Knitwear Designer//Pattern Drafter//Author//Teacher

I'm a window, not a door.

I'm a window, not a door.

I felt like I covered so much in this little blog to help newbie designers get a jump start, but it recently came to my attention that there is still room for more. The knitwear designers of this generation are pretty transparent, and yet folks are still fired up about the difficulties they face as they try breaking into the industry.

It’s funny how, after spending hours upon hours working on sharing information that would be very anti-secret society, there is still a great many that think the design world is just that. If I’m going to be completely honest, it made me feel a pang of hurt and aggravation even though it definitely shouldn’t! But, as I’ve said many times before, I’m vulnerable to all sorts of faults (and that is my humanity showing, so I’ll allow it). So, I’m here to share some sources for those still unconvinced that after SEVEN lengthy posts, we (the knitting industry) are still trying to exclude — whomever feels excluded. I also want to remind everyone that I have standard size measurement tables for sale here on my website. There are standards for women, men, children, and accessories available. Find my standards HERE. And please understand that I have been working on compiling these measurements since I first began my design journey (10 years ago!) so they are being offered for sale with prices ranging $2.50 - $4.

I gave some background on my journey into design and I feel like this is a great time to remind the new designers of the world that it isn’t easy for anyone. The days, weeks, months of tears and stomach aches, long conversations with my husband, self-doubt, and stress that I went through informs me that if you’re feeling frustrated and annoyed, then you’re in good company. The way to get to your goal is to push through all of the muck. This is true for literally anything we do - every industry - every goal - every single journey we take in our lives are going to put us face to face with challenges, barriers, rejection, failure, and for those that have grit, success. There are lifelines in the muck though, so do the leg work, do the research, keep your eyes open, and get that Google search bar on staff.

I may come across as severe and pithy in print here, but know that I started this resource blog to give openly and I very much want to convey that I’m not the only one in the design community to do so. On the other hand, creative industries are not easy on the heart or the mind. I’m here today because if there is more information to share, I’m happy to do so.

First, Bristol Ivy sent out an invitation to all designers/new designers to reach out to her with any questions or one-on-one help for getting into the industry. I don’t know about you, but that seems about as transparent as it gets. I’ve met and worked briefly with Bristol in the past, and if you’re looking for a warm, open, friendly, and brilliant designer, she’s it. Find Bristol HERE.

There is a designer group on Ravelry that is a great mix of green and seasoned designers alike - you will also find a lot of calls for submissions posted there so, that is a fantastic resource available to all!

As I mentioned before, get that Google search bar to carry the load - you can search “help for new knitwear designer” and pages of information will magically appear. That’s how I found Kristen’s blog while working up this post. Kristen TenDyke tech edited both of my books and she provides a brief summary of how to self-publish patterns on her blog. Find Kristen HERE. Also try searching things like “knitwear design how to” and you’ll find links to posts like THIS.

Interested in some ethical yarn companies? Why not check out the queen of ethical and sustainable wool advocacy? Find Ashley of Woolful HERE.

On the topic of yarn - what about yarn support? Most publications will coordinate support for your design. If you’d like to obtain support for a self-published design, it’s as easy as sending them a message asking if they provide support for self-published work and include your website, Ravelry, and if possible, including your proposal, sketch, and swatch, with the exact yarn, color, and quantity you’re requesting. The worst that will happen is they deny your request. Some companies will give you a special discount rather than deny or fulfill your request, and others will send you what you need no problem.

I feel like a broken record, but seriously, do some research and you’ll soon find the resources are out there. Rather than leaving you with a quote from Elizabeth Zimmerman as I normally do (and, who by the way, struggled and fought her way past rejection after rejection trying to break into knitwear design, and who is arguably one of the most influential designers of our generation) I will leave you with this:

The path from dreams to success does exist. May you have the vision to find it, the courage to get on to it, and the perseverance to follow it.
— Kalpana Chawla
Submit.  Really.

Submit. Really.