A Year of Garment Knitting – What’s Next?

I realized today that my 2017 Rhinebeck Sweater (pictured below) was really the start of what would become a year of garment knitting. And, since The NY Sheep & Wool Festival (aka “Rhinebeck”) is coming up again in just one week, that means it’s been exactly a year since I took the plunge into garment knitting! I’ve knit 8 garments since then, and I’ve grown so much as a knitter.

This craft has really become an essential part of my life. I never leave home without a knitting project, or several. I’ve made projects I’m incredibly proud of (cue my Oxbow cardigan) and a couple that I may never even wear, simply because I had a few lessons I needed to learn and those projects ended up being fantastic teachers. In fact, looking at last year’s Rhinebeck Sweater (“So Faded” pattern by Andrea Mowry), there’s a lot I’d change about it. I’ve since learned the important difference between variegated and speckled and about pooling and flashing… and that just because a color is “pretty,” that doesn’t mean it’s a color I actually wear!

And I started a Knitting YouTube channel! I’m pretty proud of my little video podcast. I’ve published 15 episodes since February. I’d like to be more consistent with it and really get it to grow. The purpose of the channel was always, and is still, to be more involved in the knitting community – to meet other knitters and contribute content that other knitters enjoy. Slowly but surely I’m seeing progress toward that goal. It’s hard not to compare myself to some of the other channels with giant audiences and big time collaborations, but as with everything – baby steps.

I’ve pretty much shut down my Etsy shop. I’ve become quite the selfish knitter and I like it that way.

However… I do still dream of becoming a knitting pattern designer. I think my 2019 New Year’s resolution will be to seriously give that a try.

In the meantime, I’m happy to just knit away on more garments for myself (in addition to plenty of shawls, hats, socks, mittens, etc etc). My skills are expanding every day, and I know the work I’m doing is setting a firm foundation for the future designer within me that’s hopefully waiting to emerge.

It’s challenging to dream big in the knitting world. The market is SO saturated with incredibly talented designers, many of whom have YouTube channels with over 20,000 subscribers. It’s hard to imagine that my little corner of the knitting community could ever grow to anything close to that size. Admittedly, I sometimes watch my own videos and cringe – wondering how anyone could possibly stand to watch an episode of me babbling on like I know what I’m talk about. I typically only watch it during editing, and then I cross my fingers and hope it’s alright. At first, the process of watching myself talk on camera was even a bit painful, but I’ve learn to accept this is who I am. This is how I talk. These are the dumb things I say.

Image result for and gosh darn it people like me

And yet, I still want to try my hand at designing some day. Maybe it will be something I’m really excellent at. Who knows until I try? My fear of failure can cause me a great deal of anxiety, but I have to admit – it’s never stopped me before. I don’t see why designing should be any different that the million other things I’ve tried. Sure, designing could be one of the many things I’ve tried a few times and learned I’m not cut out for (e.g. my Etsy shop), but every once in a while I stumble on something I’m pretty okay at (e.g. my career)

Maybe after the holidays, I’ll have some time to really get serious about designing. I’ve already been doodling some ideas here and there. I even took a class on sweater design with the inimitable Ann Budd, and I have a few books on knitwear design and pattern writing. Surely, there have been designers who’ve started out with less.

In fact, I know that I have the ability to design hats. I’ve created my own hat designs in the past, back when I didn’t know half as much as I know now – I just never wrote up the pattern and published it. For that reason, hats would probably be a good place to start.

I might feel a little more confident if I released a “collection.” For some reason, a single pattern would make me feel too much like a “beginner” which is the part of learning something new that I really get anxious about. Perhaps, I’ll feel a little less pressure about “the FIRST pattern” if I release a small spring collection that includes: a few pairs of socks, a lightweight hat, and a shawl? Hmmm…my gears are turning.

As they say… watch this space 😉

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