I am often asked about how I come up with my designs. The truth is, the designs come from you. I rely on what you as a knitter tell me you need. I then balance this with any sewing constraints or my brand and design preferences. For example, I don’t really work in plastic. Fabrics are what is true to the della Q brand. I don’t use Velcro.
I don’t make a case for every request. In order to stay in business, I have to know there is larger market for my products. These demands change. For instance, I did not used to have a straight needle roll. So many store owners told me “no one uses straights anymore”. However, after a couple of years, I was getting more and more requests from consumers for a straight needle roll. Our Lily Straight Needle Roll is a now a part of my core collection.
What do I use in my design work?
– Graph paper
– Tape measure (in centimeters as my supplier works in centimeters)
– Pencil and eraser
– Rubber bands
– Older case designs
Once I have an idea for a case, I simply start sketching. I will use other cases often as a basis for my new designs. I determine the width of pockets using needles and hooks. If they are stacked pockets such as in our Double Point Roll that holds two sets of DPNs, then I need to widen the pockets to allow more than one set of needles to fit comfortably. I consider whether the case should include a storage pocket for notions. This increases the cost so sometimes I include it, other times I leave it out. Does the case need some sort of security flap? How many pockets are necessary without being excessive?
Deciding on the size labels to include in a case can be challenging. I want to accommodate all types of needle brands (e.g. Add, Knit Picks, Hiya Hiya) where I can. I also consider if smaller sizes or larger sizes should be included. I have to design to the masses in order to stay in business so I try to understand what most people would want to store. Sometimes my US numbers (letters for crochet) and metric numbers don’t always match up to all the brands. There are inconsistencies (particularly in the crochet world) in the equivalencies.
In general, I will launch a new case in my core silk collection first. If it does well, then I will have it made in my limited edition fabrics.
I am fortunate to have a rock star supplier in Vietnam. She can take my rough sketches and turn them into a functioning needle case. Once a couple of samples are finished and sent to me via DHL, I will then fill the case with needles/hooks to make sure the pockets are the correct size, etc. I ask my sales reps and some retailers for feedback on the samples. Sometimes another round of samples are required. If we are lucky, we get it right the first time and they go into production. By production, I mean, sewn by people and sewing machines. These are not machine made items!