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Publishing a Knit Pattern

January 18, 2017


Creating and releasing knitting patterns is one of our favorite things to do. While it's an extremely fun and creative process, it's also technical and time consuming. We're sticklers for proofing, because no one should knit a sweater only to have it turn out lopsided. We've experienced the trials and errors of designing for over 20 years, and have refined the process to create high quality knit patterns.

We put a lot of effort into each pattern. They can be more expensive than many self-pubs, but we believe in supporting the people who make the pattern by giving them fair pay, so the creatives can keep on creating! Here are the steps and people that go into each piece.

1. Blue sky creates a mood board

Over a year before patterns are released, we begin the ideation stage of the process. We consider colors, yarn, and what our knitters have been asking for. Then we start a mood board, which is something like an inspiration board, but more organized. We collage hundreds of colorways, techniques, styles, and garments that inspire us; we begin picking our favorites and start dreaming up all the possibilities.


We have designers collaborating with us on an ongoing basis. We connect with the best designer for a concept based on our mood board. Then the designers start swatching and finding ways to make the piece come alive. Once we have a clear plan to a finished piece, the designer begins knitting and purling. When finished, they send us the final piece, along with a written pattern. You may think this is where the process ends, but for us it is only the beginning

3. tech editing

Our technical editing step is one of the most important, the team of editors that we use are highly skilled at what they do and help us tremendously. But instead of us telling you what they do, here is how Sarah, a long-time trusted editor explained her job.

"A technical editor combs through a pattern to verify that all the pieces are in place and that all of the math and proportions are correct across all of the sizes. A copy editor makes sure that the language is clear and consistent, that it's aimed at the skill level of the intended knitter, and that it reflects the style of the design. The success of the knitter is the ultimate goal of editing; ensuring a stress-free, error-free journey on the path to a beautiful, finished, hand-made project." - Sarah

4. test knitting

This is the fun job. We pick out the second colorway and send a package of yarn and the revised pattern to a test knitter. Our test knitters keep a lookout for any potential improvements on the pattern as they go and make sure that the revised pattern matches the original design.

5. photoshoot & layout

After we've repeated steps 2-4 enough times to have a completed collection, we cast models, a stylist, a make-up artist, and a photographer to have a long day of picture taking. We try to get each pattern photographed in both colors with multiple angles, so you can get a good idea of what the piece looks like once it's all knit up.

We go through thousands of images from our photoshoot and pick out our favorites, then our graphic designer puts them in layout. Finally, our patterns get into your hands!

7. pattern support

Once our patterns are on Ravelry, our website, and yarn stores around the world we're still not finished. We continue to field and support stores with questions that they may have for years to come.

As we like to say in Minnesota - oofda! It's a long road to a final piece, but after all, it's worth it to see what the final knitter creates.


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