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What even is “Industry Standard”?

I’ve always stated that my patterns are based off of the standards given by Craft Yarn Council. And it didn’t really occur to me that I don’t know where that information even originally came from. Then my dear friend Erin posted a snippet from a pattern by Evolve Crochet that asks that question. Colleen includes info on how to make a part of the pattern for a different measurement because “what even is industry standard?”.

The more you know
Grading a pattern to include as many sizes as possible involves a ton of math. Math that sometimes doesn’t always work out the same for every size. Which is why we need testers so that we know the various numbers will in fact work out. However, it turns out that basing something off measurements that only fit a specific amount of people and not including information on how to make adjustments didn’t sit right.
Therefore, going forward I have decided that with the re-working of my older patterns to include the sizes/measurements given from CYC, that I’m also going to change how my patterns are written.

What does that all mean?
It means that you’ll still be able to follow the pattern and make the garment. However in addition to stitch and row counts I will include inches/options to go to the desired length.
In short it will be easier for you to have the garment fit your specific body better.

When I make something, I’m making it for my body shape because I’m making it for myself. However, I realize not everyone making my patterns have that body shape.
Full disclosure, I have an hourglass shape. Which means my hips and bust are closer in size and I have a narrower waist.
To put that into perspective, CYC classifies a Large as:
Bust: 40-42″, Waist: 32-34″ and Hips: 42-44″ and my measurements are:
Bust: 40-42″, Waist: 34.5″ and Hips: 41.75″.

The option of having a longer notes section in the patterns on possible ways to adjust things did occur to me. When it comes down to it though, I think that straight up writing it with more wiggle room, while still giving you all the necessary information for making the piece itself, is the best idea for everyone.

Happy Knitting!


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Summer Lovin Tank

Depending on how long you’ve been on this journey with me you may remember this pattern from last year. However I had only graded it for a few sizes. Because when I started designing garments last year I had no idea that sizing was such an issue. I also was brand new to designing so the idea of grading for lots of sizes was daunting at best.

Now a year, five garment designs, and multiple makes later I am significantly more confident in my abilities. Which is why when the discussion of size inclusiveness came up I realized I had two options.
1. Start grading my new patterns with the full range that CYC (craft yarn council) provides but ignore my previous releases or
2. Do the first part of one but also go back to my previous patterns and fully grade them so as many people as possible can enjoy them.

It’s not easy going back into my older designs, it’s time consuming and honestly it would be much easier to just say “well I didn’t know, now I do and everything going forward will be inclusive” but that’s not fair to the makers that don’t fit into the S/M/L range.

I am…fortunate(?) that I only have to re-work four more patterns and two of those already go to 2X. Some designers have a lot more and have less time than I do.
So I’d ask that if you can tell they’re trying (as in not ignoring the conversation, newer designs are more inclusive etc) to give them a beat to figure out how they’re going to do it.

That all being said, I hope you enjoy the re-worked version of this tank, I laughed a few times at myself for how I originally wrote it. I promise it’s much better now!

Grab it on ravelry or etsy and happy knitting!

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Size Doesn’t Matter

After seeing the post that Nicole of (Woolfield Studio) made yesterday, and knowing her struggle about posting photos of herself, I felt inspired/driven etc to write a post as well.
Which then turned into a blog post the more I thought about it.

My mindset has changed a lot since having my daughter last year. Society has us believing that once you pop out a baby you should be bouncing back to your “pre-baby body” as soon as possible. And I kind of bought into it. Once I was given the go ahead by my doctor, I started working out. But I didn’t keep at it because I was fighting my body. I was fighting the thing that grew a damn human because I didn’t like the belly that was sticking around.

Violet is now nearly 15 months and that belly is still here. However (and it is still a daily battle to some extent) now I’m not as angry at it. I started doing yoga instead of the intense pilates I had been because I was getting frustrated with anything jumping related because everything jiggles.

I’ve also changed my mindset from a workout to lose weight way of thinking to a workout to get stronger and just be healthier for my family. I just want to feel better and if some of the fat leaves along the way then so be it. But thin doesn’t equal healthy and that’s something we need to make the world realize.

