A large part of my work this year has been pattern designing. Off the top of my head, I can think of seven patterns which I have designed and have yet to be published. Why? Mainly because there seems to be a barrier between the knitting part of my brain and the descriptive, writing part. Look see, I’ve even forgotten the word I wanted to describe being able to transfer one’s thoughts coherently into words! Oh dear.
I am a visual learner. Charts are my jam. Give me a lace chart or a cable chart and not a lot will phase me. Written knitting instructions (unless it is as simple as “knit the next twenty five rounds”) really slow me down. By the time I’ve finished reading a line on a complex pattern, I’ve forgotten the first half!
I think that I have a similar issue with pattern writing. I would love to chart everything, publish the .pdf and say “voila! Enjoy!”. However, if I want to charge for my patterns (and on the whole I quite like earning a living!) I need to offer them as well written as I can.
I have a wonderful tech editor who can make sense of the most nonsensical sentences that I can write. In at least two of my patterns I have muddled and fudged my way through an explanation of a stitch pattern and Maria has taken them and turned them into something that people outside of my brain can understand! This skill cannot be minimised, and is all the more wonderful (and humbling!) given that English is her second language!
Currently I am preparing to publish a selection of patterns designed specifically for our new Cartref Yarn line. The idea was to have the patterns ready to sell at Wonderwool Wales when we started selling the yarn. However, life and all its accoutrements got in the way and so I am still writing the patterns.
In no small part is this a result of my brain weasels being especially nasty and derogatory so far this year. A lot of my yarny friends seem to be struggling with their own mental health this year and I can sympathise completely. Add to that the sort of brain fog which leaves me struggling to separate and order my thoughts, and this has not been conducive to lucid writing.
I’ve buckled down today though. I’ve sent two patterns to my tech editor, and I’m part way through another. Which sent me here to moan and whine at you. The pattern I am currently working on is for colourwork mittens in the Scandinavian style, but I’ve added my own influence to them. Influence isn’t the word I want; what is it? Flavour? Style? (Do I have a style?!)
The mittens use two colours of yarn; in the pattern I recommend our natural undyed and then any of the colours of Cartref Yarn that you fancy to pair with it. They would all work equally well! I have made the charts and will not be writing out line by line instructions, but by necessity there is some writing and I’m really struggling. It’s the writing equivalent of the way you talk when you’re really drunk and really tired. You go round in circles for ages to get your point across when you could have used nine words and got the job done, saving much reading time, paper and ink. Much like this blog post in fact. Meandering. That’s a good word.
Maybe it’s exhaustion. Maybe it’s the three children (and the dog) taking up so much of my brain, there’s only the tiniest bit left for logical thought. Maybe I’m not actually someone who is good with words (stick to the yarn, Jennie). Maybe it’s all the depression. Whichever one it is, while Maria is willing to plough through the pattern drafts I send her way and while ideas are struggling to get out of my brain into the bright sunshiney world I will keep trying to commit those ideas to paper. You never know, one of these days I might get the hang of it!