Mar 20, 2007

Decreasing Dayflower Lace

Okay, let's pretend that two weeks or so have passed since my last post. After a couple of weeks of non-frenzied knitting, the lower portion of my Dayflower Lace top has been completed, and I can't put off deciding how to decrease any longer. Typesetter and I had the same thought, namely that decreasing all at once would create a gathered look, which would have the effect of bunching up the lace, so instead I swatched a single lace repeat and tried various ways of decreasing each repeat from 17 to 11 stitches. (After completing a stockinette swatch to get gauge for the underbust band, I had decided that this would be how much I had to decrease to get the proper underbust circumference.) Pictured at top is just one of the rejects; at the top left of the lace section, the pattern does not maintain the clear faggoting outlines, which I realized were dominant features of the lace.

I swatched a decrease I thought would work, but after working a few rounds, I realized that the "flower" in the center had become boxy and vertical, rather than curving (second photo).

Eventually I decided that the best looking solution was to end the lace pattern on a row near the very top of one of the two "flowers," or on Row 6 or 14 of the lace pattern. On the last photo, I've drawn a line across the lace to show approximately where these pattern rows fall. More photos of the final version of the lace decrease in my next post!

And now, a couple of other matters. First of all, I wanted to thank everyone for their suggestions and encouraging comments. I noticed several comments along the vein of "...all of us who have designed have been rejected " (Marnie), "keep working on those designs" (Emily) and "Never give up!" (Edna). It's worth stating that persistence and a high tolerance for rejection are very valuable qualities for a telemarketer...I mean for a knitwear pattern designer! I myself cultivated those traits during a year or two spent writing mediocre short stories and trying (unsuccessfully) to get them published; I've had much better success with knitwear patterns. Still, there can be a sense that you are only as good as your last acceptance, so here are a few helpful things to keep in mind when facing rejection on a regular basis:
1) Even if your design is good and your pattern well written, the magazine (or book or yarn company) may already have three hats (or two top-down raglan pullovers, or six pairs of lace socks) in the running.
2) Your design may be original and beautiful, but may just not fit with the general aesthetic of that particular magazine, etc. etc.
3) If one entity rejects a design you can always submit it elsewhere, or self-publish it on your blog or website.

On the subject of sketches for submissions, Monica asked in an email, "Did you take a sketch or illustration class? Is there a source for fashion illustration templates?" I did take figure drawing--in high school. And as for templates, I've actually flipped through catalogs or magazines until I found a model dressed in something skimpy or form-fitting (Victoria's Secret works!) so I could see the outlines of the body, then traced it, to get a natural-looking pose for a sketch. If you don't feel your sketches are very good, it's better to keep them minimalistic--faces and hairstyles and hands are usually not required! Clean, simple lines can then be a design style, not a lack of drawing ability.


Ruinwen said...

I really admire your tenacity in coping with the issue of decreasing in the lace pattern. Watching your creative process is very educational and I am really enjoying the evolution of your project.


Julia (MindofWinter) said...

This is a wonderful entry, Angela. I'm interested to see if you have any tips on figuring out where to put decreases - why certain areas work better than others, etc., that you can share with everyone. I know that a lot of this is trial and error, but I'd love to hear your thoughts.

I think that those of us who have published should probably get in a few posts about publishing designs, and I think your comments on rejection are right on the money. Rejection is simply part of the process, and not something to worry about in the big scheme of things. Plus sometimes rejection is really just an opportunity in disguise. Self-publishing can end up being more fulfilling and lucrative than going through the traditional channels.

Finally, I draw terribly, so your sketching tips are much appreciated. Going to a fashion mag for the basic form is a great tip.

xox, J

Joanna said...

This post is so interesting to read, especially because it seems like you struggled with a lot of the same problems while decreasing in lace as I did in my last post! I'd love to see what you finally decided on in more detail.

Also, thank you for your sketching tips! My sketches are usually just good enough to get my point across (I think - maybe they don't even do that). They tend to be very geometric... starting from a picture in a magazine is a great idea and might help me break away from the standard front and back views.