I also don’t want Violet growing up seeing a mom who hates her body. I remember my mom complaining about her wide feet or just not wearing things because she didn’t think she should. And so, because everyone said I looked like her I too thought I had wide feet etc. It wasn’t until adulthood I realized we have completely different body types.

Therefore, my recent garment design, the Iris Cropped Sweater, is my most inclusive sized garment written for busts from 30” to 62” using the Craft Yarn Council standards.
I’ve had issues in the past getting testers for my designs at all, but with the creation of the Instagram account Fat Test Knits I was able to have testers up to 58”.

I’ve also decided to update my current designs with a broader size range. So by the end of the year, all my garments will be written for the aforementioned sizes. The last thing I want is for someone to see one of my designs, go to buy it and then realize it’s not written for them. We already have the issue of some patterns being written with 42” busts as the XL or 2X (an XL is actually 44-46 for comparison), which is why I use the Craft Yarn Council, because it’s a good standard to go by and all the measurements are there for anyone to use.

I’m also trying to be as mindful as I can about different body types without making my patterns a million pages long. So my notes sections will get more detailed with information on how to adjust things accordingly. We should be able to wear whatever the hell we want to and not feel bad about it. Because, say it with me now, SIZE DOESN’T MATTER. 

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Garments

Iris Cropped Sweater

It’s funny how you don’t understand all the trial and error that goes into a pattern until you start designing.
When I started the design it was a much different image in my mind. It was originally going to be over-sized and baggy. However, my cast on was way too big. Think the width of my love seat too big. I wanted positive ease but not that much!
So I tried again.
This time with the vision in mind that is now the final product. A cropped, fitted v-neck sweater that has lovely arm detailing. I have a soft spot for the latter, which is evident in this pattern and in my Rose Tyler Cropped Cardi.

This was my first time designing a v-neck but I’ve made them before so I wasn’t going in completely unawares.
I also decided it was high time I start being more inclusive in my sizing. In the past, my designs have gone up to XL or maybe 2X. This time, using Craft Yarn Council guidelines, I wrote from XS to 5X. So busts ranging from 30″ to 62″ can make this sweater!

I also plan on reworking my other garments over the rest of the year, I’ll need testers to confirm yardage and measurements so keep an eye out!

You can grab the Iris pattern from Ravelry or Etsy. I hope you have as much fun making it as I did!

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Adore Shawl

After trying (and failing) to learn to crochet multiple times in my adult life, I figured out the basics (with help from my friend Erin) in order to make scrunchies last Christmas using the pattern from White Owl Crochet.

I had made a goal to learn how to crochet when Toni of TL Yarn Crafts released the Adore Shawl pattern.
Between her sample colour being my favourite colour of. All. Time. And the beautiful design, I knew I had to make it. So I bought the pattern, picked my yarn and went to work.

Now I’ve only ever looked at two crochet patterns before and the first was the scrunchie pattern. Which, while fantastic, obviously doesn’t require a lot of information in it.
I’m used to knitting patterns where you work for X amount of rows etc. For this (and the Flatiron shawl I’m currently working on) Toni writes them more like a recipe. You go for this many inches instead of rows, then switch stitches or colours. Which makes it a fantastic thing to work on while relaxing with my husband in the evening, because I can just cruise along.
The next thing that was so easy about it was because I already had the basics of crochet down, all I had to do was google the one stitch and double check with Erin that I was doing it right.

I literally cannot say enough good things about Toni’s patterns. I bought more when she had her pattern sale on Etsy and I may or may not be planning on making one of the tank tops for OML so I can show her (is that weird? I’m going with it anyway).

SO! If you want to learn to crochet, I suggest something simple and repetitive like the scrunchie so you get the basic stitches down. Then I highly suggest moving on to Toni’s patterns for your first shawl or garment. You will not regret it.

Happy Knitting! (or crocheting!)

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Amethyst Grace Cardigan

It was never my intention to design a raglan cardigan. At least it wasn’t on my list of pattern ideas, so who knows when it would have actually happened. Then my mom asked how much it would be to make her a cardigan. I didn’t giver the actual amount but we agreed upon a (much lower than normal) price. Plus I decided I would design it so that I could sell the pattern as well. It’s been my most popular pattern to date!

