the steamer and espresso machine as well as the click, clack, ding of a type writer fill the air. This is a coffee where people come to hang out and work. There’s a psychology professor, a prepped and many others who come through. I’m not distracted by their conversations but I do “listen” with interest.

These are my swatches for the afternoon. At 9 is single crochet, noon is double crochet and 6 is half double crochets. I am doing them with increasing because then you can stop when it’s the size you want instead of guessing.

The crochet hook is called Say Yes! and is a size J.

The files I was working on are for a workshop that I am hoping to launch in April. I will be doing a beta test of it, if you want to be part of it sign up for my newsletter because that’s where I’ll share that info.

Happy Making!

behind the scenes, Brick and Mortar

New Shooting Configuration

As I have said before I am pretty much a one woman show. I shoot the majority of my footage on my own.

I recently tried a new set up and I love it!

I changed the recording quality on my camera to be higher just to see the difference and whoa, it is amazing!

This is a Nikon DSLR. It’s the 2nd one I’ve owned. I use this primarily for shooting videos. Stills look better from my phone because it has more mega pixels. I don’t replace this one because the shooting modes are plenty for making the videos I make.

The DSLR is mounted to a boom arm that I bought last year. That is mounted to a tripod that I have been hauling around for 20 years. I was given to me by my father in law back when I was still using film.

Light comes from 2 locations other than natural from the sliding door you see in the background.

A small light mounted on a tripod shown above and a ring light near the camera shown below.

This mic came as part of a kit for something I’m not sure why I bought. It helps pick up sound so much better, sorry about the birds in the background. Having this mic here means I don’t have to scream or try to project and hope my voice is picked up.

The remaining free space is almost all available for me to move around and still be in the shot. There is a screen on the camera that I can turn around and see what’s in the shot.

Here is the link for the video I made during this session. Click through and see what you think.

Happy Making!

Moments on the Blog, Uncategorized

Roll film…

Here’s a peek behind the recording scenes. I put this set up in my dining room and shot some bits and pieces for workshops and an upcoming blog category.

I kept it simple and my clothes simple as well so that I can replicate it all again. I am enjoying filming and editing. I can’t wait for you all to experience my first workshop.

The new blog category will be called “Momants on the Blog”. They will be random of moments of something fiber related. Sometimes shot on the set you see above and others out in the wild.

If there is a Moment you’d like to have please comment below.

First workshop will be available in my Payhip shop the end of April. Watch here and on Instagram for more info.

behind the scenes

So it begins…

I received happy mail from Canada today.

2 skeins of DK weight non super-wash wool.

I love the yarn from Campfiber Yarns! She does some great things and you should check it out.

These 2 skeins are hopefully going to become accessories. Hats and mitts, both crochet and knit.

I have no clue what the pattern will be yet, I just knew I wanted some yarn in this fabulous color. Making a hat and mitts from one skein of DK I think will be a neat gift idea for the future.

I have them all wound up and ready to go. I won’t use them to swatch out ideas, I will use some DK I have left over from another recent project. Look for swatches probably next week.