Saturday, 29 September 2012

Writing Patterns

A lot of my recent work has been going into writing up some of my scale mail patterns into a format that's acceptable for other human beings to understand, but for reasons that I never really realised until after I started trying to write patterns it takes such a long time! Fortunately they go on sale after I've spent months agonizing over the details, so I don't need to worry about meeting deadlines as such and can get on with knitted orders that do have a time limit whenever I need to. But it means that it can be quite difficult to find enough time to sit down and sort out any given part of patten writing...

Learning to Write Patterns 1 - Writing Lists
There are a whole lot of lists that you need to include for a pattern. I want a list for techniques, materials, equipment and a list at the end of resources (but that's nicely tied in with the techniques list), and I can get a bit muddled up just trying to format them all to look the same, let alone make sure they're correct and comprehensive!

Learning to Write Patterns 2 - Being Consistent
My patterns have stages, and each stage would, if I'd just left it, look completely different from the other stages. There are three sections to the knitting pattern I'm writing (and that's just the pattern, not the rest of the information) and they'd all be completely different from each other if I hadn't worked so hard to at least try and make them feel similar. They're very different pattern sections!

Learning to Write Patterns 3 - Making Sense/Not Writing an Essay
This is one of the hardest bits. I want to explain clearly and easily how this chart thing works, but I don't want them to have to read more than a couple of sentences to get it. Similar with each stage in the scale knitting tutorial, and explanation of different sizes and how I've labelled them in the pattern. In the end I usually get it fairly concise, but I'm naturally a very waffly person!
(mmmmmmmm, waffles)
A brief distraction from patterns to tell you there is in fact a real life recipe for Homer's Patented Space Age Out Of This World Moon Waffles in case that photo made you hungry, but fortunately someone else has made it and tried it for you and it's not a great idea. Best stick to normal waffles.

Learning to Write Patterns 4 - Taking Photos
This is the curse of deciding an image tutorial is the solution to the previous point!
Getting a really good photo is hard. Getting a set of photos that look like they are of the same object at different points in the process sometimes seems impossible! Not only do I want to try and get it from a similar angle as the others, a good viewing angle for this particular step, and try and make sure it comes out a similar brighness and colour as the other ones. I know I can edit them pretty easily to match better, but after all the other stuff it's faster to just take several photos of each thing and pick out the best matching set.

Learning to Write Patterns 5 - Getting Distracted
More than once in the process so far of writing patterns I've found myself accidentally wandering all over the internet for much longer than intended, and coming back to the pattern that I remembered I was working on with no idea what I was about to do, or what settings I just put the first bunch of paragraphs on and therefore what setting I need for each of the subsequent sections to match the different requirements. Oops. Pattern writing takes a lot more when you procrastinate as you do it, even if you didn't include the time spent procrastinating!

Learning to Write Patterns 6 - Confidence
It can't be right, there must be more mistakes. Can anybody else proof read this? There must be some mistakes left in it. I never feel like something I've written has fully been corrected, and it takes quite a lot of time to ask anybody nearby to help read something or check that the pictures look the right size. Especially when you want them to do it again for every change of phrase or reformatting!

But eventually a pattern must be finished, and eventually it goes on sale. Which is as exciting as it is nerve-wracking! Despite thinking every time I send it to somebody that they'll e-mail right back with a whole list of problems, errors and parts that are badly written it's really enjoyable to think there are people who will be able to make a new exciting thing thanks to all that time I spent feeling confused over a word document :)

This obviously isn't everything there is when it comes to writing patterns, quite a bit of it's specific to the fact I'm writing patterns that need to accommodate the fact that most people have never knitted with scales before! It'sjust some of the bigger problems I came across in my adventure!
And more patterns are on the way, this was written because I got as far as I could with the coming pattern without taking the tutorial photos, and that requires daylight! Off to do something else now I guess.

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