Knitters often ask us about our pattern process. I don’t think they are usually prepared for the long list of steps I launch into! So, this is how sausages (ahem patterns) get made here at Tin Can Knits:
- We come up with an amazing concept, usually while we’re in the shower (no, we don’t shower together… minds out of the gutter please!). We’ve got a great post about design as the intersection of inspiration + desire. We usually make a little sketch, talk it over with the other person and then it’s time for phase 2.
- The swatch: We make MANY swatches (mmm how I love a good swatch!). And then we make some more!
- We make a mini sample (because we love baby knits… and because knitting is obviously the most cost-effective and practical way to clothe our children… ).
- Using what we learned from the mini sample, we proceed to ‘grade’ the pattern (calculate the math for all the sizes) then write up the draft pattern. Pull out your spreadsheets ladies and gentlemen! 18 sizes is not for the faint of heart!
- We knit the adult sample, and make any required adjustments to the pattern. As deadlines inevitably loom large, this sample may need to be completed over the course of four days solid knitting (40-60 hrs or so…). This is why working parents like us go on and on (and on) about coffee and wine. As evidenced by Instagram, we do indeed rely heavily on coffee to keep our business running:
- We lay out a draft pattern (making it nice and purdy as you would expect, with draft photos, charts, and a pattern schematic) to send out for test knitting. With 18 sizes, and at least 2 testers per size means that 30-40 people knit the design, and provide feedback (it’s like a super cool early-access designer KAL, and a bunch of extreme knitters get to see our designs WAY before the rest of you do!).
- We adjust the pattern per our test-knitters comments on fit and pattern writing.
- We do a final photo shoot (or two… or three if children are involved), sometimes we need a few takes to get ‘the one’ which highlights how positively irresistible our knits are! Read more about our fun-filled photoshoots for Road Trip and Max & Bodhi’s Wardrobe.
- We send the final draft pattern to our Technical Editor (she gets capitals because she is so excellent and so very important!), she does a final check of the math, makes sure our pattern is written and laid out per our standards, and that the pattern sizing matches industry standards.
- We make any final changes to the pattern, and add helpful links to tutorials, yarns, and a Ravelry ‘cast on’ button so you can very quickly find the pattern online. We love our links because they make everything faster and easier for you!
- Our exciting new pattern goes live! We send you an email about it (cause you get our email updates, right?!). We post the pattern on Ravelry, our website, a few other great places around the web where you can get our patterns and then let our retailers know that they can order print copies to stock in shops across the world!
Are you a little bit exhausted just reading about it? Well a typical Tin Can Knits sweater pattern requires at least 80-120 woman hours to put together, (this is excluding literally hundreds of hours of test-knitters’ time) a lot of expertise, experience and MAD knit skills! Put in context, that is 2-3 weeks of full-time work.
We are committed to bringing you an exceptionally high standard of design and pattern writing clarity…and fun photos! We have a thorough process and now you have seen behind the curtain!
What’s an even better value? Getting the same exceptional design quality FOR FREE… so you can share it with your friends! We’ve put just as much care into the creation of The Simple Collection, yet all 9 designs are free, and supported by in-depth tutorials. Check it out, and be sure to share it with all your friends!