The Journey

As I briefly mentioned on Instagram earlier this week, I've been struggling with some wrist/forearm pain and haven't been knitting much. It's from computer use at work, especially the Photoshop-heavy days, but my desk at home isn't ergonomic either. A keyboard tray for my work desk arrived at the end of day on Friday, so I've got that to install on Monday, and I ordered a new computer desk for my home office that is shorter, more compact, and has an included keyboard tray. I also availed myself to my doctor, who advised I wear wrist braces to sleep in and has referred me to a physical therapist. Fingers crossed that I get sorted out soon, but I'd love any words of advice or encouragement from others who work 8+ hours a day on a computer and have dealt with similar issues! Luckily, I don't have any immediate deadline knits lined up so I'm not actively sabotaging my work, but you know, I really want to knit.

I've been trying to keep myself occupied with other things, and am using the new computer desk as the impetus to move into Stage 2 of the home office organization/set-up. I was sorting through a big pile of papers that needed to be filed and in the process decided to clean out my file folders. I found a bunch of documents from my original designing days and wowee! A) What a walk down memory lane and, B) I'm like, a really professional designer now in comparison. Sometimes I feel like I'm still muppet-flailing my way through this whole thing so that was a nice moment.

Before I got comfortable with writing patterns in full before knitting them, I wrote it out as I knitted the sample, line by line, and then graded it afterward. (In front, the Dreamer's Braided Pullover and in back, the Holla Back Tank on pink Hello Kitty notebook paper!) That's problematic for grading purposes, since you can easily make design decisions that fit one size but don't scale up and down nicely, but also omg, so much work writing it BY HAND ON PAPER.

I definitely prefer to do things on paper when I can, but I've made myself transition to digital because it makes more sense in the long run. At this stage, I didn't have charting software available so I used graph paper to figure out colorwork and cable charts. (Above is the Free Cecily Hat and below, Wavy Gravy Mittens.) The thumb on the left mitten was erased and re-drawn multiple times as I tried to figure out how I wanted to handle it!

And of course, hand drawn schematics to round it out, seen here as the Praline Pullover! I actually still do this sometimes, even though I use Inkscape to draw schematics, because Inkscape is really annoying to use. (Just sent off a pattern's final materials this morning with a hand drawn schematic!) I use several free, open source programs and thus have had to teach myself how to use them. At times like this when I'm trying to rest my hands as much as possible, drawing it by hand is faster than messing with Inkscape. Now though, if I draw my schematic I will scan it and add the dimensions in Photoshop so there's no concern with my handwriting causing confusion.

It's cool to see how far I've come, but I still have plenty of ways to grow! I don't use InDesign like many designers do and I don't use Excel spreadsheets to grade my patterns. (Which I'm a little embarrassed to admit, I feel like I'll be made fun of for that one.) I just never got around to setting them up! It's a future goal of mine for sure but in the meantime, I'm enjoying tweaking my system as I go and being grateful for the ways I've already streamlined my process.