The Art of becoming a Craftswoman

Cardigan - Blue Sky

Craftsmanship: The quality of design and work shown in something made by hand; artistry.

I have chosen The English Oxford Living Dictionary meaning of the word craftsmanship or as in my case, craftswomanship, as it resonates with what I am striving to do and be: A professional designer who designs and knits quality knitwear.

It is now close to 18 months since I made the decision that a work life as a developmental editor working with first time historical fiction writers was not how I wanted to spend my work days.

The need of an inclusive and less stressful life had begun the year before as I began to include in my knitting life original designs knits for my grandchildren. Absorbed in learning new skills and honing in on my creativity allowed my tired brain to start thinking freely about new directions in my life.

Making that transition from editor to designer has been such a learning curve: The past 18 months are testimony to this.

It has been a process of learning the art of becoming a craftswoman. A journey full of ups and downs. 

A good example of a huge ‘down’ can be seen in my decision to not publish my first collection: The Merino Collection.

First mentioned in a blog post on January 15, I wrote:

I want to introduce my first knitwear collection.

Featuring a casual but elegant theme, the Merino Collection is a small collection of cardigan designs linked by yarn, texture and design.

The designs and completed cardigans I am very pleased with – and the feedback I have had via the Facebook knitting groups I belong to, has been nothing short of amazing (thank you one and all).

Cardigan - Blue Sky - Back
Cardigan – Blue Sky – Back

Yet, I made one fundamental newbie mistake.

That mistake has nothing to do with the cardigans or their design. It has to do with a breakdown in the very act of being the craftswoman I am striving towards.

In short, I did not have in place a reliable working strategy when it came to writing up the patterns for publication.

In acknowledging that I have let myself down I have also learnt by it and, as hard as it is to walk away from publishing these three patterns, I would rather do so than to publish patterns that do not live up to my own and perhaps, more importantly, knitters’ expectations.

Having said that I do plan to include one (maybe two) of the patterns in a new collection. They will be re-knitted and published using the new guidelines I have implemented.

Guidelines that underpin my craftswomanship, my integrity and my absolute desire to publish quality patterns.

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