Rainbows: The Next Step
For a couple of weeks now, I have been working on a new design. Just after my last post, I saw a call for pattern submissions from a yarn company that I really like, offering yarn support for chosen designs!
I quickly put together a proposal – by hand, unlike my previous design submissions which have been done electronically, including photographs of finished products or swatches – including a sketch, a brief written description and my contact information. I scanned it in and send it off and heard back within 24 hours. The yarn company liked it, and I’ve had the offer of yarn support to produce this pattern! I’m thrilled to be working with this yarn company and can’t wait to receive the yarn to knit my sample.
However, now I’m in a bit of a pickle. The pattern is still stuck in my head, demanding to be let out, but I don’t have the yarn to knit it. Instead of letting that stop me, I get to have a bit of fun while I wait. This past week, I’ve busted out my trusty design materials: some graph paper (I really like Engineering graph paper, because the lines are lighter on one side and the squares smaller), a calculator, wooden pencils (I don’t like mechanical ones much, anymore), my purple pencil sharpener and a good eraser (Pentel Clic Eraser, or Hi-Polymer Eraser, depending on my mood). With these simple tools, I’ve been working on drafting my pattern.
To start, I chose one size to work with. This pattern will eventually be written for sizes 1 year to 8 or 12 years (I haven’t decided for sure), but I started with the 2T size, since my friend’s daughter will be the lucky recipient of the sample and that’s her size. Starting with one size lets me work out the basics of the construction without getting bogged down in the math. I now have drawn and labeled schematics and a roughly written pattern. Small things might change as I knit the sample – I may choose to use a different style of increase or add an extra row or two here and there, but the basic structure of the garment is now sorted.
The next step will be to grade the pattern for all of the sizes. For this, I’ll end up using several different resources. The Craft Yarn Council of America’s Standard Body Sizing charts are invaluable, but for some patterns I still head to my local department store with a tape measure. A couple of years ago, Knitty published an excellent article about grading knitting patterns that I occasionally refer to, and I’m a frequent visitor to the Techknitter blog, which is full of great information. With all of these resources, however, the most important tool for grading patterns (at least for me!), is Excel, or another spreadsheet program. This makes my job so much easier!