I’m embarking on a project pattern refreshing some unsung heroes in my pattern catalog. So much happens after the publication of a design as a pattern that, aside from how how great the original was, it may benefit from pattern refreshing.
I have put off even thinking about this for a while because it is a daunting task. I’m not really one for looking back, preferring to focus on what I want to do going forward. I have been looking at it through a different lens lately and, for a multitude of reasons, it has become something I plan to put some energy into over the next couple of years.
Pattern Refreshing With New Yarn
Well that is bound to be fun, right? Choosing new yarn give me an opportunity to see things differently, and choosing new yarn the best! So yes, fun, but it is just the beginning and there are so many elements to consider.
Why does the pattern refreshing require new yarn? Sometimes yarns are no longer available or the yarn is not widely available, the color is discontinued, I no longer have a supportive relationship with that yarn company, or I just want to try something new.
Finding the right yarn means you have to consider a variety of factors: fiber content, weight and structure of the yarn, and the stitch pattern(s) used. Color is always a consideration for the design and for photography, and for how the photographed garment is seen.
Ultimately I decide on the yarn for a design or pattern refreshing based on my experience and swatching to make sure it works the way I think it will.
Pattern Refreshing the Document
I’ve been working on pattern refreshing the pattern document in two ways:
Revising the visual format of the pattern itself. I’ve changed the layout and presentation of information and some visual elements within my existing format. This is incredibly difficult to do because I like my patterns, but things change, and format changes were in order. I’ve done test knits to try to find sticking points in using my patterns, and I have addressed those issues.
Refreshing pattern language and voice. I have been working on this casually in the pattern recipes I have made available in the past couple of months. In the recipes I’ve put in comments about why I do things along with the pattern instructions. I think this has made it easier for some knitters to do what I am telling them to do. Since I learned pattern writing as a formal process, working with other publishers for whom space was always an issue, I have tended to be spare in my explanations. I think that having a more active voice within the patterns will make them more appealing to use.
Pattern Refreshing the Samples
The new yarn has to be worked up into a new sample. As you may know, I don’t do the actual sample knitting unless it is something small. I don’t have time, and I’m not good at noticing problems in my own patterns. I pay sample knitters to work from the new pattern. Part of their job is to alert me of problems. I try to pay decently for this, although I can’t pay extravagantly. This part of pattern refreshing is time consuming and costly.
Pattern Refreshing the New Pattern
A technical editor edits the pattern whenever changes are made, even if there are just formatting changes. Since I will be adding in new language, this editor (or a separate one) must be comfortable with context and language. My patterns are really long so the editor has to have some stamina! This is a cost that is well balanced against having few (hopefully none) errors that I have to contend with later on. I’m happy to answer questions about my patterns, but I would rather they not be about errors!
Pattern Refreshing Photography
This is a real sticking point for me. It is costly, it is difficult to find models who look lovely and realistic, and then there is styling. So this is an entirely different perspective, which takes a lot of thought. I have not been as attentive to it as I should have been, so as I’m going through all of the above, I’m considering this angle as well.
Pattern Refreshing Test Knits
For some of the patterns I will be looking for knitters to test knit the project. I will set up test knits as I get the patterns ready, but nothing will be ready until April. On release of the final pattern each test knitter gets the final pattern. Test knitter use their own yarn and the final project is theirs. Test knitters must work the pattern as it is presented (no substituting techniques), on a specified deadline. I request weekly status photos of the project. Discussions take place on a a thread on Ravelry or elsewhere that I set up and I am there to answer questions along the way.
Interested? Email me to tell me what kind of project you are interested in and yarn weights you like to work with. Want me to consider refreshing a pattern? Let me know which one.