The Process

She showed me a couple of store-bought cardigans she had and gave me the aspects she did and didn’t like. I took those ideas and the Amethyst Grace Cardigan was born! Named as such because her birthday is in February but there was a number of Amethyst Cardigans already. So the Grace was added since she shares that middle name with my daughter.

Design Overview

It features a large ribbed shawl collar that folds over and uses a provisional cast on for a seamless look.
Length can be customized to your personal preference but I prefer a long one for extra coziness. Short rows round out the bottom so it doesn’t create a straight rectangle.
The sleeves, oh those sleeves. There’s lots of ribbing but it’s worth it! It’s written so the sleeves are a little snug when you’re putting it on so there’s no decreasing required but that also means they fit so good when it’s on. Plus then the ribbing from the forearm down fits better too and doesn’t hang down (because you didn’t need to decrease!)

Since it’s top-down you can try it on quite easily when you’re making it so you can be sure it fits you just right. There is some shaping as well but you can always add more if you desire!

Make your own!

If you want to make it in the same colour, I used Brava 500 Worsted from Knit Picks in Dove Heather which is more of a heavy worsted.
Click here to get your copy!

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Reflections and Growth

I’m gonna get a bit deep on this post, just a warning. Releasing my first raglan pattern a few days ago got me thinking about how far I’ve come from not knowing how to purl three years ago, and then doing it wrong for a while after that.
A few of you know that I have been married before and on January 4th, 2014 my life as I knew it shattered. My then-husband told me – after months of the silent treatment – that he no longer loved me.
I was two days away from the start of my final semester of Graphic Communication and somehow had to wrap my head around that.

I made it through those four months pretty well considering; I kept my GPA at 3.8, worked close to f/t hours at my job and saw my friends.
Graduation came and went and I moved out of the apartment because 1) we rented it from his grandmother and 2) I worked in Inglewood so living in Panorama was not conducive to that.

Let’s fast forward a bit, I met my now husband through mutual friends that I worked with and he’d gone to university with one of them.
Turns out they were trying to set us up and I had zero knowledge. Although when the four of us had a dinner and games night, that probably should have tipped me off.

We started dating end of 2015, got married April 1st, 2017, and welcomed our perfect baby girl Violet February 1st, 2018.

Meanwhile, I started knitting fall/winter of 2015 and in 2016 thought “hey, maybe this is something I could do for money”. I met Chantal of Knitatude at Market Collective and starting going to the weekly knit night the following Thursday.
Like I mentioned before, I didn’t know how to purl. I didn’t know how to knit in the round either. Then I learned both and my first ever project was hideous. 20160709_213632-1
My work has gotten steadily better and I fully credit the weekly knit night for that. I simply wouldn’t have the collective knowledge of the wonderful ladies that attend. So the fact I went from this crappy first in-the-round project to my first raglan sweater (both my own design thank you very much) in three years, blows my freaking mind. img_20181115_154802

So if you’re sitting there, thinking that you’re not good at something, just look at my two photos that are close to two years apart really and know; you’ve got this. Find a group of people that share the same hobby/interest etc and get better! Also, practice is key. Now that I’m off mat leave and not going back to work outside the home – I have White Willow, Ampersand Creative, and I’m on the editorial team for Candor Magazine so I am working at home – I’m knitting every day working on future patterns and try to draw every day to better grow my skills.

Do. Not. Give. Up.

 

Happy knitting (or whatever it is that you do!)

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Local Gift Ideas

I love to shop locally. Fortunately for me, Calgary has copious amounts of handmade markets so the options are practically endless.
I started doing it after I’d made gifts for everyone and realized 1) it was SO much work and 2) there is only so many knit pieces people need (that I am willing to make). So now I frequent the Etsy Christmas Market, Little Modern Market, Market Collective, and I might stop by Make It because I reeeaaally want a Coal and Canary candle.

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Pictured Shops (L to R): Friday Sock Co, Ami and Emme, Oxeye Floral, Saltyseadog Designs, Salt Water Tea Jewelry, Little May Papery

Now I’ll share with you some of my favourite shops so you can check them out too!

Jewelry: Salt Water Tea Jewelry is run by my dear friend Nicole. She will be at Little Modern November 24th and Market Collective December 14-16.

