When the Design Process is a Difficult Mistress: Making Doggerland Pt 2

The Doggerland design process. Last time I wrote about all the preparation I undertook before starting the actual hands-on work. I had compiled a moodboard, worked out the colour palette, researched the history/archaeology background and found out that I really had to simplify my design vocabulary before getting anywhere close to the ideas in my head. What happened next? What happened next is exactly what happened between the last post I wrote (posted on April 15) and this one (posted May 2). Other Work happened. I have a portfolio career and it's one that I really enjoy - but it also means that I cannot devote all my time to just one project. Bills need to be paid, projects need to meet deadlines, and clients need to be met. I have a good work ethic, so I managed to carve out time between other projects but it was really frustrating to sit on four finished designs and not being able to release them before I finished the next four designs!

Doggerland Preview

I was also surprised by all the new skills I had to acquire. I had to learn how to use two new software programmes, I had to create pattern templates, I had to write a style sheet (which means I use uniform abbreviations and terms across all patterns) and I had to think of schematics. For an indie designer like me, that was a lot of non-knitting stuff to consider and it took time to get to grips with these things. I could not afford to hire someone to do all these things for me, sadly, so it was learning on the job!

But I got back to knitting eventually.

I mention 'sitting on four finished designs' - I guess I could have started releasing patterns by that stage but I would have felt really uncomfortable if the flow of pattern releases was then interrupted by, say, three deadline projects. I don't think it is particularly fair to knitters when it happens - it would speak poorly of time management on my part to have a start-stop-start flow to the Doggerland patterns. I'd rather have the vast majority of patterns finished by the time I start publishing them. It is fairer to you (and fairer to my peace of mind).

Doggerland PreviewSo, where am I at now? I am sitting on 6½ finished designs with most photography done. I took out a couple of patterns a few weeks ago because they felt like filler to me and I'd rather have eight strong designs than have a larger collection. The next few weeks will see me winding down the amount of work I do (i.e. I'll be working a normal working week rather than the insane 60+ hrs/wk I have been pulling the last few months). I once mentioned a Late March release date - I am now thinking it will be June. It is a bitter pill to swallow.

So, what lessons have I learned? What mistakes did I make? Why the beep does it take me this long? Stay tuned.