This project has been on the needles for the past month, and in my head and spreadsheet form for a lot longer. Now that the knitting is done, I need to finish writing the pattern up, and then start looking for test knitters.
This will be my first garment pattern, and I wanted to get it right, so I started with the part that I was most intimidated by: the grading, or sizing the pattern up and down to obtain instructions for multiple sizes.
My usual process for a knitting project involves minimal swatching, designing on the fly to make the finished product fit me, and then reverse-engineering instructions. While this often works for a pair of socks when employing a rigorous test knitting process, I felt that making an adult garment fit a range of sizes required more precision, so I started with these numbers and aimed to fit the closest size to my measurements, rather than my actual measurements as I usually do.
The initial idea I had for this garment was quite different to the finished product, and the process of knitting and reknitting it to reflect my changing ideas on the design and desired fit was pretty similar to the on-the-fly method I typically use, but in this case I kept referring to spreadsheets stuffed with formulas so that I never got too far off track.
While the finished product may not appear very complex, I think it’s a good starting point for my knitting design and pattern-writing skills, as I’ve learnt heaps about the need to balance being methodical and efficient with the time-consuming (but necessary) organic process of inspiration and revision that fuels the design and motivates me to get it finished.
Anyone out there who’s dabbled in design, what’s your process?