Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Brain-Sesh Winner!

We've got a winner to last week's contest!

Ariel A, come on down! Let's figure out how to promote the bajeezes out of your patterns, shall we?

Want to learn more about Designer Brain-Seshing, or book your own? The full info is rightathisway.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

My favorite knits for SPRING!

Spring is here!! The wait was long and tiresome in Michigan, but it's here at long last. Still, the coming of spring is always a little bittersweet, as we put away many of our wooly goodies until next year (okay, I'mma be honest, I wear my wool hats in the middle of July. But I'm an odd duck, I know.)

Still, you don't have to abandon your knits entirely- especially in this delightful "sweater weather"! Here are some of my favorite knits (mine and otherwise) for the warmer seasons:


Jelly Bean Tee: Sarah Burghardt's awesome embellished tee project is a great way to use leftover sock yarn and oversized-but-still-nice tees. And the finished result is downright saucy!


Lutine: I don't know why, but something about this hat just doesn't feel wintery to me. I wear it much more in spring and fall. 


Principesa: Whose balls do I gotta wind to get a Sexy Knitter dress into my wardrobe, stat? (The sad answer is "my own, and then knit them" and I ain't got time for that. Sigh.) 


Sharona: This cowl is feather-light, well-ventilated, and great for cool spring evenings. 


Heart Me Forever: You may know Lauren Riker best as the winner of the Fiber Factor, but she also has a ton of wonderful warm-weatherish (and some "indoor only unless you're quite brave") patterns, including this stunning skirt. 


Forager: This sleeveless, loose-knit, crepey silk is the perfect summer knit (but add on the handy cowl for cooler evenings.) 


Helike: MORE LIKE ME-LIKE, HARHARHAR. No but seriously, I'll never accept that hats are a winter-only accessory, and this cute thang with it's lace and cheery brim is perfect for warmer weather.


Camino Bubbles: If you like color and lace and you're not already acquainted with the work of Kieran Foley, You should remedy that immediately. Because, WOW. 


Northern Line: It's finally the right season for short-sleeved sweaters! Hooray!


Cobweb: Boo Knits' faded palette and delicate lacework absolutely make me swoon (and make me wish, passionately, that I was more into lace knitting. I may just need to suck it up and make a few.)


Hekla: Ah Cirilia, will you ever stop driving us wild with your ridiculously stylish designs? (Probably not.) This one mixes my affection for gradient stripes with my affection for neutrals and basically breaks my heart.


What are you all working on now that warmer days are here? (Or cooler days- you southern hemispherers are just ramping up, I'm sure!)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Styling Your Apocalypse: Not-Yet-Dystopian-Dandies!

I knew the Dystopian Dandies section would be one of the harder ones, but that's not really an excuse for how long it took me to get around to it (or, um, any of the others. They are on the way, I promise! Hasn't been much photo-quality light around here lately.) 


Dull Roar: Style your Apocalypse (Doomsday Knits)

Dull Roar: Style your Apocalypse (Doomsday Knits)

First up is Utility Corset! I imagine this being worn much like a Haramaki, a sort of Japanese belly-warmer (apparently it's good for your organs to keep them cozy.) Given that, I thought it'd look at home with sort of a Mori Kei look... of course, this is literally the only flowery, girly, dress-like thing that I own, so I couldn't go full Mori, but you get the gist. 



Dull Roar: Style your Apocalypse (Doomsday Knits)

Dull Roar: Style your Apocalypse (Doomsday Knits)

Quaintrelle was a tricky one, as I don't own any vests, and therefore don't own any shirts that go UNDER vests. I think it'd look nice with a long-sleeved tee. But with a button-up and boots, and those crazy buttons, this has a bit of a nice safari look to it. 


Dull Roar: Style your Apocalypse (Doomsday Knits)

Now, I hope you'll cut me some slack on this one, because the sample for Ringmaster is waaay too big for me, haha. Picture it being a close-fitting, well-tailored jacket, kind of like this. It's got a distinctly equestrian air to it, which plays up nicely with jodphur-like leggings and riding boots. 


Dull Roar: Style your Apocalypse (Doomsday Knits)

Dull Roar: Style your Apocalypse (Doomsday Knits)

Lunar Progression, especially knit at one of the smaller sizes, could easily be used like any other scarf...but I think it's got enough going on to steal the show a bit. Plain black, pretty stole, et voila. 


Whew! Playing dress-up is more tiring than it looks (especially when you keep most of your shoes in the basement, heh.) Back soon with the Vagabonds section!

