So when I first started making knitted items, I followed the pattern to the letter. Then, I started to improvise, changing a few things here and there, learning how to improve the fit of a sweater. And I made a few mistakes, which were very good learning moments. ahem. yes. Along the way, I've become better at ripping back and doing things over, although that is still not as much fun as some other things. But it's satisfying to be able to fix errors, and make the image in my head come out in the yarn.
As I've gone along, I've really come to appreciate good design. Knitting patterns that one buys often come with variations, stitch counts all prefigured for you depending on your gauge and size. And the method of construction sometimes is very unique, and makes for an interesting knitting experience.
One of my favorite designers is Lee Meredith, from Leethal Knits. I've knit several of her hats, mitts, and small knitting projects. She has a great eye for color and amazing photos of her projects. She often uses recycled yarn or leftover bits to create gorgeous combinations that use every last bit of yarn stash wisely. In my Etsy store, I have three hats designed by Lee (Wild is the Wind, Barry, and Misanga). She's said that knitters can sell items created from her patterns within reason (and after giving credit), which is another thing that I love about her.
And that brings me to my next point: the ambiguous world of selling knitwear from other's patterns. I want to do the right thing here, so I have dutifully respected designers comments requesting that one not sell items one makes from their patterns. Mostly, lately, that means I don't knit that pattern, as I am knitting up things to stock up my Etsy store. That has limited me from making some cool looking things, but also.... has made me come up with my own designs.
So, minor complaint: I am not a knitting machine, I am a mom, Physical Therapist, and just as crazy busy as the next person. If I pay $6 for a pattern, that I spend many hours making with expensive and unique yarns that I choose, why does the designer not want me to sell that item? I am not mass producing things, or devaluing their hard work. My promoting of their patterns might lead other knitters to buy the pattern.
Okay, but this situation has had a very cool result: my own designing skills are getting pretty groovy! I am taking my own ideas, and having lots of fun making up items, stitch counts, decreases, all that. It is awesome, and I think that's the direction I will be going more and more. Making my own designs to create and sell. Maybe someday I will sell the patterns, too, but that will be a ways off, if I ever go that direction.
So, really, designers do rock. I have so much respect and appreciation for the creativity and hard work that goes into design. And, in a round about way, designers are making me better at what I do.