The Procrastinators Guide to Knitwear Design

 . . . or “10 easy steps to becoming a Knitwear Designer”


I often get asked by my students to talk about my “design process”. So, since it’s just us, I’ll let you in on Patty’s 10 easy steps to knitwear design.

The most important thing to do when you get an e-mail for a “Call For Design” from a book or magazine, is to note the submission deadline, then save the e-mail as new, and don’t think about it again until the day before the submission is due.  I will not count that as a step, because the real work has yet to begin

Step 1:

The day before the proposal is due, review the types of designs the publication is looking for and check your sketch book and existing designs to see if anything you have fits the bill. You see, I have a tendency to design for what the buyer is buying.  It’s all well and good if you are a baker that’s committed to Key Lime pie, but if all the bakeries are buying apple . . . well, you’re gonna get stuck with a lot of pies.

Step 2:

Go to your bookshelf and gather all your stitchionaries for inspiration, which causes you . . .

Step 3:

to notice what a mess your knitting books are in, and decide it would be a good time to reorganize your bookshelf. Pull all the books off the shelf while you try to decide if you are going to organize them by author, or type or . . . .

Step 4:

wait, you now notice how dusty the bookshelves are, grab a swiffer and dust all the shelves in your office until . . .

Step 5:

the freshly dusted shelves show how dusty the floors are.  Sweep all floors in apartment, then wonder. . .

Step 6:

What was I doing? Oh yeah, organizing my knitting books.  Put them all back on the shelf, step back and admire your work which causes you to notice . . .

Step 7:

how many knitting magazines have piled up that haven’t been added to your Ravelry bookshelf. Gather them all up and sit down to the black hole of knitter’s time suck affectionately known as Ravelry, and start adding them all to your library. As long as you’re there . . .

Step 8:

Look at what you’re friends are up to, which leads you to their blogs, and well, while you’re there, you can click through to Twitter and Facebook, and then two hours later notice . . .

Step 9:

You are quite hungry as it’s now nearly dinner time. See what leftovers are in the fridge, heat up a wonderful meal while you reflect on all the great work you’ve done today, but wonder . . .

Step 10:

if you forgot something. Check your e-mail, see the call for design spend the next three hours, madly swatching, sketching, drawing schematics and hit send on the e-mail at 11:59 pm!

Ta Da – 8 hours before the deadline. Now go to bed and start fresh in the morning.  Oh, look I have a design due tomorrow . . . ah well, as Scarlet O’Hara would say “tomorrow is another day”.


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  • Brenda March 26, 2014   Reply →

    I would blame you for my being at Step 8 right now, but I saw your blog post pop up on Facebook. So really, it’s my own damned fault, except it’s not, because cable charts await. Really hard ones. With math and everything.

  • Susan Lowman April 2, 2014   Reply →

    This is very funny and hits close to home! I can definitely relate to getting distracted while trying to work. I have self-diagnosed ADD and get distracted all the time when I’m trying to do my designing or tech editing work! It’s a wonder I get anything done at all! Squirrel!

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