I haven’t written in this blog in FOREVER but I’ve started reading blogs again and got the hankering to write some of my own. For now the old theme of the blog, which was more of a style blog, isn’t as relevant for me and I’m shifting the focus of this more towards knitting, which is what I’ve been really involved in recently.
I’ve had a lot of free time on my hands waiting for my visa to Brazil to be approved, so I’ve been on a real knitting kick. In the past few months I’ve accomplished some big goals for myself, professionally and creatively!
First, I became a small business owner (!) and started selling my creations on Etsy! This is something I’ve thought about doing for a long time but didn’t really have time for it until now. One challenging with selling knit items online is that you typically can’t sell items based on someone else’s design, so all the items in my shop were original designs. The shop was a huge success and sold better than I had expected. There is only one item left, if anyone is interested in some cute yellow gloves, click below!
Next, because I was producing items based on my own patterns, I was able to organize the sketches and notes in my notebook into real knitting patterns. I’ve now published 4 patterns on Ravelry, 3 for free and one for sale, and I’ve had almost 2,000 downloads.
I’ve learned a ton from writing these and receiving feedback from test knitters online. Personally, when I knit from a pattern I use it more as a starting point and make lots of adjustments for fit etc. In reality, lots of people follow patterns down to the letter so when you can’t leave any room for interpretation in published patterns! It’s really easy for me to overlook details or unclear instructions when I know how to do something in my head, so I’ve relied a lot on the feedback to figure out what’s confusing or what I need to explain more. Professional pattern writers have tech editors who pick apart the finished item and check the pattern for accuracy down to a single stitch. I wish I had someone like that to proofread my work! Maybe someday…
The biggest surprise this year is that my paid pattern (and my personal favorite), the Snowbunny Hat, reached #3 on Ravelry’s “Hot right now” list. For those that aren’t familiar with the site, Ravelry is like Facebook for knitters. It has 3.9 million users and a database of almost 300,000 patterns. Basically everything is on this site.
The “hot right now” list changes based on what patterns are receiving the most attention that day. This list is usually dominated by established designers but when I used to look through it I wondered if I would ever have a design in the top list (bearing in mind that to be a professional knitwear designer is actually not my goal in life).
One of the popular activities on Ravelry is to knit items along with the Olympics (they call it the “Ravellenic Games”) I’ve never been a part of this, but I found a forum where people were posting promotions on patterns or yarn in conjunction with the games, so I posted my pattern there with a free download code to try to drive some traffic to my page. Suddenly my email inbox was EXPLODING with download notifications; they were coming in by the minute. I had no idea what was going on but apparently people had re-posted my promotion to various other blogs and tons of people were downloading my pattern. It’s hard to explain how shocked I was to see my pattern climbing to the top spot on the main pattern page, and it maxed out at #3–not bad at all, and way better than I ever thought my first paid pattern would do!
In all, I’ve been really happy with all this success but I am REALLY missing the social and intellectual stimulation of college. At the same time, all the snow and ice outside is making me feel trapped at home. One problem with knitting is that you have to be sitting down to do it (with the exception of this guy) which makes me feel like a bum, and there are only so many Netflix movies and podcast episodes one can sit through. Everyone says I’ll miss the free time when I start working but I’m VERY ready to start working and have a daily schedule and co-workers to talk to (in Portuguese!).