CNCHnet . . . The Textile Arts Webzine of the Conference of Northern California Handweavers

Technological Shenanigans of a Knitter

 

The internet. It’s a big, crazy party right? With Facebook, twitter, google, ebay and who knows what else! But it’s also a place where people come together to share their artwork. There are a few sites I take part in that I find fun, helpful and inspiring.

The first is Craftsy, which is a community of all sorts of artists/crafters, not just knitters.
I can share projects, upload my own designs, take classes, learn new crafts and see what other artists are up to.  It’s a place I often retreat to in search of inspiration.

In addition to finding all sorts of neat things that inspire and enlighten me, it’s been a great place to offer my designs to people. You can upload any of your patterns/designs for free!  Unlike a few sites, there are no fees, which is quite nice. I have my own “Pattern Store” where it shows me the number of downloads, wish lists and projects, so I can track what people like.

Grayscaled Cables

It does, however, take time to establish yourself when you’re just starting out like me, so I’m still in the beginning stages of gathering a following.  I’ve found it helpful to get myself out there by finding other designers and commenting on their patterns, as well as sending them messages letting them know I like their style.

With a Twist of Mustard

Another site that I’ve spent a little more time on, and therefore am a little more successful on, is Ravelry. This is solely a knitter and crocheter community. Again, you can share projects, and upload patterns (both for free and for sale) with no fees!  In addition, you can join groups, participate in forum discussions and keep track of your yarn/needle stash, project progress, etc. It’s also nice to see yarn suggestions and feedback on other people’s patterns, giving you a better idea of the finished product before you invest the time and money into it. What I like about Ravelry is the ability to join more specific groups (designers, geographical areas, types of projects, fiber preference) that you can then share all your projects and designs with. Instead of trying to get yourself out to millions, you have a more targeted audience.

The Knitting Bohemian

Before I advertise my patterns on these sites, there are a few steps I have to take.  After designing and knitting my pieces, digital photography, editing and formatting are the final stages of completing my pattern.

Winter Trees Jacket

Using a digital camera allows me to take as many shots as I need, upload them onto a computer where I can then sort through them and edit any if needed.  Although editing sometimes feelings like “cheating”, it’s very beneficial.  I can tweak things like exposure, temperature, hues, saturation, and contrast – the last being my favorite – to my liking. In addition to the basic editing techniques, you can add things like text, or hide things that are undesirable.  For example, there’s a perfect bench to take a photo with, but… there’s a not so perfect trash can in the background. With the right person editing the photo, that undesirable object will vanish and look like it was never there!  The programs I use to do this are Adobe Bridge and Photoshop. They give me the ability to create the most professional photos that I can then use to advertise my designs.

Rainbow Sock Monkey Hat

A Scoop of Neapolitan Hat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Typing and formatting the patterns are next.  Again, Photoshop becomes my best friend! Though there are programs out there made especially for writing/formatting patterns, I’ve found that I really like the diversity of the different layouts I can make. I can create anything I want.  I can place my photos and text in any position, in any font, size and direction. I can also add borders, drawings, anything! Once I’ve come up with something I’m happy with, I save the pattern as a PDF and am then ready to upload to the internet.
Having the internet and various technological gadgets available has had a huge impact on my ability in becoming an independent designer.  With quick feedback from others, DIY publishing, easy and affordable access to pattern uploading and advertisement, and social networking, it’s easy to get yourself started.  Even if you’re not a designer, all these tools can be helpful in sharing the enjoyment of your hobby with others.

 

Alisha is a June  graduate from SRJC  this year with an associate degree in Business.   She is now in the process of working towards a certificate in Small Business Management.   She works at Cast Away a few days a week as a sales associate and instructor as well as at Red Wing Shoes, a work boot store.   In addition to becoming a full-fledged designer,  Alisha’s  dream is to own a sock store – fun, crazy socks in addition to hand knit ones.  However, an intermediate goal is to work on sheep farm for a few months where she would learn to take care of the sheep, shear them, and spin and dye their wool.
Patterns are available for all the pictures in this article. The first one is $2.99, the rest are free, in addition to others!! They can be found on Alisha’s blog (www.illuminknitdesigns.blogspot.com) or can be downloaded in form of PDF off Ravelry (http://www.ravelry.com/designers/alisha-bright).

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