Buttonholes, I aim for odd…

You know.. I was born on a Tuesday. So was my son… They say Tuesday’s baby is full of grace..

When I first began designing, I really had no idea what I was doing, and dove in blind. Now, with the last 3 years behind me (this year, I think will be my 4th?) I have learned so much. I think also getting published, during that 6 mos of nonstop working up patterns for publication companies, I learned much much more. There are so many different ways to write up patterns, and now, after reviewing my old style, and then all the styles of each company (each has their own guidelines), I now can say I have found my own little voice of style of writing. I do not know if that makes sense, but I now have a good sense, even during the designing process, of how one little detail change could have a minor affect on a pattern outcome, but a big impact on the length and complexity of the written word.

For example, I like to make my buttonholes within the pattern as I go, not afterwards making a buttonband. Well, because I work my patterns from the top down, and with a no seam sewing style, it pays to have an odd number of rows between each buttonhole. So let’s say I am working the panel with the buttonholes. And Let’s say I have a buttonhole on Row 2. The buttonhole let’s say is at the end of the row. So, if I have a buttonhole on Row 6 (3 rows in between, an odd number), I can simply say repeat Row 2. If my buttonhole is on Row 3, I would put another say on Row 7 (that leaves 3 rows in between, an odd number), which again would save space and complexity. Now let’s say I have a buttonhole on Row 2 (the initial example), and I decided to have one every 5 rows, so the next one would occur on Row 7. What happens? I have to write a new row, because we are working on the other side, the buttonhole would have to be at the beginning of the row in order to not end up on the side of the panel that contains the underarm! That means a whole instruction written up.

So then, I would have:

Row 1: “instructions”

Row 2: “instructions, at end work button hole”

Rows 3-5: Rep Row 1.

Rows 6-13: Rep Rows 2-5 twice.

Not having an odd number of rows between each button hole row would yield:

Row 1: “instructions”

Row 2: “instructions, at end work button hole”

Rows 3-5: Rep Row 1.

Row 6: “work button hole, instructions”

Rows 7-9: Rep Row 1.

Rows 10-13: Rep Rows 2-5.

So, the second version added 2 rows. Not that big of a deal, but that could domino affect with the more complex a pattern is…. and this is the bare bones… In different situations, such as when you have arm shaping on some rows, and no arm shaping on other rows, you could end up writing out each and every line individually, which would make for a much longer pattern than it would need to be.

And then, take into consideration sizes! Armholes are different for different sizes, so one will have more rows in a larger size than a smaller size. What to do with the button holes? Well, we want all sizes to have the buttons on odd numbered rows or even numbered rows. Just think, if we didn’t. Try sketching out. Draw (stick drawings- remember I’m no artist). Use graph paper if you can. And make oh say 15 rows for one size and 19 rows for another size. Then “plot” out where your buttons will be. Then think, where you place the button holes, and how they will affect the pattern text.

So when designing, I tend to think ahead of how what I am doing will affect the write up. And then I evaluate, would it be that big of an impact to say, do an increase here, or a buttonhole there, yada yada, for sake of making the pattern shorter? Will it have a negative impact on the output of the project? If no, then I work the pattern to have the writing be as simple to follow as possible, and as short as possible, without sacrificing clarity.

So, a lot of these little things I have picked up along the way as I learn more and more. I have a little hand side spiral notebook, that I keep all these little “ureka” moments in… Then when I am starting to design a pattern, and begin working it up, I am mentally working forward and backwards at the same time. Are you exhausted yet? lol, maybe I think too much? Anyway, I thought I would share one of my quirks when designing. Maybe I am doing everything not backwards and forwards, but inside out! Maybe there are easier ways, but the logic is all the same.. or well, the desired outcome is all the same.

Now, this is only one way of designing a pattern- from the top down using panels.. which is my primary way of designing, without seam sewing. There are so many other ways, and this technique would not really even apply. Some patterns are designed to be worked sideways… Some from the top down, but each piece is made separately then sewn together. Some work the button hole band after the garment is made.. But, I do believe thinking ahead, and how the design will affect the text, can be beneficial to any designer when designing.

Time for dinner!

