My First Knitwear Release!

I’m so glad I decided to have the pattern tested with all different weights of yarn, because it really does look strikingly different by just making that one simple change. I feel like that’s really value added to the pattern, because it can be so easily adapted for anyone, any age, any gender, fabulous or practical.

bulky-dragon-lace
Super Bulky Tweed
dragon-lace-scarf
Lace with Sparkles!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I’ve been dreadfully ill lately, so was much delayed in releasing the new pattern to the wild, but finally it’s out there! I’m pretty proud of how it turned out. I loved the process from start to finish, and I had four great test knitters who produced some gorgeous finished objects and provided some very helpful feedback.

I’m so glad I decided to have the pattern tested with all different weights of yarn, because it really does look strikingly different by just making that one simple change. I feel like that’s really value added to the pattern, because it can be so easily adapted for anyone, any age, any gender, fabulous or practical. I personally think I like the medium weights the best, which is funny since my two prototypes were both extremes. You can check out the projects created by my test knitters on my pattern page. You don’t even need to have a Ravelry account to see or purchase it, but if you are a knitter or other fiber fanatic, I’d strongly recommend it. The account is free, and there are SOOOO many resources, patterns (both free and paid), discussion threads, and support for every fiber craft you can imagine.

I’ve already got my second pattern almost ready for test knitting, and at least half a dozen other ideas marinating in my brain. It has been really exciting to envision a finished work, determine what combination of yarn, needles, and stitches I need to make it happen, figure out how to write it so that someone else can replicate it, and then tweak and polish the pattern until it’s shiny.

But the most exciting part to me was seeing other people’s creations. To know that someone else liked my pattern, took time to make it, and will love and use the result for years to come. Of course, the test knitters were supposed to follow the directions exactly, but now that the pattern is out there, people can use it however they like. But even that is an exciting prospect for me. If my idea can serve as a springboard for someone else’s inspiration, just as someone else’s idea inspired me, that’s a great thing. I’m so looking forward to seeing what others come up with.

So this process has dramatically changed how I originally thought I would be running Sleepy Dragon Workshop. When the idea was born, I expected to be making finished objects to sell. And I may still do that, occasionally. But I think I am even more drawn to the designing process. I have several ideas for scarves of various complexities, a couple of shawls, and even a sweater or two.

The best part about designing, in respect to dealing with chronic, unpredictable illness, is that I can work when I am able, and not be obligated to work when I’m not. The only deadline I will have is one that I’ve self-imposed. While that may be frustrating, at least I won’t be pressured because a customer is waiting for a gift. For the items I do choose to make and sell, I can work on them at my own (dead run/full stop) speed, and then put them up for sale when they are finished. I doubt I will do very many commissioned items, for that reason alone.

As far as other things I may put in my (eventual) Etsy store, I imagine I will make more stitch markers (I’ve already made several sets for friends and for my test knitters), and I have a book of beaded critters that mom got me for Christmas that I’m itching to try out. I may sell prototypes of my patterns, but so far they’ve been created as gifts, and I can imagine that will probably end up being the norm.

But for now I’m content with bringing my ideas to fruition, and being the source of inspiration for others. It’s a good feeling. 🙂

Test Knits for My First Knitwear Design

dragon-lace-scarf
Dragon Lace Scarf

I’ve been working on a scarf as a gift for my mother-in-law, and I’ve finally gotten it finished. I originally started using a lace pattern from a book, but I made so many changes to the lace pattern itself, and to the shape of the bottom, that it ended up being its own original design. It’s purely decorative, not something that’s going to keep her warm, but I think she’ll like it.

A couple of days ago, I sent out a copy of the pattern to several people who have volunteered to test knit versions of the scarf, to make sure the pattern is understandable, charted properly, and free of errors. I also asked that they knit the scarf in different yarn weights, because I tend to think outside the box, and I don’t think lace always needs to be lightweight and delicate (as the original prototype is).

I had a mixed reaction to putting my pattern “out there”. It’s super exciting, but it’s also a little nerve-wracking, because I kind of have to brace myself for constructive criticism. Not that I don’t want constructive criticism, of course, because I want my pattern to be well-written and easy to understand. It’s just that it’s my own creation, so I’m maybe a little protective of it. Still, it’s overall a positive, and I’m really looking forward to seeing other people’s versions of what I’ve made.

brown-lace
Bulky Lace

I’m knitting up another copy of the pattern myself, using super bulky yarn, and I’m already liking how it looks.

Testing Out Test Knitting

As I’ve mentioned before, I would like to try designing some original patterns. I’m interested in shawls, scarves, and 3D items, and may eventually want to try some garment designs when I get really ambitious. But I thought a good way to both increase my skills and to see what it’s like on the other side, was to try out the test knitting process a few times.

