Thursday, July 26, 2012

Designing, Why It's Called Work

A few months ago, I sketched out an idea for a garment on a paper towel (no joke!) and I've had it tucked in a notebook all this time. I've looked at it a few times in those months, but moved on.

Yesterday, I was reviewing the next editorial calendar. I took a few hours to absorb the information -- theme, colors, the adjectives they used to describe the "look" they were after. That is a chaotic phase for me; drawing out a sketch, then jumping to the computer to search for images (not necessarily crochet or knit images), pulling out a stitch dictionary, back to the sketch pad. I feel disjointed and awkward during that time, and yes, a little like Marty chasing his tail.

Then I hit on an idea. I shouted "Eureka!" The sketch on the paper towel had found its time.

I knew exactly what I wanted to work on. Anxiety receded. Excitement set in.

Work -- Phase 1 
I began to swatch. Swatching tells me a few things: how the stitch pattern will play out, gauge, how color changes will affect the overall look, and shaping.  This phase is fun, but can be intense (concentration is needed).

I swatched until I had the color work done, and then it was time to work on the shaping for armholes and neckline -- a bigger challenge, given the stitch pattern I had chosen.

I slept on it.

Work -- Phase 2 

This morning I've done a lot of staring, wheels turning trying to get some traction on the problem. Again, I had the idea and continued to work on that swatch, developing the idea and the shaping. I was pleased as punch!

Work -- Phase 3 

Next, I've pinned the swatch to my dress form (Rebecca). She's wearing it pretty well, but now I can see more issues. Color changes need to be modified, armhole shaping can be refined and the idea needs to be placed in a different spot.

Now What? 

So . . . I'm not done yet.

Why am I going to all this trouble to work out details if I haven't sold the piece yet? Wouldn't a sketch be enough?

Yes, well . . .  maybe.

The issues that are left to be resolved involve design elements. Those design elements are opportunities to set my design apart from the other hundred or so that will cross that editor's desk. What makes my piece special, interesting, or something that will give the reader of the magazine a chance to learn something new?

Remember, the proposal is a selling tool. It's an opportunity to SHOW the editor something great, not just tell her.

Happy Stitchin'!