I struggle with avoiding the echo chamber. If I’m not careful, I end up listening to the same music, reading the same news, hearing the same friends and, of course, browsing the same knitting patterns. I’m hardly a novelty freak, but it’s important to not cut myself off from new things completely.
There’s some work involved: raw piles of data aren’t helpful, but over-filtered information gets kinda samey. I try to get around it by finding other people to do the work for me: For music, I follow music blogs and have a handful of friends who report to me with the names of bands that OMIGOD I HAVE TO CHECK OUT, and occasionally google phrases like “the Vietnamese Tom Waits” to inject some unfiltered noise into my comfortable habits.
On Ravelry, I watch my friends’ activity like a hawk, and I obsessively check test-knitting groups. It’s a great way to scope out new patterns, and I like occasionally signing on for a test knit and donating a little extra time to proofing patterns.
Hence: This hat! It’s brioche stitch, which I love; the cables are awesome; and with bulky yarn, I cranked it out in no time flat. It’s warm and plush and RED. The test pattern was already pretty polished, so I didn’t have to spend a lot of time counting and double-checking. Total cakewalk. And as an inveterate indie-rock hipster-wannabe, it’s like getting into a band before they’ve even released their first EP: total bragging rights.
I had my Montague hat pattern up for months, and aside from a couple of comments (thank you, commenters!), didn’t hear anything. And then … Ravelry.
I found someone’s project notes for it on Ravelry, where someone noted that the metric needle sizes were wrong. By that point, the original Illustrator file was only on a hard drive that had been yanked out of a computer and parked in a drawer somewhere, so I was out of luck when it came to editing.
Yesterday I was feeling a little layout-antsy, and laid the pattern out all over again at work after hours. I’ve bought a lot of patterns online since I first made my pattern, so when I redid it, I addressed a bunch of the things that drive me nuts about the ones I see online.
I replaced the copy on this site with the new version, and then uploaded it to my Ravelry store. (I love that they’re letting people post patterns for free — and I can’t wait until they roll out the actual store. Built-in pattern store! How rad is that?!) Everything just plain worked. It was amazing. With any luck, people will knit it and comment on it, and I’ll be able to keep refining it.
And now the tricky part: making everyone on Ravelry want to knit it. Bwa ha ha!
Anyway, if you’re looking for it on Ravelry, it’s here: ravelry:montague
I just saw two photos on Ravelry of projects based on my patterns and omigod it is just about the best feeling ever. And even though the metric needle sizes weren’t correct on the Montague PDFs, and I seem to make hats that are shorter than anyone else likes them, and and and … seeing the little smiley face that said someone liked the pattern OK made me happy. Which was something I didn’t even know I should be insecure about until I saw it, and is now something I will be insecure about forever.