Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Adventures in pattern writing, part 2

I am overwhelmed by the fact that for about 24 hours now, I actually have a published pattern in knitty! I can't believe it, so I thought I'd re-visit the journey of the pattern today. I present The Story of the "Back to School" Washcloth Pattern on knitty:

From 6/20/06:
I'm writing some new patterns today and I feel compelled to share the dirty truth about what has happened thus far.

1. This morning I came up with a "brilliant" idea, and needed specific yarn for it. I thought I would be clever and go to a different store than I usually go to. There I was met with terrible choices and funny colors in the ONE kind of yarn I needed. There wasn't enough to finish this project. I bought it anyway.

2. Cast on! This is going to be great. I'll start with a different cast on method than what I usually use so the finished piece with have more stretch.

3. After knitting a while, I see the cast on edge is lumpy and scrappy. I hate it and pull the whole thing out to start over. No biggie. This is part of designing.

4. I go back to the trusty long-tail cast on and knit one row. Now I'm getting there. I do the first two edge stitches in garter and start the lace pattern. I get to the end of the row and I am two stitches short. I realize I have cast on two extra stitches for the garter border instead of two extra stitches on BOTH sides. I pull it out and start over.

5. I finally cast on the right number of stitches. I knit the two repeat sections of lace (18 rows). Knit the center panel (24 rows). I take a good look at my progress. Hmmm, there's something off here. It's the gauge. It's not going to be tight enough for the duplicate stitches. What size needles am I using anyway? 8? That's weird. I'm supposed to be using 7's.

6. Pull the whole thing out. Do I have it in me to start over again? Did I mention I'm trying to get it done in time to submit it for consideration for the fall knitty? The deadline is in 10 days. And I have eye surgery tomorrow.

The next day, 6/21/06, pre-surgery:

I got through the first part late last night! So far so good. I cast on for the second part and knit a while before going to bed and guess what? I MADE THE SAME MISTAKE. I forgot to cast on extra stitches for the border again. You think the making that mistake once was terrible enough I would never do it again, much less immediately again.

Also, I have a new pain in the area just below the thumb. That's not going to be a problem is it? I'm not going to tell anyone about it; I have a lot of knitting to do... I'm going to get Lasik today. Maybe I can convince Alex we have time to swing by Joann's to pick up more yarn on the way? Eye surgery or not, I'm still under deadline.

Thursday, 6/29/06, One day before submission deadline:

Today is really the last day to finish up the secret knitting project and I have been making all kinds of glorious errors knitting this stuff. The project involves lettering, which I keep doing upside down. I have made this mistake three times now. THREE times. I should be able to spend part of the afternoon taking pictures of all this knitting in the sun. The hot, humid, miserable sun.

Friday, 6/30/06. D-Day (deadline day):

I did it! I submitted my first pattern to knitty! I feel proud of myself and at the same time embarrassed that I am publicly admitting that I actually think I could actually have a pattern published there. I'm not good enough. O mine ego, you are a complicated beast.

Here is another peek at one of the MANY mistakes I made while writing the pattern. Please note that the completed project is not simply a cute washcloth, okay? That said, I thought a cabled washcloth would be cute. I am talking about a washcloth that needs to be blocked. I ask you, what use is a washcloth that needs to be blocked? Nevermind the unpleasantness of working cables into cotton yarn. I'm not even going to mention that.

Obviously, It didn't make the cut. Anyone want THAT pattern!?

Sunday, 7/16/06:

Jumping up and down. About to faint. Hyperventilating. Freaking out.

Remember the secret pattern I was writing about at the end of June? Since then, I'm not exactly waiting for a rejection letter, but assuming it will come in the next month or two. And then today I get an email from Knitty so I KNOW it's going to be that rejection letter but it's not.

What? They liked my pattern? I'm going to have a pattern in the fall issue! Please don't change your mind. Please.

Yelling. Crying. Happy. Skipping the length of my apartment. Shock. Doubt. Re-read email. It's real.

Today, 9/12/06:

I better start on that pattern I want to submit for the winter issue!


AR said...

Funny story. I knit like that all of the time. Mistakes, I mean. haha

nihal said...

i really love your pattern at the first sight and i have to tell you that it's like a breeze in this issue. i will definetely knit up these. .they look very nice. thanks!

Julia (MindofWinter) said...

Congrats! I don't even knit washcloths and I think this idea is adorable - very, very clever. I think everyone who has ever been published is shocked that it happens the first time. I agonized over Honeymoon, and then once it was up, I checked to see it almost every day for a month. It's natural. Anyhoo - your design idea is great and the execution and photography are wonderful. You should be proud. The Angelenos ruled this issue - from beginning to end!

MindofWinter Julia

Anonymous said...

Hi, I love your pattern. I am a novice so it's nice to see a pattern in knitty that I can actually do! Thanks for letting me see that experienced knitters make mistakes and get frustrated too :)

Star said...

How sweet! Thanks to everyone for your comments. I feel like a real knitter now!

Anonymous said...

Your washcloths made it on the Craftzine blog. Congrats.


Star said...

Wow! That's awesome! Thank you twilight for the head's up. I had no idea...

Leslie said...

Love, love, love the washcloths! Great idea!