For those who don’t know, pattern designers will often ask for volunteers to test knit a new pattern before it’s released, to make sure it doesn’t have any errors or directions that are unclear. Frequently they offer the final edited pattern to the test knitters for free, although some will offer another pattern they have released, yarn from their personal stash, or some other incentive.

For a test knitter to be really helpful to a designer, they have to be willing to contribute some useful feedback, other than, “Nice pattern, didn’t see anything wrong with it”.  While that sounds great, it’s not going to help the designer make a better pattern. But as an aspiring designer I’m also acutely aware of how vulnerable you make yourself by putting your design out there. So I tried to make suggestions in the “room for improvement” vein rather than with a “there’s something wrong” attitude. I don’t want to be discouraging to the designer, but I know if they’re  anything like me they’re going to want to release the best pattern they can.

I just finished a beautiful shawl test knit, a pattern which will hopefully be released in its final form soon, and I will include links to it here as well as my project page on Ravelry with the works in progress pictures as soon as it’s available. It was a lot of fun to knit, right up until I dropped a ton of stitches and ended up having to rip out 19 entire rows (which of course was my fault, not because of the pattern). I also realized after blocking that there was still a noticeable warble in the lace pattern from that area that I will have to go back and fix, so I will probably be showing you the process of radical lace surgery at some point in the near future.

sisterlove-shawl

Lace surgery on the Sisterlove Shawl will have to wait until after the holidays, but for now, here is the shawl. It’s a gorgeous pattern, but not really for beginning lace knitters. The pattern is available at http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sisterlove-shawl

Welcome!

Tipper1 Tipper the Finger Puppet

Welcome to Sleepy Dragon Workshop!  We’ll be posting all of our current creative projects, and some that we’ve done in the past.  Over the next few weeks, you’ll get a chance to know us, and hopefully we’ll spark some creativity.

What you’ll see from SDW is just a little bit of everything.  Just about any artistic or crafty project, in just about any media, with a variety of themes.  For instance, Baby Dragon most likes sketching, painting, theatrical makeup, but she’s interested in lots of other things too.  Mama Dragon likes knitting, sewing, and papercrafting, but you might see an occasional sketch from her as well.  We both love fantasy themed projects best (especially dragons, of course!), but we also like sci-fi and pretty much everything to do with nature. We’re gonna try to make good use of the tags to make it easier to find…

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For the Love of the Blue Phone Box

Tardis plant cozy crop

You’re going to see a lot of fantasy and sci-fi related projects on here, and I guess Doctor Who qualifies as both.  I slightly altered a chart that someone had made for a potholder on Ravelry (yep, that site again) and came up with one that fits well on a coffee cup cozy.  The second friend I gave it to used it as a plant cozy instead (as you see in the picture). Get the free chart and pattern here!

I’ve also been working on several new projects that will eventually be available for purchase in my Etsy store, and some which will have patterns available for purchase on Ravelry.  So stay tuned!

Welcome!

Tipper1
Tipper the Finger Puppet

 

Welcome to Sleepy Dragon Workshop!  We’ll be posting all of our current creative projects, and some that we’ve done in the past.  Over the next few weeks, you’ll get a chance to know us, and hopefully we’ll spark some creativity.

What you’ll see from SDW is just a little bit of everything.  Just about any artistic or crafty project, in just about any media, with a variety of themes.  For instance, Baby Dragon most likes sketching, painting, theatrical makeup, but she’s interested in lots of other things too.  Mama Dragon likes knitting, sewing, and papercrafting, but you might see an occasional sketch from her as well.  We both love fantasy themed projects best (especially dragons, of course!), but we also like sci-fi and pretty much everything to do with nature. We’re gonna try to make good use of the tags to make it easier to find what you’re looking for, but don’t let that limit you.  Try stepping out of your comfort zone; that’s what we’re doing!

From time to time, we’ll post a project we’re working on that will be for sale.  For knitting/crochet patterns, you’ll get them from an awesome fiber crafting website called Ravelry. In fact, you can click on Tipper’s picture at the top of this post and it’ll take you to Ravelry where you can download the knitting pattern for free! (It’s Mama Dragon’s first posted pattern) For pretty much everything else, it will be available in our Etsy store (coming soon).  As so many things in life, this blog will be a work in progress.  So we’d really love your input: let us know if you like (or don’t like) something we’re working on, or if it triggered your imagination and made you think “Hey, you should try making THIS next!”  Please also share if something we made inspired you to make something of your own.

Stay tuned as we introduce ourselves and start to add photos of our past and current creations!