Monday, May 20, 2013

Mirkwood Shawl - released to the wild


As I sit here trying to think what to say about my first shawl pattern being released, the word "Wow" is the first thing that comes to mind. Not very eloquent, but it's the first thing my overwhelmed brain comes up with.

This adventure started on April 6th, just six weeks ago. When I suggested a custom Mirkwood themed shawl to go along with the Mirkwood colorway that Mandie from Sheepy Time Knits was planning, I had no idea what was ahead of me.

I'll admit it: I had never designed a shawl before. I've knitted lots of them, including some crazy epic lace shawls. But I've never sat down and done the math and charting to create one from scratch.Thus began the crash course on charting lace shawls. I went through the half dozen books I have with lace shawl patterns. I searched the Web. I tried to convert the stitch patterns I'd selected to work knitted top down.

I banged my head against many metaphorical walls. I came to realize that not all stitch patterns can be easily converted to work "upside down". I began knitting. And I inevitably ripped out many stitches.

When Mandie told me she expected to have her Middle Earth themed colorways stocked in her shop in early May, I trembled. Logically I knew two diametrically opposed truths:

  1. From a business perspective, it was best to get the pattern out as close to the yarn launch as possible. No sense in collaborating if the yarn and pattern launches happened too far apart. And part of the collaboration was that Mirkwood yarn purchasers receive a coupon code for a discount off the pattern. So really - there should be a pattern for them. 
  2. It wouldn't be the end of the world if the pattern wasn't done for the yarn launch. Stock prices wouldn't fall. Shareholders wouldn't get angry. (Mostly because there are no shareholders or stocks.) The important thing was delivering a quality pattern which had been properly tested and presented.
But I had given myself a challenge. And I don't back down from a challenge.

The testing phase was a whirlwind of activity. As always, I received plenty of excellent feedback and differing points of view which all got incorporated into the working pattern to make it better.

Several weeks ago I picked May 20th as the release date for 2 reasons. Firstly, it was the earliest reasonable date that allowed for testers to complete the shawl.

The second reason is much more personal. May 20th would have been my Dad's 76th birthday had he not passed away last September. So for me the releasing the pattern on May 20th is part talisman and part tribute. He would have been so proud of everything I've accomplished. And anything that happens on his special day has to turn out well. Love you, Dad.


  1. Yay! You got it done! Hope you had a nice time at the cottage with your mom and shared nice memories of your dad.

  2. Congratulations! It looks beautiful! And to produce such a thing with such a tight time line!?!?!? You're gooooood! :)