As I knit the shrug I took notes, which after finishing were written up in pattern form and graded for sizing. OMG I must say the maths on this pattern nearly did my head in as there are a lot of increases and decreases to take into account and which means it's not as simple as an extra 8 stitches for each increase round.
From the first pattern draft I knit a second garment to test my pattern. This time I decided to try it in a full length garment. I also tried playing around with the needle sizes in an attempt to cater for wool versus bamboo. The thing with this stitch pattern is that it is quite hard to swatch to see what size it will end up as I discovered. Basically the second garment served as the swatch as it was only with a full size that I could see what the effect of the different needle sizes, and the stitch pattern had on the sizing. I also discovered that I didn't need to change the needle size from bamboo/cotton to wool, which was great. Because of that, his cardie ended up being a couple of sizes too big for Lily. At least she'll get good wear out of it.
I seriously nearly chucked this into the sin bin on a few occasions. It actually was sent to hibernate for awhile too, hence it taking me a month to finish. Be warned, while knitting this in wool it really doesn't look quite as nice as it does finished and blocked. It's sort of lumpy and bumpy; see what I mean..
but anyway, the princess loving girl adores it and once I blocked it I nearly cried with delight as it came up exactly as I envisaged!! I love it when that happens!!
So after testing my pattern and a little tinkering it was time for it to go off to the test knitters. I had a wonderful group of test knitters for this pattern, all very enthusiastic knitters who provided excellent feedback and have knit some gorgeous garments. I'm very lucky to be able to call on the support of such wonderful testers. All my testing happens on a special testing forum that I share with some other wonderful Australian and New Zealand designers.
The testing process took about one month, which is a pretty awesome effort for those who knit the bigger sizes. During testing, the testers provide feedback on the pattern, its instructions, readability and clarity, layout, stitch counts, and finally the sizing. They really are an instrumental part of the process.
So with the testing underway, I knit another garment. When I wrote this pattern I actually included a version that I hadn't actually knit. I always knit along with my testers so this time I knit this version. Going by feedback so far, I think this will be the most popular version of the pattern. Pretty funny really, as it was a bit of an afterthought.. well, maybe a natural progression.
I must say I think this is my favourite too.
I love the cuff details so very much!
During the testing, one of my testers, Shannon, who was knitting this version asked if she could knit a more sleeveless or "vested" version. I'm sure she'll claim it was genius, but I think she just couldn't be assed knitting the sleeves ;) Anyway, it turned out so well I added a capped sleeve option to the pattern. Of course, I then had to knit that version.
I cast on in some bamboo/wool blend and sped through it in five days. This one also included some final tinkering in the fit of this version.
The last week I've just been tinkering and playing with the pattern's layout, finalising yardage and deciding on photos.
Tonight I'll print a final copy, and double check it.
Tomorrow it gets released for sale, and that's another little baby out there!