Thank you, dear friends, for fearlessly picking sides as to which of my UFOs deserved the most (if any) attention. I cannot express how delighted I am: I have not only been motivated to finish a neglected project (I actually have to do something now that I've dragged you lot into it), but also directed which one to tackle. My way is clear, and my enthusiasm renewed. The lucky recipient of our attention is "UFO A", the unpublished, unfinished, and as yet unloved Knot Garden Cardigan.
I thought you might like to see how I start the design process for a commercial publication (as opposed to working directly with a yarn company, which is different). I tell you this in case you'd ever like to do it, too. There is surprisingly little information available about how knitting patterns get into magazines, so if you've ever wondered, here's a peek at the process, at least as I know it.
Once Upon A Time (about a year ago) I answered a call for submissions to a national magazine. It's fairly easy to get into the loop for hearing when magazines want submissions: you just ask the proper editor to be added to their e-mail list. The strange part is getting used to dreaming up garments that you would never be in the mood to actually knit at that time of year. The hairy hot mohair will inevitably be your focus in August, and when it's freezing in January, that's when you'll be crocheting tiny cotton bikini triangles.
Nevertheless, I did my best to conjure up something that knitters might like, that I also imagined would fit the theme and style of the publication. I sent a proposal to them, and it looked pretty much like this, though the names have been removed to protect the innocent:
You will note that I did not, however brilliant I thought my idea was, actually knit the sweater. Nor did I make any attempt to procure yarn for it. I just sent the proposal on its way, with high hopes for acceptance.
Which was not forthcoming.
Oh well, thought I - can't win all the time. Sure do like this sweater, though. This is one I would really wear a lot. Who wouldn't like a nice little gray cardi? I wasn't ready to give up on it, so I sent the proposal to a second publication for review. The second magazine was an even better match for the spirit of the design, I thought. Surely publication #2 would go for it.
Somehow, between that day and this one (in which I still have not heard a word from either magazine - brutal, but that's just how they treat designers), I convinced myself that this sweater was going to get published because it was so cute, so wearable, so ladylike. I may also have been under the influence of yarn-induced optimism. You know how it goes - you fall in love with some really pretty yarn and you think you can do anything. Knit a whole sweater in one evening? No problem! Sell a design to someone who doesn't want it? Done! So confident was I that it would be produced, that I ultimately bought yarn for it. I loaded up on a great yarn that everybody loves and I had never tried. I cast on, thinking that I might hear any time that the design had been picked up, and then I'd be ahead of schedule.
I just really liked the Knot Garden, and I wanted to make it for myself. But it's hard to justify spending time and money on personal knitting, so I tried to work a profesisonal design out of it. And then some project or other that actually held fiscal incentive came along, and poor little Knot Garden got shelved.
The funny thing is how close to finished it actually is. Here is the body, and there's a whole sleeve finished, too.
With your encouragement, Dear Blog, I bravely joined the shoulder seams last night, and worked a sweet and simple ribbed collar. It's cozy, too - I tried it on, and I really like the way it hugs the back of my neck.
Knitting, it turns out, is just full of second chances. There ought to be more of that in the world, no?