In the works- New CG website

First, I have had many emails asking why at Annie’s Attic after clicking on “Coming Soon” link on the left, and then when clicking on the photo to see the details of the booklet, one cannot click on the photo to see more pictures, or to get an email notification of when the booklet is coming out. I have contacted them and all is now fixed! Go to the booklet page and click on “see all photos” on the left below the thumbnail of the booklet. My favorite I think is the brown one! :)

It is amazing.. as I go back looking through how the Crochet Garden has grown… When I first started, my website was very plain, basically the bare bones of what I needed at the time with a handful of patterns. Over time, I recoded and added more content to the site. And it is now as you see it today.

It is very functional, and easy to navigate. I am pleased with how it looks. This website was my own design, from the layout, to the colors, all of the code. I was (still am) proud of how it looks… My last revamp of the website, (which is how it is presently), one can go to the patterns page and see different categories of patterns.  Once clicking on a category, say “Baby Blooms,” one would see a list of baby patterns separated by different classes, say Dresses, Accessories…etc.

What is great about this layout, is having each pattern in its own box, all of the same height, with a thumbnail of the pattern photo, and an add to cart button. I wanted this site to be with a clean look, nicely organized, and easy to navigate. So once one clicks on a thumbnail or the “more info” link beneath each thumbnail photo, one is taken to the actual full pattern page. Here is an example of Love Knot Symphony:

First is the description. Along side of the description and other notes about the pattern on the right are larger photos of the actual pattern set. I thought this was pretty neat when I did the layout this way, instead of having one large photo at the top, of having several photos run along side all of the text. I spent a lot of time sketching out this layout on paper before actually coding it to layout this way.

Now the time has come again to update the website. This time, it will be a complete different look and layout, but oh so many possibilities. It will also have the feel of a more “professional” site, but still keeping the warm and welcoming, Crochet Garden theme.

What will the new site have? First, it will have a log in and registration. Everyone will be able to create their own account. Each pattern then will be kept in their history. It will also be much easier to send in checks and money orders with the option highly visible.

Here is a snapshot of what the new site will somewhat look like on the front page. I am still editing and have long ways to go.. but as a preview here is what you can somewhat expect:

As you can see there are many boxes running along on each side. There will be the copyright page, shipping page link, even a site map! There will also be a search box.. so say you are looking for a bootie pattern, one can simply type in “bootie” and each page that contains that term will come up! There will also be a place to see what is coming soon so if one is eager and cannot wait, they may be able to see what is in store to come out.

Gift certificates will also be really easy to purchase. One will also be able to sign up for the new mailing list and newsletter here. There is also a box on the side showcasing the new patterns. Now, do not quote me on this, but I may implement also automatic downloads of patterns after purchase… I have yet though to decide on that.

There also will be no need to click the appropriate button if one wants a hardcopy of a pattern. There will be 2 buttons when checking out. One option for PDF, and one for a hardcopy, and it will automatically figure out if you are in the USA, Canada, or outside these 2 countries and automatically calculate the shipping costs!

Also, when adding your pattern to the cart, there will be a drop down menu if one wants a baby version, or tot version, or both etc! So all those pesky buttons for adding to cart will be gone…

Another thing I may implement as well, is accepting credit cards (independent of paypal). There are some who just do not want to use paypal, or do not have a paypal account. And those who would rather pay with a credit card than use the cash that is in their paypal account. I am still looking into this, and it may be something worth implementing, if I feel the demand is high enough.. so throw me an email if this is coming you would definitely like to see!

When will this go live? I am not sure.. it will be a few weeks.. I plan to have it go live with the new launch of patterns… But one thing I will guarantee, when it does go live, be sure to register right away. The first week or so (not sure yet) I will be handing out certificates and discount coupons and promo codes left and right, as sort of an experiment to make sure everything is working as intended in that area.. so the first users will in essence be my beta testers in the coupon/certificate department!

Well, time to get some work done and get busy on this and the new patterns I want to have slated for the next launch.. This is going to be a big change to the CG website.. I hope everyone will be pleased with the site and layout! So tell your friends and family to keep an eye out and register as soon as they see the new site live!