A few weeks back, I was chatting with some very creative ladies and an idea came up: a blog hop where everyone involved talks about their design process. First, I gotta say, I feel so blessed to know these people and getting to be part of such a welcoming, encouraging group of people is, well, it's probably just about everyone's dream. I try to listen and learn from them as much as I can, so I'm looking forward to reading each post in this blog hop!
Whether you're designing a project for a blog, shop, gifts or just to have something special that you've made yourself, there are a lot of things to think about when starting the process of making something new. My own process can vary based on needs, and to demonstrate two processes, I'm going to share a bit about what went into the creation of my Seasonal Stitching Clubs!
Some ideas, I promise, are not my own. I was quite sure that I would not be offering a class this summer due to my very full schedule. I was also not planning on doing another pattern club for a while. But then, it seemed that God had other plans for me. Almost in a flash, the idea came for a project incorporating embroidery and my new love of hexagons. It would be easy, summer-themed, and spread out over time so as not to overwhelm me. Summer Stitching Club was born.
But just because it felt like a strong idea, it didn't mean there wasn't going to be things to consider. And when I need to weed out the things that don't belong, I talk to my mom. I showed her my sketches and she helped me settle on which patterns to use. If you look closely above, you'll see little check marks and some drawings that didn't make the cut.
Because I design a lot of embroidery patterns, sorting out which drawings to use is typical, but because I wanted to have everything work into a bigger project, I needed to work on what that would be. Hexagons are still new to me, but they were too wonderful to pass up. So I sketched some simple projects. A wall hanging felt right, but the bell pull style definitely wasn't.
I went to the computer and started drawing patterns and arranging hexagons on the screen, and soon I had the design settled.
By now I needed to figure out how I would be delivering the patterns and instructions. Unlike with a single PDF pattern or printable, the delivery is part of the product design on a club. By the way, from idea to this stage was maybe a week, and I needed to share this quickly since it had a start date related to summer! I went for a simple email list and e-junkie.com for selling.
Within a very short amount of time, I went from nothing to the biggest surprise success I've ever had. (This is why I'm sure the credit belongs to God!)
Oh, and all of that stitching? It happened a little ahead of time and a little along the way. All of the design happened in advance of the making and once the Club started, there was no going back!
But as I said, an idea that's ready to go isn't always the way. More often, I start with someone else's idea or request, or a specific need, like when new Christmas products are due. Which is what happened with Autumn Stitching Club.
Not long into the summer, I started hearing from people that this needed to continue with all of the seasons. Challenge accepted! But what would the next round of this look like? Would we make another project just like the first but with fall designs? Should it still use hexagons? What does autumn look like without Halloween and Thanksgiving?
This time I started at the computer with the project layout. I decided that yes, hexagons were part of what club members loved (me too!), so they needed to stay. But what project and layout would accommodate the 12-13 patterns at the size they need to be, and what would be attractive and useful? A pillow. Yes, that's different from other things I've done, and would be fun for fall. After trying out a few designs (and coming up with some ideas for the remaining seasons!), I went to my autumn-loving mom for approval.
I also sketched some patterns and discussed fall favorites with my sister. One of the designs that I chose to include is entirely thanks to her, but I get to keep them all a secret for now! Except for the Scarecrow...he's sort of the mascot for this round!
Unlike with the summer, the rest of the planning was already done for me because I've done it before. And I like that. There's excitement in creating something different from what you usually do, but there's comfort in the routine of process too.
For me, the biggest comfort is in knowing that I have a support system to weigh in on my work as I plan and create. Yes, sketching, planning, trying, and testing are all important parts of a new design, but if you learn one thing from my process, it should be this: find someone you can share your design path with. They don't need to be local to you, but they should be honest, encouraging, and willing to listen and lend a hand.
Not only will they help you refine what you're making, but we're designed to be in community. Designing in community just makes sense!
Now, speaking of community, go check out these other designers to learn about their process. I promise you it's a great group to get to know!