Thursday, July 21, 2016

How I knitted 2 samples in 2 days like a crazy pant

I would never recommend this, even to my very worst-est enemy, but this week was a bit crazy.

As a designer (as in, this is what I do for my full-time job, in addition to tech editing, and pattern writing), I work a lot on deadlines. I have to get my work done and to someone (i.e. the designer, the magazine, publisher, etc.) so that they can get the next part of the process of getting a pattern published. For me, deadlines are fun because they are motivating. They make me get stuff done, fast, instead of just twiddling your thumbs second guessing everything. You just have to get it done, right?!

When I self-publish, I have a lot of flexibility with my schedule of when I will release the pattern based on how much time I have available to devote to creating the sample and writing up the pattern. As a full-time designer, self-publishing alone is not enough. There is a pretty solid mix of patterns published with online and print magazines in order to make this all work. As of late, my focus is less on print and more on online mediums (if you want to know why in more details, shoot me an email or leave a comment).

Anyway, with designing for publications, the turnaround time can be pretty tight. A designer can expect 4-6 weeks, 8 weeks if you are lucky, from the time of receiving notification that your pattern(s) were selected for inclusion in the issue, to requesting and receiving yarn support to create the sample, to creating and mailing off the sample, and writing up the pattern.

So, typically 4-6 weeks is plenty of time for me. Just select a series on Netflix to binge watch and I am golden. But somehow, I put it in my mind that a deadline for 2 samples were weeks away, which turned out to be due in less than a 7 days. It happens. You look at the contract. You make notes. In my case I have a spreadsheet that I use, The Submission Tracker, but somehow in my mind had misremembered the due dates.

Submission, Tracker

I don't even know what prompted me to even double-check the due dates on these sample. I had just taken a sweater sample off the blocking mats and was just putting the buttons on when my mind started to drift to when to start the next project. The yarn support had come in and I was thinking about getting the yarn ready to be caked. After sewing on the final button on the sample sweater, I jumped onto my computer to The Submission Tracker and that's when it hit. My dates were way off. I had samples due in less than a week that I had to make the samples, write up the patterns, and get in the mail. Yikes! 

After taking a minute or two to be overcome with panic, like you do, I made dinner for my boys, like you do. Because, even though I was in crisis mode and had to come up with a plan to meet the deadline and NOT come off as a flake to the publishers, first and utmost, I am a wife and a mother. Just because I am pulling my hair out on the inside, my husband and son does not need to see me being a crazy pant.

On the inside, I am frazzled. I am thinking of all the worst case scenarios of never, ever, getting another design proposal accepted for publication because I failed to meet this deadline. All the publishers of all my favorite magazines will tell my horrific story. And so I go down that rabbit hole of… I will never get to work with this magazine again. I will be blacklisted by ALL magazines and never get my designs published again. Knitters and crocheters across the internet will hear of my shame, of how flaky I was and never trust my designs, thus never buying another one of my patterns. I will have to try to find a job. I won't find a corporate job that paid well. I will have to work at McDonald and make minimum wage, if I am lucky. My son will go hungry. We will loose our house. And so it goes. Do you see how easy it is to spiral from a simple thought?

The truth is, none of that will happen, because I have been doing this for long enough to know what I can do, and even if I missed a deadline, those scenarios wouldn't happen. But do you see how we often, we, women, can quickly jump to THE very worst case scenarios of things we know won't happen, especially with one incident? Sure, if I miss like 5 or 10 deadlines, fall off the edge of the earth without communication, then maybe. But that was a big stretch.

Isn't it funny how one setback, one negative, can lead us down this dark and dangerous path of doom and despair, where if you just think about it, really think of what might truly happen, we find that that place of doom and gloom isn't as bad as we imagine it to be.

So, through making dinner, which is quite relaxing for me, I had the patterns written in my head and ready to start knitting. I had the patterns practically written in my head because I was using yarns and at a gauge I was familiar working with - bonus. <Pro-Tip: Get familiar with a lot of yarns, brands, fiber content, and weight. This will make designing and writing proposals so much easier to execute.> And by the time my son was off to take his shower before bed (because yeah, it's above 90 degrees), I was ready to find a cool spot in my living on the couch (which was really hard to do with wool yarn on my lap) with a good ole' British murder mystery Netflix to keep me company through the long hours.

In an upcoming post, I will share my list of movies, podcast, series, etc., I watch while knitting and crocheting, especially on a tight deadline. <Pro-Tip 2: The more dramatic the movie, podcast, et, the greater the adrenaline driving the story line is, the faster I knit and crochet, which you can't beat on a tight deadline.>

KnitDesigns by Tian, Newsletter,

As you might have guessed, I made the deadline. All is well. I am still designing for publications and my son will not go hungry. In less than 24-hours, both accessory samples were knitted and blocked. Thanks to the warm weather we are having, the pieces dried quickly and got in the mail. Of course they were not pinned out in my office and quarantined from the furry babies, but instead placed outside with fingers crossed that the wrens living at the edge of our woods wouldn't find it a good place to perch and hang out.

So, now it's your turn. What crazy pant knitting and crocheting adventures have you been on this summer?

Until next time...Stitch on!
*A rising tide lifts all boats*

Photo by Valley Yarns

P.S. Thank you so much everyone who checked out my new shawl, Crisanta Shawl, available from Webs, Valley Yarns. Your support and kind words of encouragement is so greatly appreciated.

P.P.S. One last thing. I just got my digital subscription copy of I Like Crochet magazine, August 2016 issue and was so shocked to see my cowl, Adventure Cowl, made it to the cover of the magazine. I am without words. (I know, likely, right!) I'm still processing all of this and will write a blog post soon. But wanted to share with you this thrilling and unexpected news. Thank you for letting me share.
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