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Newsletter - December 2016
This December, we are featuring our very first male Publisher and Designer of the Month, George Shaheen, the entrepreneur behind the Ten Hours or Less™ line of knit and crochet patterns.
We wish you all merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, joyful Kwanzaa, felice Navidad, and hope that you have the time you want to do whatever you enjoy most this season.
The simplicity of this tam is arresting. It’s a terrific pattern for cable lovers who are short on time. You get to choose from a covered button or traditional i-cord to top it off.
Luise O’Neill's Echoes in the Glen Boot Toppers are inspired by a Celtic tune of the same name. Honeycomb cables and lace knit in the round offer a pretty way to help your legs face the trials of the expected long, cold, winter.
This Aran cardigan is the 1,000th Sirdar design that Patternfish has published. Cables and moss stitch are featured in a contemporary style using DK weight yarn. It’s a new classic.
Such a pretty beret, practically guaranteed to keep you warm, but certainly guaranteed to look pretty. It’s a one evening creation, so it’s a gift option, too.
The pattern for this swingy jacket from Prism was requested by a Patternfish customer before it had even reached our ”shelves”. When we saw how perfectly the stitch pattern created the swings, we, too, were captivated. Chevron stitch sections, separated by stockinet, create the soft pleats.
Jo Torr’s well-named shawl will strike a chord with everyone who has played yarn chicken. Convention has it that knitting faster is the only way to win the game. Use the newly popular mini skeins in gradients, or stash dive for sock weight yarns that drape.
Some speedy crochet selections to bring in the new year.
Special Little Holiday Projects
Designer and Publisher of the Month: George Shaheen
George Shaheen is the entrepreneur and designer at the heart of the 10 Hours or Less™, pattern company. He is self taught and just a year after learning to knit and crochet, at the age of 13, he designed and sold his first pattern to a yarn manufacturer. Wow!
Despite that awesome early success and a clear signpost to the future, (how many of us ignored messages about our true calling when we were young?) he entered the corporate world after completing a BA in Business Psychology and MBA in Finance. Prior to that, though, Shaheen cleverly trained in pattern drafting and sewing construction.
The result of this creativity and training, combined with an entrepreneurial drive and hard work, is 10 Hours or Less™, a company that has published over 300 knit and crochet patterns to date.
Patternfish customers’ favourite design is The Flurry of Foliage (Crochet), a no-sew stash-buster of a pattern. Plaited Parquet, a pattern that would suit anyone who needs a dashing scarf to complete a sombre winter outfit, is another favourite, along with Bright Batwings, Antique Armour in Crochet, and the Cable Carousel baby blanket.
Each 10 Hours or Less™ pattern is incredibly detailed with drawings illustrating techniques, line by line instructions, photos in different colours, and instructions on how to use alternate weight yarns. George Shaheen has produced and starred in the excellent videos that illustrate the techniques used in his patterns.
Here’s more from George Shaheen about his career and company:
Tell us the story of 10 Hours or Less™. How did it come to be? I’ve been knitting and crocheting for over 30 years and often dreamed about making a living from it. Although originally trained in pattern drafting, fabric draping and sewing construction, I eventually obtained a BA in Business Psychology and an MBA in Finance and entered the corporate world.
After two decades in administration, I started to feel like just another cog in the machine. So I left my job, moved to Florida and began 10 Hours or Less™, a collection of classic and contemporary knitting & crochet patterns that can be completed in - you guessed it - 10 hours or less! With a focus on easy-to-intermediate level projects, my designs seek to combine novel pattern stitches with creative color combinations.
And I couldn’t be more thrilled to finally be doing what I love.....and making a living from it.
Tell us how you learned to knit and crochet. At the age of 12, I discovered a long-forgotten "How to Crochet" book in the living room closet and learned to crochet. Bolstered by my success, I then learned to knit from a book from the library.
I was fascinated by the process of turning string into fabric. However, after just a few months, I became bored with published patterns. So I started to use the design schematics at the end of some of my favorite patterns to use as templates to design my own. And a year later, at the age of 13, I sold my first knitting pattern – a baby jacket – to a national yarn company!
What designs are your personal favourites? My favorite designs are those that take on a life of their own and turn into something greater than I imagined.
For crochet, my favorite is Varicolor Vortex, a round baby blanket comprised of 48 colorful swirls. It was originally inspired by the popular “bargello” quilting technique. I had no idea if it would translate successfully in crochet and still wasn’t sure until the very last row, after which I stood back and thought: “This turned out really cool!” And the biggest surprise? The pattern is based on just a 4-row repeat.
