Crisis of Design Faith

July 16, 2014 § 2 Comments

Hello, lovely readers. I’m having a wee bit of a crisis of design faith. Not in my ability to design beautiful things. I like my designs, a lot. That’s actually part of the problem: I have at least 30 designs in various stages that I love and that I really, really want to make. But the work of turning them into patterns is tremendous and time consuming, and it’s also not cheap, and right now I’m not in a position where I can stop doing what I’m doing for a Real Job (nor do I want to — I love my job and it gives me a great deal of personal fulfillment and satisfaction to help other knitters and crocheters!) in order to design full-time.

I have seen very little $$ return from my self-published stuff, which I think is more due to lack of effort to market/sell on my part than anything else, but I’m not sure I really want to put more effort into marketing because that’s not something I enjoy (though I do really need to get this website redone either way, which would be a good first step). Also, designing for patterns (as opposed to designing just so I have the thing I imagined) means I need to use reasonably available yarns, which often means I need to go out and buy yarn instead of using something old and discontinued from my stash. And, if I’m going to continue on and be serious about it — and if I’m not going to be serious about it, why continue on? — I need to put myself on a strict production schedule, which sucks some of the fun out of it.

On the other hand, I really enjoy designing. Not just the “fun” stuff of the initial creation, but the problem solving and grading and charting…all of it. BUT, if I take the time to do all of the grading etc. to every design I will never be able to make all of the things I want to make (and that’s not even including all of the beautiful things by OTHER designers that I’d like to make!). I’ve already pretty much decided to give up magazine design work, mainly because I don’t get to keep the samples and even if I did, they’re not generally in my size and I just don’t have the time to reknit them in my size (someday we’ll talk about how I’m a ridiculously slow knitter). I design things I love and want to wear, so not having one for me just kills me sometimes (Tonks’ Togs, I’m looking at you). So maybe the answer is to publish only accessories — things like cowls that don’t need to be sized out and graded — and to make garments for just for me (or whoever) as one-offs, not to be published.

But now I’m thinking of a couple of garments that I really, really want to design — like, not just make the sample but design and see the finished pattern out there in the wild for others to make. And I’m thinking I want to get into tech editing, too (see above re: grading is fun for me). I honestly don’t know what the answer is going to be. But I need to figure it out and right quick, because this indecisiveness has mired me down and I’m not even getting some of it done.

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§ 2 Responses to Crisis of Design Faith

  • Kathleen says:

    Do you put your designs on Ravelry? I have a friend that does a lot of designs and she makes money this way. She also has a bunch of friends that will help her by knitting her patterns so that she doesn’t have to always be the one to test them. I’m happy to put you in touch with her if you want some recommendations/advice. Not sure if this is helpful, but she’s the only other one I know that has lots of designs.

    • Laura says:

      I do have my designs on Ravelry – it’s really a matter of not marketing them well (at all, really), and I think also a little bit of not having had them tech edited (which I was/am fixing), and not having great photography (which is fixable but time consuming and/or expensive). Test knitters are great, but don’t solve the problem of having a finished product for me to have/wear myself. :-)

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