As part of my pattern preparation process, I get one or two (or three or four....) test knitters to work up a sample. It gives me the chance to make sure that the pattern makes sense in the real world and not just to me and my tech editor, and also to see how the pattern works in different colours of yarn, perhaps comparing solid colours with variegated ones and so on.
Testing a more complex pattern like this one is not for the faint-hearted so I had contacted some knitters who have worked lace shawl samples for me before. My offer to test was taken up by four intrepid knitters including Ravelry user Beccainsonora. She mentioned that a friend of hers has a line of hand-dyed yarn and she thought this would be an ideal pattern to pair with that yarn. There was a deadline though, as the friend was to be exhibiting at Stitches Texas and Beccainsonora wanted to be able to loan her friend the finished shawl to showcase her yarn at the expo.
The test continued with all four knitters working up some beautiful samples in different colours and different yarns, and meanwhile behind the scenes I made sure the pattern itself was getting its final tweaks.
Then last week I had a message from Beccainsonora to ask if I could contact her friend who dyes the yarn she was using. Not only did she want to display the shawl, she also wanted to be able to sell the pattern at the show as well!
I had heard of the "Stitches" shows before but I hadn't realised this is the inaugural "Texas" version. A quick search online showed that this was to be a really big event, and I was excited to think that one of my patterns could be displayed there.
Some last minute preparations, lots of emails and Ravelry messages back and forth, and the pattern went live just in time for the show this weekend.
And here is the sample shawl itself at the show - photo courtesy of Ravelry user Beccainsonora, used with thanks. (The yarn is WIP Fiber Arts Bliss Lace in colour Malachite, available from Yarnies in Abilene, Texas!)