You can, of course, see all of the Doomsday Knits patterns on Ravelry here, and snag your very own copy over at Cooperative Press (the ebook is available on Rav as well.) Don't forget to pop by our Ravelry group and get in on some KALs (or apocalyptic-media-nerdery.) I say it's high time to revive the Styling thread, don't you? 

Other installments of Styling Your Apocalypse:

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Want to Kick Your Knit Design Career Up to the Next Level?

I am pleased as punch to announce something I've been plugging away at in the background for some time now, ever since publishing my ebook for knitting designers -

Designer Brain-Sesh!


What is a Designer Brain-Sesh? 
A Designer Brain-Sesh is a one-on-one session for knit and crochet pattern designers, customized to address your specific concerns. We’ll take a long, hard look at your business and figure out how best to reach your goals – or, we can focus on a specific issue that’s bugging you. Mentorship, consulting, masterminding, a jam session- call it whatever you like, and we’ll make it be whatever you need!

How does it work? 
When you purchase a session, you’ll receive a questionnaire to fill out and send back so that I can learn all about your business, your long term and immediate goals, and your areas of concern. I’ll review your questionnaire, get to know your business, your designs, your social media- all of it. I'll come up with a preliminary “plan of attack,” and will send you an extensive report detailing my thoughts as well as relevant links and resources. Then, we’ll schedule a 40-minute chat session at a time that’s convenient for you to discuss, clarify, and refine- leaving you with some clear "next steps" and a wealth of ideas for your business!

Chat session? What kind of chat session? 
The chat session can take place on any sort of text-based chat client you prefer (I’m partial to Google Hangouts but I’m flexible.) I prefer text-based chat over video or phone for several reasons:
  • Text-based gives us a written record, which is very useful to look back on. 
  • I type much faster than I speak and read much better than I hear (I have somewhat poor auditory comprehension – I don't want to waste any of your time asking you to repeat something!) 
  • I live on a loud street and have two dogs who love to interrupt things ;-) 

Who the heck are you and why should I take any of your advice anyway? 
I’ve been designing knitting patterns since 2007 and it is currently my full-time, food-on-the-table gig. In addition to having patterns published in webzines, books, and paper magazines, I’ve also curated a book of patterns featuring multiple designers, worked with a yarn company as their designer liaison and project coordinator (read: I process the submissions and yarn support requests), have done photo styling for several collections/book projects and worked at an LYS doing all sorts of crazy things. I self-publish extensively and am a social media junkie.

Basically: I’ve been around the industry in a lot of capacities for some time now, and I want to save you time by sharing my experiences.

Areas I can help you with: 

  • Getting started as a knit designer 
  • The basics of pattern writing and formatting
  • Self-publishing and selling your patterns (online, wholesaling, and working with distributors)
  • Pattern photography
  • Sourcing and working with tech editors and test or sample knitters
  • Putting together submissions
  • Working with publishers
  • Contract review (NOT from a legal standpoint- see below- but from a “is this a good deal that they are offering me?” standpoint)
  • Branding, marketing, and social media (including Ravelry!) 
  • Blogging and websites
  • Industry etiquette and customer service
  • Navigating trade shows
  • Working with yarn companies and yarn support
  • Crisis management
  • Copywriting (including “romance text” and pattern naming- not to be confused with “copyrighting”- see below)
  • An extra set of eyes and objective bystander feedback (on designs, layouts, websites, photos- anything, really!) 
  • Got something else in mind? Shoot me an email and I’ll tell you if I think I can help! My address is keepittoadullroar {at} gmail.com

Areas I won’t be as helpful with:  

  • I am not a lawyer, which means I can’t give you any legal advice. I can help you figure out if legal advice is warranted in a particular situation and help you find some resources to seek it out, but I can’t give it. This includes the particulars of business set-up legalities and tax laws, which vary from state to state and country to country – you’re better off finding local consult for that. 
  • While I do have some skills with graphics programs, I’m not a professional graphic designer or web designer. So while I can definitely help you brainstorm things like visual branding or logo ideas (and loooove doing that stuff!) you will probably need to hire a professional to make the final images. 
  • I do not teach knitting classes at shows or LYSs, so that is an area where I don’t have much experience. I was briefly a class coordinator at an LYS, working with teachers to set up and advertise their classes (and I can definitely write copy for them!) but I don’t have much advice on the actual conducting of classes. (If you’re an aspiring teacher, there is a great class called “How to Teach It” available on Craftsy that is a good place to start!) 


