I’m excited and scared. Do you know the feeling? I feel it every time I take a big step in life. I felt it when I chose the topic for my college thesis and dove into research, and when I turned the finished thesis in. I felt it after college, when I moved to Germany without any real connections to the country, when I moved back to Germany for a man I’d met there, and when I married that man. I felt it when I started Yarn Birdy. The excited feeling is really good, one of the best feelings in the world. It tells me: this next step could really be something special. I could do without the scared feeling though. I’m not sure why that scared part is even there, trying to frighten me away from something potentially wonderful. Whatever its reason, I have to take deep breaths and move forward through the fear one tiny step at a time.
What am I excited and scared about this time? Well, I finally finished a draft of my Lasse the Whale knitting pattern, and submitted it for test knitting.
Say what, Alexis? All your talk of college theses and getting married made me think you were going to announce something really big.
This IS feeling really big. It’s a step I’d been thinking about for months, and I’m finally moving forward.
Writing patterns for sale is a whole different beast to knitting finished products for sale. For me, it’s a whole lot harder! I’m not, by nature, a perfectionist. For example: I’m envisioning knitting a whale, and I need decrease stitches to round down the nose. I’ll decide to knit every two stitches together as one (k2tog), and it doesn’t bother me one tiny bit if I have an uneven number of stitches and I have to knit three together (k3tog) somewhere in the row for the math to work out. To my eye, (and I get the impression my customers agree with me) these kinds of imperfections make no difference on the finished toy. But as I was writing up the pattern, I started wondering if things like this would bug other knitters. If one stitch is going to have to be k3tog should this be at the beginning, the end or in the middle? I suddenly have to make this decision, and it should feel logical and clever to the knitter who buys the instructions. I never realized how peppered my patterns are with these kinds of little choices until I decided to write one up for sale.
Also, how do you measure how many meters of yarn each project uses, if it just uses some amount from one skein? Do you actually take the remaining yarn from the skein, stretch it out against a measuring tape and then subtract the number you get from the total length of the skein? I’m facing tons of questions like this as I work on this project.
Like I said, I wrote a draft, checked it many times over for errors, and then submitted it to a testing group on Ravelry. (Free Pattern Testers has so far been incredibly helpful for a nervous newbie like me. If you’re thinking of ever writing up patterns for sale, I highly recommend joining this group.) Happily, a number of friendly knitters volunteered right away to be testers. Only a couple days in, and they already have dozens excellent of suggestions to improve my pattern (and I thought the pattern didn’t need that much more work. hah!)
I’m not sure when Lasse the Little Blue Whale Pattern will be available for sale, because I’m not selling it until it’s really good. For the next couple of days (or weeks!) though, I’ll be working hard on it, feeling excited and scared as I make progress.