For knitting, my favorite would be Tiny Tidal Pool, a round baby blanket worked in a Feather- and-Fan variation and embellished with little starfish. Originally, it was going to be a rectangular ripple with striping to mimic ocean waves. Then, it morphed into a round ripple with some sort of sea-inspired element. It was only after the blanket was finished that I realized it looked just like a tide pool. And all that was missing were the starfish!
What challenges did you personally face when you started 10 Hours or Less™? Without a doubt, it was having to master the variety of disciplines required of a pattern publishing business: design creation and production; product photography; desktop publishing; social media marketing; customer service; business accounting; office management. It also helps if you can type really fast!
In my opinion, you can’t sustain a one-person pattern publishing business without loving what you do. Otherwise, the considerable time and energy required will eventually burn you out.
How many patterns do you publish annually? I publish approximately 30 knit and crochet designs per year.
Who does the designing? I do it all. I’m the Design Department, the Procurement Department, the Production Department, the Photography Department, the Publishing Department, the Sales Department, the Marketing Department, the Accounting Department, the Customer Service Department, the Shipping Department…and the CEO!
(Ed. - Plus George is the executive in charge of naming patterns!)
What are 10 Hours or Less™ best selling patterns? My strongest selling category is crocheted fashion scarves/ shawls. The best- selling patterns are: Feathers of Pharaohs, Lace Labyrinth, Tyrian Tide, Pineapple Plantation, and Exotic Avian.
Where do you think the knit/crochet/fibre world will be in 5 years? I think – and hope – it will continue to be a dynamic and supportive community that values individual self-expression via the fiber arts.
When I started in the 80’s, it was quite common for people to knit or crochet a design exactly as it was depicted – even down to the same colors. That mindset has definitely changed. Today’s stitchers are fearless! Many won’t hesitate to substitute yarns, rework color combinations, or change a design detail to suit their own purposes.
And while I’m clueless as to what the next “hottest” trend might be, I do hope that, whatever it is, the fiber world will continue to promote and encourage the individual aesthetic of every member. I think that’s the only way our industry can continue to survive and thrive.
How did you come to the decision to list your patterns with Patternfish? In our relatively small industry, reputation is everything. And since inception, the name “Patternfish” has represented a comprehensive, reliable and professional venue for digital pattern sales and procurement. So, I decided to give it a try.
And I’ve been incredibly grateful for the considerable support that the Patternfish organization has given the 10 Hours or Less™ brand. It’s yet another reason I’m glad I chose Patternfish!
Knit A Skirt? Really?
Really! Knitted skirts have been around for a long time, as anyone with an interest in vintage fashion knows. In the ’40’s and ’50’s knitted suits were all the rage. Most frequently they included what we now call pencil skirts, knitted in a firm stitch that wouldn’t ‘seat-out’.
Skirts are back, after having been avoided for years because of their perceived figure-clinging, too-many-curves-revealing fit. But knitters who have made them are amazed at the figure-skimming quality of skirts knit in the right yarn, with the right stitch, and the right pattern.
Plus, a skirt is easier and takes less time to make than a sweater. And they make excellent travel pieces. Just roll them up and go.
Check out these choices:
Collection of the Month
In anticipation of the new year arriving, we thought it would be fun to take a close look at some patterns we were offering back in the early days of Patternfish, and see if there is any relevance to knitting and crocheting today.
Were we surprised! Bet you’ll be, too. There’s guernsey, slip-stitch, colour blocking, flattering tunics, smock stitching, lace, cables…lots of details that we’re seeing in today’s garments and accessories.
From the Ambassador's Desk
- Gayle Clow
It seems that a Patternfish newsletter reader has been following the Yarn Substitution series and wrote us, wanting to know the conclusion of the story. Did I ever find the yarn for the Embrace pattern that I bought so long ago? Did I make it? (Go here to read about the beginning of the story.)
Alas, the answers to both questions are “No.” I asked Wendy Peterson at Yarn Sub to go on a search for the equivalent to Classic Elite Yarns Embrace, and being a lovely person, she did. The yarns she found are good substitutes for the weight and fibre, but finding similar long-colour-changes yarn is a different matter.
Perhaps I’ll try dyeing some yarn to create the long colour changes found in Embrace. Stay tuned!