Ready to party? Sweet! 

Many similar consults in other businesses go from anywhere from $200 - $1000, but I know how tough it is to make money as a knitting designer and I want to help you move forward, not set you back! For now, I am offering these sessions - which include about 3-4 hours of intense focus on your business and nothin' but your business- for just $65.


Click here to book:
Add to Cart


(Expect to schedule your chat session for a week or two after you’ve returned the Questionnaire, in order to give me time to research and prepare.  I only schedule a few sessions a week, to make sure I’m able to devote my full attention to each person in turn.)

It’s important to me that you feel happy with these sessions, so if you aren’t satisfied, let me know and I will make it right, even if that means a full refund.

Not so sure yet? 

If you feel like you’d like some guidance but don’t need a one-on-one, or you just want to get a feel for my style, you might be interested in checking out my ebook instead- So You Want to be a Knitting Designer. And of course if you have any questions, you can contact me at keepittoadullroar {at} gmail.com.

To celebrate the release, I will be giving away one Brain-Sesh to a reader! 

Just post in the comments, telling me what your biggest business challenge is right now, and I will randomly select someone in a week's time. Good luck!!

(Um, obviously to enter you should probably be a current or aspiring knit or crochet designer. I don't know if I can help you much with, say,  your fledgling cupcake business, though I'd be happy to taste test.) 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bundles! The new, bundly way to browse patterns!

Ravelry just rolled out a new feature for designers called "Bundles" - they're still in their baby stages and so might not be working perfectly, but it's pretty cool. Now when you go to my designer page, you'll see this:

Dull Roar: Bundles on Ravelry

(with the regular pattern listings below.)

If you click "view all 6 bundles" you'll get this page:

Dull Roar: Bundles on Ravelry


Click on a bundle, and get a page listing all the patterns that fit that description. Now, if you know you want a worsted-weight hat, or a project with some colorwork, you can find 'em easy peasy without combing through all three pages of designs. Fun!! I could also see there being an application during sales- you can put all the sale patterns in one bundle to find them easily. There are probably a lot of other uses I haven't thought of yet, too... I'll be interested to see what people come up with.

You can read more about bundles here. My understanding is that there is a way to create and use them from the knitter's end as well, but I haven't quite figured that part out yet. I'll be curious to see if they become a regularly-used part of the Ravelry experience.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Quoth

Quoth by Alexandra Tinsley - knitted hat pattern  

Last year, Woolgirl asked me to design a hat based on Edgar Allen Poe's poem "The Raven" (one of my favorites, of course, because whose favorites isn't it one of?) for her Poet's Club. Now the resulting hat, Quoth, is available to one and all!

  Quoth by Alexandra Tinsley - knitted hat pattern  

I don't often design with variegated yarns so being tasked to show off this lovely custom-Poe-colored Biscotte & Cie Gobelin was a fun challenge. I chose to go with feathery panels of elongated stitches that make the most of the colors and also echo raven plumage and quill pens. (I do think that I'd like to make another version in a semi-solid black, for maximum ravenosity, though!)

  Quoth by Alexandra Tinsley - knitted hat pattern  

You can find Quoth on Ravelry here, or:

Friday, March 14, 2014

Adventures in Vigilante Censorship

I am in the process of cleaning out my Google Photos (which I did not know was a thing, but which is a thing, and which is almost full, thanks to blogs- as an aside, if you notice any posts missing photos now, please let me know!) and I found this series of photos that I posted on Google Plus back when we thought it might actually become a viable social network. These are from a copy of Maggie Righetti's "Sweater Design in Plain English" that I'd borrowed from the library, and are too amusing to languish in the G+ wastelands. The album was called "With a Sharpie in one hand and pearls clutched in the other." Presented with original commentary.



"Getting New Ideas"? What a queer suggestion! The old ones suit me just fine!



stitch and bitch, obviously




Buttonholes are Bastards



"SHE??" ARE ALL KNITTERS SATANISTS???!?!



Our good fairy has also seen fit to write all her numbers right in the book! And question marks, where she doesn't know them. So that we know that she doesn't know them. Because that's important.



This one is my favorite. It said "Let the cleavage show." O! Thanke you, sweet fairie of Decency! Fore wit'out yore Goode influence, I would shorely be but a sailor-mouthed, goddess-worshipping harlot!



You know, it's a shame this person spent so much time trying to be righteous, only to burn in the circle of hell reserved for PEOPLE WHO WRITE IN LIBRARY BOOKS. 


Grar!



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