Lost in the Woods: 5 things about collaborating, 24.10.2016
1. I have an announcement.
Lost in the Woods is an upcoming eBook of 12 patterns – both garments and accessories – from three designers in three countries, inspired by the forests we love. This isn't one of those themes that seem a bit random; the concept is what drew us all together, and as you might guess from the teasers above, the inspiration shines through very strongly on the finished pages.
2. My wonderful collaborators are Julia Günther (aka @asselknits) and my Ravelry stablemate Emily K Williams (aka @flutterbyknits). Working with them has been a fantastic experience, and a great antidote to the downsides of working for myself. Besides being strong designers with a flair for clever construction and perfect details, they both have very valuable skills to contribute – Emily is a great, thorough tech editor, and Julia (whose idea the whole thing was) is a professional graphic designer, so she gave us beautiful layouts and drawings. Don't you love that pinecone? We've all given and gratefully received a lot of input on our designs in progress, refining each concept together to make each one as wearable, knittable and beautiful as possible. The encouragement and feedback has been invaluable.
3. Then again, the whole work process has been a learning experience. Instead of my usual footling around to refine my idea, I've had to plan things from the start, "pitch" them to my collaborators and then deliver on schedule. I felt a lot of pressure: any time things weren't working out, or when I was falling behind, I wasn't just screwing up on my own; I was letting the team down. And that was interesting. In my "day job", I've always coped extremely well with pressure. Put me on a newsdesk on deadline and I'm a calm, super-efficient speed demon. But in the unstructured environment of working from home, with kids, on a creative project with multiple elements and long deadlines, I felt the pressure as a creative block. I didn't have faith in my ideas, I struggled to prioritise, I struggled with the whole process. It didn't fit the way I saw myself as a worker, and that was not so fun. But it's been a very valuable exercise and has certainly made me a better designer.
4. I'm proud of the work I've done on this. I have two accessories that are, frankly, perfect, and two garments that are exactly what I want to wear now. (Actually, right now, I have only one garment. The last one is to be released in early 2017 – a late treat, kind of like the Knitty Surprises.) 4. I'm super impressed with what Emily and Julia have done. Together we have created a beautifully balanced collection: something for every season and every adult body, with a full range of sizes and very wearable, flattering styles. (No men's sweaters, true, but some unisex accessories.) We've got great photos and Julia's spreads look so good! You know how much fun it is looking at a great knitting book, with lavish pictures as well as exciting designs? This is that. It truly is.
5. Early last year, frustrated with the loneliness and vagueness of working by myself, for myself, I set a goal: to find a team project. When Julia approached me for her "forest collection", it was a gift. I couldn't be happier with who I got to work with, or what we've created. And I am so excited to finally be able to share the results of our collaboration with you.
Watch out for more teasers on Instagram under the hashtag #lostinthewoodscollection. Patterns will be released throughout November (with one late addition, as mentioned). They will be available individually, or you can buy the whole book. I hope you love it as much as we do.