Pattern Development: Allison
Have you ever wondered how much time and effort goes into the evolution of a knitting pattern? It is probably more than you think!
Let me take you through the steps that led to my most recent design, Allison. It’s fun for me, too, to take the chance to remember.
In the fall as I was starting to plan what a new Hannah Fettig design might look like, I started to think about pockets. And what is so interesting about this is that I wasn’t the only one. If you note new pattern releases over the past few months, you see a few pocketed cardigans climbing the charts! It is interesting how we are all influenced by the same things without realizing it. It’s like we all worked off the same mood board and came up with a collection. I think it’s great!
For as much as I preached about de-stashing a few years ago, I have found myself swimming in yarn again. This includes a few sweaters worth of my beloved Quince and Co. Owl. My thought process was: I have this yarn, I love this yarn…but I often design in Quince and Co. I should really branch out….but I love this yarn, I have this yarn. And that was that.
Keeping in mind how much my knitters tend to like seamless knits, I wanted the pocket to be set in. And I kept coming back to the idea of an alternate color for the pocket lining, but said I would figure it out once I got there. After years of using sample knitters, I am appreciating the many advantages of knitting my own samples again, which is more possible when I am releasing a single design verses a collection.
I didn’t want this to be Georgetown or Rosemont all over again, but I did want it to appeal to the same knitters who fell in love with these cardigans. In the end, I think Allison brings together the best features of these popular designs, making it a design that will work for a lot of people!
Cast on began beginning of December, and 6 weeks later (just before the photo shoot, classic) I had it off my needles. I knit the sample in my size so I could enjoy wearing it after all the work was done. I also considered modeling it, but as the time approached I was sure I wanted someone else. I asked my friend Allison, who has fantastic personal style, if she would be interested. She said yes, hooray! We worked together to put together her final look, other than the sweater all pieces are from her own personal wardrobe. (Everyone asks about her constellation jeans. They are from Madewell.)
In terms of where to photograph in Maine in the middle of winter, sometimes the options are limited. I sort of fell into an opportunity when my skincare specialist moved into a new space here in Kennebunk. The most beautiful, well lit perfect space. Michelle agreed to having us shoot on a Saturday afternoon and even did the makeup for Allison using her beautiful, clean products. I love it when things come together so well!
Once the images were captured, the most crucial step of all was taken - getting with my technical editor of the past 10 years, Tana Pageler to size and edit the pattern. This process takes on average 2 - 4 weeks, with back and forth questions and drafts to review. She and I have a tried and true working relationship - she understands my intentions without me having to explain much, she gets my design work. In all our years together, we have encountered very little errata after publishing. She is a most valued member of my pattern development, I would be nowhere without her! The fact that my designs are available in such a wide range of sizes? That’s because of her! I know collectively we applaud her.
Another priceless member of my team is Mary Joy Gumayagay. She is the graphic designer I have worked with on all my major publications. She is also the one who creates all of my schematics which I am always very grateful for. It’s a small job for her, but she is always willing to fit it into her busy schedule and I am grateful!
Finally comes pattern layout. I do this myself in Adobe InDesign. Once it is put together, I send it back to Tana for another look as she always catches things looking at the pattern differently. When I can, I bring in another pair of editor eyes, this time thanks to Holly Priestly for lending her brain!
This is a rough outline of the months of work that went into this knitting pattern. Want to knit yourself an Allison? Grab the pattern from Raverly for only $7. Owl is a very forgiving worsted weight, woolen spun, wool / alpaca blend yarn You could substitute any number of wool or wool blend yarns if you like. Whatever you choose, lets see those contrast color pocket linings! You can send me pictures of your finished Allison’s to firstname.lastname@example.org - I would love to see them and I would love to share them here!