Making vs. Doing

I have made it a goal of 2020 (despite the pandemic) to publish a knitting pattern of my own. I have been knitting actively for 10 years, I can improvise my own patterns and modify other patterns with confidence. There are some standard shapes to make garments and I’ve made most of them. Once you make something a few times, the underlying algorithms emerge and help you understand the process.

Starting from the math that someone else has worked out makes the process of creating a new garment easy and enjoyable. But I’m a sucker for punishment. So I wanted to try my hand doing the math myself.

Problem 1: Every step in developing a pattern is work! Notes must be taken, everything that you do in auto-pilot must be noted as you work. While there is still joy in the creation, you have to be deliberate about things you are used to doing automatically. This is not recreational.

Problem 2: Sometimes you don’t have good ideas! When you make a pattern someone else designed, typically you’ve browsed through dozens, if not hundreds, of patterns before settling on the beautiful object you are going to create. When all you have is some yarn, notes and a creative spark to work with, sometimes it just doesn’t work out (I’m sure the rate of success for professional designers is much higher than for amateur designers). At best, you notice early and can retreat and regroup, at worst you have already reached a point of no return and have to live with the subpar result.

Problem 3: There is so much to work out! Yarn yardage, swatch measurements, stitch counts (and counts after shaping), pattern repeats over an unusual number of stitches. Day-um. I am not one to shy away from “doing the math” but the sheer number of intricacies and little adjustments that have to made is, well, a lot.

I have only managed to publish 1 pattern, the most simple of patterns, a baby blanket. But I have knit many more that I was hoping would be patterns, but some just didn’t work out how I expected, or I haven’t gotten around to doing the math for various sizes.

Anyway. Pay creators, don’t take that labor for granted. Even if you can do it yourself, you didn’t and there is probably a reason you didn’t.