Things they never tell new designers

OK so I know I am still officially new to this designing gig but there are some hard truths and handy advice you need to know when you start out and the welcome basket of yarn and crochet hooks was missing my instruction sheet when I joined.

1, You are not that good, really your friends will oooh and ahhh but you have potential at best, but that’s OK you are getting better and EVERYONE starts the same.

You see the difference between my first and latest Nativity sets right? and I’m still not at my best.


2, write it down. I mean every little detail, embrace technology. I was using a note pad and and spent soo long going over my notes when I was ready to type the pattern because I assumed I’d remember what the hieroglyphs meant, now I have a tablet computer and I write patterns out in full, it saves so much editing time and has eliminated calculation errors. If you don’t want/have a tablet DO NOT USE SHORT HAND.


3, Whether you aim to self publish or approach magazines think of the season, I submitted The Helena sweater to a magazine, for the summer edition, I was not surprised that I was, well rejected is to strong a word for the lovely email I received, passed over I think sounds best. But I did decide that, what with the way I work and my total impatience I shall stick to self publishing. this leads me to..


4, Set a goal, only a small one, start with publish first pattern, move on to ten pattern sales, first Ravelry invoice (that’s an exciting one). I though I’d have made it when I was published in a magazine but I have changed that now, I’m not sure of my new goal, I think it will be “go up a pricing tear at Ravelry”.

5, this is a big one, are you paying attention? Do not comparer your self with other designers, I mean ever, at all. I have been discussing business with a few other designers on facebook recently and Ravelry fees were mentioned. This made me feel bad as I don’t even get an invoice every month never mind be in the tear one of the designers is in. Then I looked at their Rav store this designer has been publishing for ten years longer than I have and has over one hundred more published patterns, I know right, who know s where I’ll be in ten years.



6, you are not as unique as you think, this serves two functions;

a, if you have an idea and, like me, like to check if it has been done to death or not remember that there will be other items like yours designed and available, this does not mean yours is not needed/wanted, there are only so many ways to make a hat but how many more ways are there to explain how to do it.

b, if you like it one one else will, seriously, whale you sit beaming and bemoaning alternately about your new hat there are lots and lots of people out there just waiting to be told that they need a hat just like it.


and on that note this parasol will not design it’s self




2 thoughts on “Things they never tell new designers

  1. I like this post Itchy, it is honest, down to earth and realistic. I was designing but as I have not designed anything for over 6 months I am not sure I class myself as a designer at the moment. It is not that I wont be designing in the future, because I know I will, at the moment I am trying other peoples patterns as you can learn such a lot from doing that. I have had two invoices from Ravelry (very exciting) and I don’t mind paying the fees if I sell x amount of patterns in a month. I have only ever self published and I’m not setting a goal at the moment to approach a magazine. Thanks for laying all is down in your post, it’s very eye opening indeed x


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