Friday, July 17, 2009

Behind the Scenes

Hi Knitters,
So how does a sketch in a sketchbook get turned into a published pattern?

Behind the scenes of any creative endeavor is my favorite place to be. I love taking a look at how things come to be especially when it concerns design. You know when knitting designers are interviewed and they get asked about their design process or how they started knitting? That's my favorite part. I want to learn how they come up with ideas and patterns. That's the juicy interesting part.

Today I want to share a taste of how one of my Spud & Chloë patterns came to be. I had been asked to do a couple of specific things for the brand launch. The Baby Bartlett set and the Camp Hoodie are the patterns I did on request. 

After I had finished those I started looking at the yarn samples they had sent me. I loved the colors and the feel of the yarns so on my own I continued on. I started sketching out a couple of hats. One of which is pictured above. The sketch is nothing fancy but I had my eye on one of my favorite color combinations blue and brown and cream. I knew these colors together would make my sketch come to life. 
I began an Inca style hat with ear flaps in Spud & Chloë Sweater yarn in Toast, Ice Cream, Rootbeer, and Splash. I used a slight variation on the waffle stitch for the base of the hat and then for the top I used more of the signature Itty-Bitty Hats knit rounds with a purl round thrown in to differentiate the stripes. I love all of the texture playing around with the striping colors.
I pulled out my trusty Pom Tree and got busy with the poms and tassels. I have a tutorial on how this great tool works if you are interested. Here's where you can choose if you want to include all of the poms or just a few or none at all. The hat looks great on its own without the extras. Of course, I think it is more playful with all of the poms and tassels included!
I lined the hat with an off-white fleece. I have a tutorial on how to line a hat if you are interested. I was thrilled with the outcome when I was done. I thought I would send a picture to the Spud & Chloë people to see if they felt the same way. Sometimes it is hard to try for things out of the blue, I guess out of fear of rejection. I usually do it anyway. I always tell myself the worst thing that can happen is that they will say no. That's not that bad of thing to happen. I've dealt with way worse than that in my life. After I start thinking who cares if they say no I can easily click on that send button. It's not a big deal. You could do that, too. How do you know if you don't even try?

Guess what? They loved it, too. I quickly wrote up the pattern, threw the knitted hat in a box and sent everything off to Minnesota, where the Spud & Chloë headquarters is located. Now, Blue Sky Alpacas and Spud & Chloë are top-notch in that they go the extra-mile when it comes to their patterns. They have a long line of support of technical editors and test knitters for every pattern they publish. Every pattern is scoured by editors and tested by actually knitting the pattern. This is not always done by other publishers by any means. Even better, most of the time one of the staff members knits the project so they are familiar with the pattern and can answer questions as they come up right at the office. 

There simply isn't the time or money for a lot of companies to do the step of actually having someone knit out the entire pattern. Due to the fact that this is a small company that is completely dedicated to the highest quality of products and service they can take the time to get things right. It isn't about cranking out high quantities of anything. It is quality first. Does that mean there aren't ever errors in the patterns? No, that's impossible. However, there are very few errors and they are immediately corrected and posted.

The hat ended up being knitted up in different colors for the photo shoot to fit in better with the color scheme of the pattern line. The sample hat in the photos is not lined. You can make the hat either way and it works out great. The pattern photo is fantastic and playful and downright fun. I love that little girl, she looks so happy and energetic. Isn't her hair beautiful? The hat was named Flap Happy Hat by the company. Perfect name choice. A lot of the models are staff members' children, friends and family. The entire pattern line was shot on the company owner's property. It is all down-home. 

Here are some places you can purchase the yarn and pattern for this hat or any of the Spud & Chloë patterns with a stop in the shop, call or online:

Okay, I hope people are checking in today because I am going to be on a live web cam show tonight at 7pm central time. I am not sure how this works at all so it could be some fun(ny) viewing if you are home and looking for something to do. Here is the link for the live show tonight. It is called Stitch & Dish. I hope to see you there or rather you'll see me, right? I might have to run a brush through my hair today!

Have a great Friday, Knitters.
See you soon.
best, susie