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Friday, September 24, 2010

Knit Simple: Feel-Better Buddies

Yippee! The preview for the Knit Simple Holiday 2010 issue is finally up and my turtle hot water bottle cozie made the cover!

Knit Simple Holiday 2010, photo by Paul Amato
The magazine will hit the newsstands on October 5, 2010.

There are 3 designs (turtle, lady bug, bear) all worked in Lion Brand's Homespun that is machine washable. And from the reaction of my two boys - they should be great gifts for the holiday season.

Turtle, Lady Bug, Bear (photo by Daniela Nii)

This is my first magazine appearance and what an exciting start with a cover and a kit.

I still can't believe it quite yet. Who would have thought such a finale is possible after this design has been reject by other editors a few times (read back story).

I feel very blessed. Thank you, Knit Simple! :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

3rd Time's the Charm

Just like for writes, knit and crochet designers have to deal with (sometimes lots of) rejections.


Even though I am a long-time knitter and crocheter and I get lots of uhs and ohs for my designs from family and friends (advice: take it with a grain of salt), I am a newbie at the publishing side of things. And when some of my first designs got accepted right off the bat, I thought, this is way too cool!

I can tell you, it was quite a shocker when the first rejections started to trickle in, especially for designs I really believed in, took a while to develop and were cute.

For example, one of the rejected designs were my "Bed Buddy" hot water bottle cozies that my two boys were totally crazy about... a sure sign that the design is viable.

Turtle, Lady Bug, and Bear hot water bottle cozies
After a few days of being bummed out, I gathered my wits and tackled the rejection note to see if I could use it to improve on my design:
  • I carefully re-read the rejection wording to get a better understanding for why it might have not worked out
  • Made a short list of possible design improvements
  • Took stock of the yarn color choice for my swatch
  • Switched from a hand-drawn schematic to a computer drawn one
  • Took a critical look at the photo quality
  • Re-evaluated the magazine or website style to ensure (a better) fit for my design idea
  • Decided to spend more time on developing a story to "sell" the design 
  • ... and resubmitted
Just to be rejected again! Dang! And now I've missed the window for the gifting season as lots of magazines work way ahead of the newsstand release date...

So there I watched my boys enjoying their Bed Buddies and being constantly reminded that this design has failed me so far.

Bed Buddy prototype
When the next winter/gifting season rolled around, I took a deep breath and went at it again. And my stubbornness was rewarded: the 3rd time's the charm! :D

And what a hit it was! It not only got accepted by Knit Simple Holiday 2010, but it also made the cover!!! And it was selected for a kit as well!!!

Made the cover of Knit Simple Holiday 2010!
(Knit Simple Holiday 2010, photo by Paul Amato)
That just shows you that if you believe in your design and have gotten some good feedback, don't give up and keep going. It's just a matter of finding the right match...

All the best to your design efforts.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Interweave Knits: Chincoteague Cardigan

This is my first design published in a major knitting magazine: Interweave Knits Weekend 2010! Yippee!

IW Knits Weekend 2010: Chincoteague Cardigan

It’s a great jacket for your weekend activities knit with Lion Brand's Fisherman's Wool, making it very affordable.

The background sports a “brick” pattern that makes for an entertaining knit and the mosaic technique pattern gives it a more complicated look then it really is.

When you use the mosaic color technique you actually only work with one color per row and slip the other colored stitches. So, no stranding involved at all!

I had to look up the pattern title that was given to my design by the Interweave staff: "Chincoteague". As it turns out the cardigan is named after the wild ponies on Chincoteague Island (Virginia's Eastern Shore). They are all painted in white and brown patterns - just like the design on this cardigan.

Wow, what a great match! And the island looks like a great vacation spot too...

My original design submission was exactly in reverse colors: light background and dark pattern. But I like this final version very much, actually it was hard to let go and send it in... - always a good sign that the project turned out nicely. :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Last Bloom: Flower Headscarf

I thought I would venture into some simple lace knitting and came up with a useful little project: a headscarf.

If you always wanted to try your hand on some lace but didn't want to commit to lace weight yarn, hours of concentrated work and a large scale project, then this might just be what the doctor prescribed: a small, airy headscarf that has only 2 repeating pattern rows and can be finished in a lazy weekend.

You can check out the free pattern ("Last Bloom") over at the great kids pattern website of Petite Purls Fall 2010 issue.

The headscarf is a triangular mesh with short bands to tie it easily.

The flower decorations are simple foundation chain crochet flowers that you sew on to the scarf.

To keep the petals from curling up you can either use a few stitches to sew down the petals or apply some fabric stiffener to the flowers before you attach them to the headscarf.

Flower is ready for fabric stiffener. Apply to backside of flower.

I think it's quite a cute way to keep the hair out of the eyes when the winds pick up in the upcoming fall days...So far the headscarf has been a hit with the girls and I am trying to keep up with the requests... :)