Life of a pattern

Have you ever wondered how a knitting pattern comes to be published? It’s a lengthy process!

For Classic Elite Yarns, it all starts with a design team meeting. They get together to discuss a theme for the collection, which yarns to feature, and the overall “feel” for a book. Each designer then goes off to create! Sketching; swatching; researching; designing. They meet again and choose from all the ideas, and a plan emerges.


Once the collection is determined, the individual designers write draft patterns, which are then passed along to sample knitters, who take the preliminary work and make it into a real-live completed garment or accessory. Assigning draft patterns to sample knitters is part of the creative process too; some sample knitters are better at lace, some prefer complicated patterns, others are better at wool instead of cottons, and so forth. And each knitter is part of the team, working closely with the designer to work out any “bugs” in the design as it goes from concept to final product. CEY has a lot of great sample knitters.

While the knitting is happening, planning for the photoshoot is also underway, which is Susan’s job. She coordinates all the people involved, picks the models’ wardrobes, and finds the perfect location. Then it’s photo shoot day!

But back to the pattern’s instructions: once the designer finalizes her work, the instructions, schematics, and charts all go to technical editing. That’s where more of the magic happens: ensuring there are no math errors; making sure the language is accurate and easy to understand; putting all the pieces together. Each set of instructions goes from tech editing, to proofing – usually twice. We want to make sure there aren’t any errors!

With instructions ready to go and photography completed, the patterns are put together into one cohesive collection – and that’s done via desktop publishing! The layout takes a lot of thought – it’s a little bit like putting together a jigsaw puzzle: all the pieces have to fit. More proofing, dotting all the I’s and crossing all the T’s. Now to the printer.

Most importantly, when it’s all done, each pattern and its collection goes to shops and to knitters as it begins its next life – as inspiration and a roadmap for each knitter as she dreams of what the piece will look like when it comes off of her needles – or his. Woman, man kid, senior: we’re just happy when knitters are happy with their end result!

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