It’s a funny thing, this whole designer life. They warn you that you won’t make money, they warn you that there are 50 “No’s” for every one “Yes”. What they don’t warn you about is how much time and energy this whole adventure takes.
Allow me to tell you the tale of two shawls. You see, it was the spring of 2015, shortly after Stitches West. Ah, Stitches West, that beautiful weekend in February where I dive face first into fiber arts goodness, catch up with amazing friends I only see once a year, and walk away inspired to do ALL THE THINGS (seriously though, this is where I first spun on a spinning wheel, where I first wove on a loom. It’s a dangerously wonderful weekend for me).
So, being inspired and wanting to do all the things, I had a BRILLIANT idea for a shawl, inspired by the rising/setting sun. In fact, I was so inspired that this shawl was going to be part one of a two part set! Sun and Moon (ah, but that is not the second shawl in this story. Fooled you, didn’t I?). At the time, I was working at my LYS, and the enablers in charge did everything in their power to support my design ambitions. So, after some deliberation, a bit of math, and color perusal (a delicious red-orange and a cheery yellow), I set forth on my mission to create the shawl inspired by the sun! Weeks and months went by as I tried working on this shawl to get it completed so I could write up the pattern. Finally finished with it, I blocked it and wore it around while working at the shop.
I. STOPPED. TRAFFIC. Okay, maybe not traffic, but I definitely recall many individuals asking me where I got the pattern and when I would be releasing the pattern when they found it was my design. So I wrote up part of a draft of my pattern and handed it off to two of my coworkers for test knitting, and that’s where I got stalled. You see, I had taken notes on what I did to create this beautiful piece of work, but the trouble was translating it (specifically the edging) into something EVERYONE could understand. Weeks turned into months, life happened, I got distracted by the next shiny object, and before I knew it Stitches West was rapidly approaching again. Gotta get that pattern done, gotta get it done for Stitches!
Stop the presses! The yarn company I had used for the initial design has discontinued the colorways I knit it in, and there isn’t a comparable red-orange in their yarns. Crap, crap, crap! The shawl was DESIGNED to look like the sun, and another color combination wouldn’t convey my vision correctly. It HAD to be this color combo. So, I did the next best thing… I contacted my friends at Neighborhood Fiber Co. to see if they could help. We chatted a bit at Stitches West, and Karida (who I all kinds of adore, lemme tell you) set me up with 4 skeins of Neighborhood Fiber Company’s Rustic Fingering in Eastern Market and Del Sol. So, I very happily ran up to my hotel room (where I happened to have a swift and ball winder, because, well… you never know!) and cast on for the Sun inspired shawl 2.0 that evening. I worked on it throughout the weekend, joking with friends in the lobby at Stitches that the color choices struck the perfect balance between mustard and ketchup.
I knit shawl 2.0 in about 4 months off and on. I wrote up the pattern, being more careful in how I was wording things. I sent the pattern draft off to my tech editor (shout out to all the fabulous tech editors out there, we designers would be lost without you!). I got a brief bulleted list of edits and suggestions to make, and then I lost momentum. You see, I work full time for a tech company in Silicon Valley; and I sing in, am on the board of directors of, and handle the marketing for a local community chorus. I’m VERY busy, pretty much all the time. So when work gets even crazier, something has to give. Unfortunately for me, that was designing. It was the only thing I could put on the back burner, where I felt like I wasn’t letting someone else down.
A few months later, something amazing happened. I was able to transition into a new role at work. One that meant having my weekends free to do as I please. I was over the moon happy as I began transitioning into my new role at work. I wasn’t sure how it would all play out, but I had a feeling that this was going to be the change I needed.
I’m now two months into my new role at work, and things are going great. I’ve had some time to catch up on rest, I’m crafting more, and most importantly I’m eager to pick up the designer baton (magic wand?) again! Usually I get inspired coming down from Stitches West, but this year I feel energized and inspired going INTO it. Oh, and the shawl pattern? I’ve sent the revisions back to my tech editor, and it should be in the test knitting stage soon.