HANDMADE SCARVES, BABY BLANKETS, JEWELRY & MORE

The Birth Story of My First Design

Back in early 2010, I started working on a pattern idea. It turned out to be my first serious attempt at design – and it was a doozy! Up until then I’d select a stitch or two and then turn it into a scarf or a blanket. It was always something rectangular, though! At the time I didn’t think I’d ever tackle anything that didn’t have straight edges, but eventually I did, of course. The idea for this design, though, kind of came out of nowhere. I hadn’t made a conscious decision to try my hand at designing; it just sort of popped into my head.

I spent hours fiddling with swatches and charts. And hours and hours. It started out as something fairly simple: leaves on either side of a vine. Then it had to have a border of some sort. Then the leaves were too puny. Then they were too fat. Finally I decided they needed to be asymmetrical. Oh boy! Talk about biting off more than I could chew!

With a lot of patience and perseverance, though, I did eventually figure out something that suited me. More or less.

It was wider than I really wanted, though… So I went after its edges and worked on trimming those down a bit. I’m a big fan of post stitches because they add a nice textural element. I loved the way the center vine curved with the leaves and I wanted that mirrored in the border, but having too much seemed to take away from the center path of leaves.

So some of the texture had to go. It was complicated enough already, though, so I really didn’t miss it once I settled on a layout and started working it. However, this was by far the smallest hook and yarn I’d used for a scarf before and it was taking me absolutely forever to make the thing. Adding the beads seemed to make it take way longer, too, and after a while I got really tired of it. But when I decided to stop, I realized I had no idea how to finish it off! I fiddled around with it for a while and then just gave up. I put it away, this, my first design, in a dark little hole somewhere and gave up on it.

Next thing I know it’s autumn and that dadgum scarf is still sitting in a corner somewhere, unfinished. All it needed was an end. So I sat down and just did it. Of course, it ended up being something that was essentially the same as what I’d tried before I gave plumb up on it, so its summer hibernation was unnecessary. Oh well. At least it was done!

I gave it a nice bath (or two, trying to soften it up some) and blocking really opened it up nicely. Ultimately, I was pleased with the results. Still a little unsatisfied with the ends, but they weren’t terrible. We had a really great photo shoot with much thanks to the sunny day and after finishing my photo editing, I was truly pleased with my work. It made me smile. Maybe even giggle a little. This was my first design. Realized in rich autumn colors. With beads! It was a good day.

I got it listed it in my studio for sale even though I wasn’t really sure I wanted to sell it and then I went to work on prettying up my chart. What I needed was some software, I knew, but I couldn’t find anything that I could afford, so Excel it was. Good grief did that take forever! First I had to “draw” the symbols and then it was copy and paste, copy and paste, copy and paste. It was way too tedious. But I knew I needed an electronic copy so I wouldn’t lose it and my hand drawn one wasn’t nearly as neat as I wanted, despite the graph paper.

After even more patience and time, it finally came together. Another good day. Even if it was an exhausting one.

I’d started using Ravelry by then and so I posted pictures on there once I had them. It got a couple little hearts and a couple of comments – could I post the pattern? Uh oh. Well, I had the chart, but I wasn’t sure it would make sense to anybody but me. Written directions? On a six row repeat? I’d never written out instructions for anything I’d crocheted before and the thought was truly intimidating. So I didn’t. I felt selfish, but I just couldn’t do it. I guess I wasn’t ready.

Of course, I’m still not sure if I’m ready! But a couple weeks ago I finally sat down and tackled it. I’ve posted a few simple patterns here on my blog and I’ve really enjoyed sharing those for free, but this one? This one has had dibs on the title of my first pattern for sale since its conception. I’ve just been too chicken to do it.

This year is gonna be different, though. I’m going to stop being afraid of succeeding and I’m just going to DO it. Starting with this pattern right here. Okay, actually it started with me submitting a pattern to Interweave Crochet at the beginning of January, but I think that was half so I didn’t have to write up a real pattern for it… I couldn’t have it stealing the first pattern for sale spotlight, though, right? So we’ll see where that goes. And we’ll see where this goes, too!

I decided that I needed to work up the pattern again – make sure it makes sense so I’m not blindly writing instructions – and so I chose to make a new version of the scarf, more heavily beaded, that I could submit to this year’s Vanna’s Choice Contest. I selected Vanna’s Glamour in Diamond, which is white with a strand of metallic silver, and pearlescent white glass beads, seeking a frosty, wintry look. And so I set to work.

Approximately 15 hours (not including all the swatching and photography of course) and 370 beads later, I have a new and maybe even more beautiful scarf.

At approximately 6′ long and just over 4″ wide, this scarf is perfect for wearing both long and flowing as well as double wrapped for added warmth. Worn either way, it truly is an elegant accessory.

23 hours ahead of the deadline, which is impressive for this diehard procrastinator, I submitted photos for the Vanna’s Choice Contest. Whew! But now it’s time to finish that pattern. So wish me luck and stay tuned for the upcoming release of my very first design!

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