At a recent knit night my friends and I were swapping knit-gossip about our favorite designers, including one designer who (according to hearsay) had been both knitting and designing for five years.
Now, I assume this designer spent at least a few minutes picking up the basics before launching her wildly successful pattern business. But still…
How do you jump from learning how to knit and follow other people’s visions to the level of understanding that allows you to realize your own visions? Not everyone is a knitting-Mozart, learning to knit and purl one day; the next, channeling the voice of God into their cables.
They say it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become world class in any field. I’m not convinced one has to be world class in order to be good enough to be a designer. Still, it seems as if some level of mastery must be attained before you can properly understand what you’re doing…before you can extrapolate from what what you know and have experienced, to something you’ve never even seen.
When are your visions just “twiddling” or adding mods? And when are they something more? At what point does it become clear that your own vision and creativity are the driving force behind what you are creating? When are you no longer aping other fiber artists, but truly doing your own thing?
And at what point do you decide that your fibery, artistic vision is worthy to be formally documented and shared with others? There are very few gate keepers when it comes to knitting patterns these days. It only takes a few clicks of a mouse to publish a pattern on Ravelry. You don’t need to prove your pattern is original, well-written or even tested before releasing it into the wild. If you release it for free then people won’t even hold you accountable for its quality.
I don’t believe in publishing junk. So that option’s out.
Publishing a pattern requires a lot of self-confidence. If you’re not a knitting Mozart with celestial voices to guide you, it takes a lot of guts to put yourself out there. I’d like to do it someday, but I think I’ll be content to be a hardworking knitting Wagner. Wagner famously spent 26 years writing The Ring of the Nibelung. I hope it doesn’t take me that long.