Evolutions of my design philosophy

October 3, 2011 at 12:46 pm Leave a comment

The running theme of the summer has been an attempt to keep up my knitting inspiration. There is nothing like the bite of fall air to make you deeply desire to start a new wool cardi, freshen up your personal sock stash, and cast on a cowl or two. But the problem wasn’t just the 90 degree weather. I think I did something else wrong this summer. I tried to knit summer things. I don’t like summer things… not nearly as much as the sweaters, socks, mittens, hats and cowls that are so wonderfully appreciated in the winter. I had the right idea last summer. When May came around, I cast on an alpaca pullover, not necessarily the most fun to have on your lap all summer. But when september rolled around. I had a brand new sweater, that I wore all year, and just pulled out yesterday, when the high was 64 degrees. I think I even made a pair or two of socks. This year, being the first year I officially launched Elegant Economy as an independent design business, I spent far too much time trying to design items *other* people would like to knit during the summer.

The phrase “be true to yourself” makes me look for the nearest garbage pail to puke in. No one comes “out of the box” perfect. We all have a lot of unpleasant characteristics that we spend most of our lives trying to overcome. If I stayed true to myself, for example, I would never let my dear friends get a word in edgewise, while I chattered their ear off. I would show complete disregard and disrespect for any of their thoughts and opinions, while arrogantly airing my own. So in this sense, I never want to be true to myself. I want to always be looking outside myself, striving for a standard higher than what is most natural to me.

However, I do believe each person is created with unique temperaments, desires, likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, and skill sets. And I think trying to conform yourself to a mold you were never designed to fit into really is a recipe for disaster.

In my first design release in April I quickly started getting data back on what people did an didn’t like about my work, based mostly on sales. What I found fascinating, is that there were two patterns that in my mind, were very forced, and two that practically designed themselves, garments that I wanted for my personal wardrobe, and didn’t just throw together hoping to make a few dollars. Apparently everyone else knew which ones they were too. The two  that came the easiest and were the most fun to work on were by far the best sellers of the whole collection. People are still favorite-ing them on Ravelry on a daily basis. I wish I had picked up on this right away. It would have saved me lots of grief over the summer working and reworking designs that I thought people would buy. Instead of designing the next project I wanted for my own personal gratification. So in that sense, I do need to stay true to myself. Excuse me while I go find a trash can. 🙂

So the wonderful bite in the cool fall air has arrested my attention. It’s time to design all the projects I wish I could be wearing right this minute. Back to the drawing board.

P.S. So far I’m still on track to release my next pattern within the next couple weeks. Keep checking back!!

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