Soft toys: Ami and Emme creates adorable crocheted animals, donuts, f-bombs, that are not just only cute and colourful but some are also baby rattles! I grabbed a purple donut for my daughter’s first Christmas and I may be more excited about it than she will be. Robyn will be at Curated November 23-24 & Darling Details on December 8th.

Coffee: Calgary Heritage Roasting Co makes amazing coffee. You can actually get it at Co-op now as well but if you’re going to Little Modern market anyway and don’t want to make multiple stops…they have you covered! At one point in my pregnancy I couldn’t handle “regular” store bought coffee and my saving grace was going to Greater Goods and having a cup of Calgary Heritage.

These are just three of the many many makers from around Calgary and area. So check out the upcoming markets for some (or all) of your Christmas/Holiday shopping & know that when you buy from one of these makers you’re directly helping support someone’s dream and family.

Finally, cause it is my blog after all, while I’m not doing markets this year you can find my ready to ship pieces on Etsy!

Happy Shopping!

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Three ways on how to deal with Envy as a Maker

Recently I’ve been struggling a bit with envy towards other makers. Not in a “why are they succeeding” kind of way but more of a “why are so many makers that are SO much younger than me succeeding more than I am right now”.
The short answer is that we’re all on our own journeys and comparing ourselves to each other does nothing to help anyone.
The longer answer is I only started knitting at all three years ago. While all of the people that I’m comparing myself to have been making for much much longer and age has nothing to do with it.

So! Things that I do combat the feelings of “why not me” that pop up from time to time are:

  1. Step back and look at the bigger picture.
    I mentioned I’ve only been knitting for three years. Well since then I went from making crappy scarves and knowing nothing about gauge etc to designing my own patterns. Even in the last year, I went from 1 pattern for sale to currently 12 and more on the way. That’s nothing to look down on and I always have to remind myself of that.
  2. Support those makers.
    Yup. You read that right. The knitting/crochet community is SO supportive and if I just stay in my own corner of the world because I’m grumpy, that doesn’t do any good either. So if they put out patterns I want to make or become indie dyers and I love their yarn, you can bet I’ll be purchasing from them.
  3. Keep my head down and make what I want.
    While there is always pressure to make what is popular, I design patterns after pieces I want to make for myself (and sometimes my daughter). I don’t see a point in designing something I wouldn’t wear. Especially since I’m putting in the time and mental strength to make a piece of clothing from some balls of fiber.

IMG_20181005_183050__01The more I design the better I like what the end product is. Because I’m growing in my abilities so the pieces are turning out better and better.
My favourite piece to date is my #simpletexturedbeanie (pictured). The end product wasn’t my original vision but I adjusted accordingly and I’m in love with how it turned out.

Next time you’re feeling like you’re not measuring up, do one (or all) of the above and you will likely feel better!

 

Happy Knitting!

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Making for Markets

Something I didn’t realize when I first started making to sell, markets are a very different demographic than online.
I started making to sell because I saw an opportunity for nerdy inspired pieces. However what I didn’t realize was that my niche is too niche for markets.
I sell well online because people are actually searching for my stuff. You might think “oh but comic expos surely are an option”. That would be a no, at least for Saskatoon and my knitted pieces. People weren’t into paying for handmade unless it was art and I’m pretty sure it’s because most people don’t understand the value of what we as makers do.
They see a $45 hat and don’t understand that it took time to not only make that hat but also figure out the pattern you want to make!

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Winter is Coming Beanie in Claret available on Etsy

SO should be you thinking of applying for markets, I would suggest looking at what is popular right now. Are there tons of hats with cables? What about the slouchy beanie style hats, or are (faux) fur poms all the rage.
DO NOT copy other artists in your area and also DO NOT undercut. No one wins in that scenario because not only do you have to make that many more pieces to make the same amount of money but makers talk. And if you are making a “similar (read; basically identical) piece to another maker in your city and charging way less, you will not make friends. And the thing is, knitters/crocheters anyway, are super friendly in my experience!

 

By all means, use patterns designed by others if they give the go-ahead to sell finished pieces but KNOW YOUR WORTH. The designer might even have a dollar minimum that they want you to charge.
If you don’t know what you should be charging, check out this blog post in by Chantal of Knitatude.

To sum up; do your research, don’t copy, know your worth.

Happy Knitting!