lessons from my first year as a pattern designerOne year ago I was still wondering if I was going to take the plunge. It’s been an exciting year as winning the Design Along at A Playful Day launched me from ‘maybe’ to ‘right now in fact’.

A few things I’ve learned:

1. I always frown! I have had a ‘pensive, introspective’ brow since I was 10, but I don’t want to scowl in my photos so I’ve had to figure out some tricks to keep myself from coming across like a stern boarding school headmistress. So many photos hit the cutting room floor that are otherwise fantastic pictures.

2. It’s not just the work you think it will be. It’s not just learning how to design for multiple sizes rather than making sure the hat fits my husband’s head. There’s also so much more to it including book-keeping, learning multiple computer platforms (Ravelry, MailChimp, WordPress, etc.), and beginning to think of myself not just as a passionate knitter but also a careful designer.

3. There’s working in your business and then there’s working on your business. Until I realized that the two were different, I had a really hard time not feeling utterly overwhelmed by all of the items on my list. Working in my business is doing the design work. Working on my business is all the other work – website, social media, graphic design – that is important but serves as support for the designs.
I can’t prioritize both working in my business and on my business in the same week. One of them needs to wear the Boss Hat.

4. Writing things down keeps everything calmer, including me. Once I’ve written things down, my brain stops hurling itself onto a hamster wheel of churning thoughts, worried I’ll forget something and therefore constantly refreshing the idea.
BUT I can write things down at the speed of light compared to the way that I actually work at the speed of Sarah. Lists can be punishingly ambitious and unrealistic. I need to find ways to remind myself that a list of things that “can be done” and “should be done sometime in the next 3 years” is not a list that I “should do today”.

5. I struggle with Facebook but love Instagram, can’t quite decide what to do with Twitter, and really enjoy blogging (as I have for the past 10 years at different blogs).

6. I love designing. It is endlessly fascinating.

7. I love seeing other people interpret my patterns. The colours, adaptations, all of the personal touches. They are surprising and delightful.

What I’ve Learned My First Year
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