23 October 2011

Dublin Bay extended

Having finally added the longer version of Dublin Bay shawl to the pattern, I'm celebrating with a few photos of the ACTual Bay of Dublin from a few days ago in the biting October winds.

I love that this is a sight I am greeted with often, and I count myself very lucky that I have such beauty within a short distance from the new Yarn Towers site. It really makes me pause for thought to think that people have been sailing in and out of this stretch of water for millennia, and that it was the gateway for the establishment of Dyflin, the Viking word for Dublin over 2000 years ago. It really humbles me to think of the sheer volume of lives that have been affected by this bite out of the land.

The first photo is looking north from Booterstown, on the lower end of the bay. The edge of Dublin City is visible in the lights to the left.

The second photo is again, from Booterstown, but looking south, towards DĂșn Laoghaire and Bray's pier beyond as the watery, winter sun slowly crawls into the sky over low tide. 

Dublin Bay is my first pattern to feature what I am calling Tunisian Lace techniques. If you can do basic tunisian stitches, or if you are familiar with crochet linked stitches, then it, and my other shawls, will be a piece of cake to you. If not, I've gone and added links to video tutorials on how to read my charts, and how to work the stitches, to be sure.

10 October 2011

A life of testing...

...appears to be ahead of me as a designer, but as frustrating as it can be at times, it is clearly the better choice for me.

I have spent the last year and a half on and off looking for an editor with which to start a meaningful relationship. Someone I can turn to, give money to, and in return be confident that the pattern text I get back is safe to publish, and clear enough that customers can read through it and understand what I meant to say without confusion.

It seems to me that this shouldn't be too difficult to do on the surface, but, as many before me have undoubtedly found, a good editor (especially in crochet) is as hard to find as hen's teeth.

So! I have decided after several heartbreaks, to go down another road. I'm relying on the generosity and sharp eyes of a wonderful group of testers. What brilliant people! In exchange for a free preview copy of a pattern (and the eventual fully-edited version), these goddesses are happy to work out the kinks in tandem, to ask pertinent questions, suggest re-wordings, and generally check spelling, stitch numbers and garment fit.

Now, naturally, there's a lot more work for me to do; I'm not just flinging text at a bunch of people and expecting them to "fix" it. I'm far more involved in the process, checking up daily if possible on everyone's progress, answering questions and explaining myself further, but they're so patient! I've been swallowed up in my own mathematics a few times in the course of the last few tests, but my testers have been so helpful in detangling me.

 I'm in love with my regular core group of testers at this stage, after they worked me through Ruadh, Dublin Bay, Solas and lately, Lop and Honeymeade. Now, a group of 9 are embarking on my newest pattern set: Liffey Swim: A hat, fingerless glove and mitten set, just in time for the weather to turn.

The bonus of this for me, oddly enough, is that I gain a much better understanding of the pattern in question, too. No longer do I find myself writing out instructions, only to have them fall out my ear while I sleep. Now, when a customer asks me why I did something the way I did, or if a pattern could be modified in a certain way, I'm much quicker off the mark. This pleases me, and I hope it pleases the questioner, too.

So, fellow budding designers, I cannot highly enough recommend the Testing Pool in Ravelry's groups. For us minnows in a sea of giants, it's the only way to go!


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