Crochet Me Design Process

I wanted to share my behind the scenes on the designs in Crochet Me, b/c if you are anything like me; learning how the sketch became the model is pretty cool.

So lets go back in time to January 2006. (yup 2006) Kim contacted us contributors to Crochet Me that she was teaming up with Interweave Press to tell the story of the website and make a book with some of the coolest patterns for crochet. She asked us all to submit designs if we were interested. I sent in a bunch of ideas and swatches, and from those she picked the Convertible Victorian and Comfi Cardi. Seeing my original sketches here, I chuckle with how in the world she ever picked them from my terrible sketches.

The next step was to create a pitch proposal with the yarns we intended to use in the book and a more in depth description of the project. Here was my opportunity to re-draw those terrible sketches and I didn't delay.

After alot of discussions between Kim and I, we decided to go with Cashmerino in that beautiful aqua and Alpaca Silk in amethyst. Ok, some funny bits. For whatever reason, I hated the amethyst. Who knows why but I wanted brown. Silly right? Now that you see how pretty the final product really is. Also if you can tell in the original swatch, the comfi cardi was originally going to be chunky (double stranded). The Victorian shrug became the Victorian top, b/c around this time (I think it was around March 06) I was really into variations. How can you change one thing in your design and get two totally different projects.

Life then got really busy in the great way around here, and work started to pour in and I was in heaven.

It wasn't until around Oct 06 that I actually started working on these sweaters. It was thanksgiving last year that I really crocheted my heart out on the Victorian top. I remember crocheting a row, making a pie, crocheting a row, vacuuming the hall, on and on. By the end of the weekend, I had it finished and right in the nick of time. Thankfully, Chie helped me crochet the shrug version. And I overnighted them to Interweave hoping for the best. The funny thing is is that I hated this top. Hated it! Really. I was so disappointed with how it came out. Which makes me chuckle now, b/c all I needed was a skinny friend to try it on. Suzie is great, but she's no real live person. And this top, needed a real person. So needless to say, I was floored when they liked it so much they put it on the cover. My mom had no doubts. She told me from the beginning how much she liked it. So I showed off the sneak peak to you fabulous people, and got cracking on the Cardi.

By this time, we had calculated how much the cardi was going to cost if we doubled the yardage. After picking ourselves off the floor, we decided that that was way too crazy in Alpaca Silk. So instead of switching yarns (mainly b/c I was dying to work with Alpaca Silk), I decided heck why not do it single stranded. Boy oh boy am I ever happy we went down that road! January was a nutty month around here, so once again Chie came to my rescue and helped me crochet some of the cardi. When she sent it back to me it was half way done (as I asked), I immediately tossed it on and fell in love. The day I finished the ribbing and sewed on the button, I was in heaven. The cardi came out better then I ever could have expected and I was just thrilled. And I gushed all about it to you.

So by January, the projects and patterns were turned in and we all waited. And waited. And waited. Making a book is a lot more involved then you really realize. But it all paid off in June, when we got to see the galley copy at TNNA, and every one of us just fell head over heals for it. Plus, my cardi was displayed in the Interweave Booth. I was so happy to see the cutie again, I gushed to you all again.

As you all know, the book was released this month. And now the future of these projects is totally up to you. I am literally on the edge of my seat waiting to see what you bring to them.


Pam said...

This was great to read, you have beautiful designs and I think the book is going to be a huge success! -Pam

Vera said...

I really love your designs and your book.Too bad I can't order it.I live in Macedonia.Even I f I could order it, the shipping costs would be too much for me. :(

Cecily said...

Even your "bad" sketches beat my best any day!

There's something about that alpaca silk in amethyst, it's like crack dipped in chocolate with candy sprinkles or somethin'.

Stefanie said...

I LOVE this post!!

Thanks for sharing your *process* with us!! :)

Gina said...

This past Sunday I met Kim Werker at her book launch. And she also had a trunk show of the projects and your Comfy Cardi was my absolute favorite. I was suprised that it wasn't bulkier in person....just beautiful. Thanks for sharing the process with us.

Kim Werker said...

Robyn, what an awesome post!

I can elaborate on some of the things you brought up. First, your sketches are awesome. And even beyond that, we've worked together long enough that I really know how to translate them into an idea of what the finished project will be like. So fun.

You mentioned wondering what it was about these two projects that could possibly have drawn me to them; here's what it was:

I'm in love with asymmetry, and your idea for the Victorian shrug (then wrap) made my heart go a-flutter. Plus, you have such a great approach to making near-universally flattering and appealing designs that I knew this particular asymmetrical design would appeal to a huge array of readers (meaning, it wouldn't be *too* funky), and at the same time would be so unusual and beautiful.

Now, unusual is something that drew me to most of the patterns in the book. But my goal wasn't to make a book that showed off unusual crochet, per se. Your Comfy Cardi design shows off crochet at its best, for sure (and I'm totally in love with the yarn, too!), and at the same time is a gorgeous, classic design. I thought it was very important to include classic, everyday designs alongside the funkier, more unusual ones.

(BTW, at Webs, my mom bought dark-purple Alpaca Silk to make a Cardi!)

Robyn said...

Thanks everyone! I'm glad you liked the post.

And thanks, Kim! So cool for you to put the other peices together!

I really hope you mom likes the cardi! my mom is making the victorian top.

Anonymous said...

The asymmetrical cardigan is one of the best-looking designs I've seen for crochet. Also not a run-of-the-mill design. I can understand why it's on the front, because I wanted to buy the book just for that pattern.

Your sketches are a ton better than mine :)

Leah said...

Now I really want to see the book - I would wear both of these sweaters, so I know there are at least two projects I might think about trying. :)

Kiba said...

Thanks for an excellent post, Robyn! I love to read about the design process. I'm collecting posts of this type (I linked Missa's) at my blog. Here's my response to yours: