A New Year Starts

I’m not generally one to care much for New Years (or New Years Eve). When I was a teenager and into my early 20’s it was one of my favourite nights of the year, but these days I find myself much more content to sit it out at home and watch some movies. It’s a pretty arbitrary date to decide to celebrate in my books, but then again, what is life without a little celebration? But I find myself a little pooped after the Christmas holiday (now that’s my time for food, family and friends!), so sitting it out at home on New Years seems to always be preferred.

In 2013 we rung in the New Year with Birdemic. Last year it was Troll 2. We didn’t keep with the theme of notoriously bad movies this year, but we did sit down and watch Good Will Hunting, not even realizing when the clock had struck 12.

I’ve really never been one for New Years resolutions either – I say if you want to make some changes in your life, there’s no time like the present, and some arbitrary date won’t somehow make you stick to them any more resolutely. I’m all for good intentions, but intentions don’t mean squat without action.

Having said all that, goals are something different. A new year’s resolution seems like something that you could have done at any time but are probably put off because it sucks. A goal can also be set at any time, but this year the designing goals I wanted to set so happened to fall right around New Years. Combine that with the annual goal thread on the Ravelry Budding Designers group, and it seemed like a perfect time to actually set out some goals for myself in the upcoming months. Knitting and designing-wise that is.

The most important one that I jotted down, however, was the last one on my list of six things:

Most important: have fun. If anything stops feeling fun, take a forced break, other resolutions be damned. More than anything else, I want this to remain something I wholeheartedly enjoy doing, and I don’t want designing to become a slog.

I don’t design anything to make money. I wanted to start designing about a year ago, but struggled with getting the inspiration for a first pattern. I just couldn’t make anything stick.

Then, I agreed to design a pattern for my sister’s graduation present, and after getting over that hump I found I had tons of ideas, I just wasn’t aware yet how to actually tap into them.

I’ve been knitting for years, and that accumulated knowledge and experience finally coalesced to something I could practically use to design my own garments. And it was fun. And extremely satisfying.

I set a few other goals for myself, but the one I quoted above is the most important. I don’t plan on designing for a living (in fact, my husband and I own and operate a separate business having nothing to do with knitting), but I do plan on designing for fun, and if ever it starts to not feel fun, it starts to feel like I have to design something and there’s surmounting pressure from it, I’ll be taking a break so I can come back and have fun again.

As an aside, one of my other goals was to keep a semi-regular schedule for this blog, but again, only for the funs. I’ve been a blogger since before that was actually the word for it (seriously), and after a several year break and starting to miss it (a few years ago it started to feel like work, hence the extended break) I decided this was the way to jump back in.

It Begins

In 2015, after 15 years of knitting, I decided it was time to start designing my own patterns. I’d been playing around with the idea for a few years, but I had never sat down and actually tried. I viewed it as the last big knitting challenge I had to surmount.

So in January 2015 I purchased a copy of Envisoknit, and sat down and started toying around.

After a few months of trying a few patterns and failing abysmally, my sister came to me and asked for a knitted shawl as her graduation gift. Turned out, that was exactly the kick start I needed to get designing, and my first pattern, Heather June, was completed in June 2015. It took me another few months, but in October of 2015 I finally finished writing up the pattern, and published it for the world to take and knit themselves.

In a two weeks, 1000 people had downloaded my first ever pattern, and I was floored. I imagined that maybe I’d get 50 downloads at most. Not 1000.

The comments I received on it were overwhelming, and not being one to generally get choked up, I found myself almost speechless at the response I was getting.

I’ve officially been bit by the designing bug now – I love the challenge of, essentially, coming up with something completely new out of nothing but a pair of tiny sticks and one long piece of string.

As of this post I have one other pattern almost at completion, and scraps of papers littered around my desk with the beginnings of other designs. Turns out, I absolutely love doing this, even when the math isn’t going my way.