I started designing SRT designs about 10-15 years ago. I was working (as an Electron Microscopy Technologist) one day and looked down at my pants pattern (houndstooth) and thought, “I can tat that!”
So then and there I designed my first SRT pattern. It is in my second book: MORE Fun with Split Ring Tatting. (See also my post/page on Houndstooth & Tesselation.)
Several years later, I created a group of SRTatted heart patterns for the 2008 Palmetto Lacemaker’s Workshop with the theme of ‘My Heart Belongs to Tatting’. I also dusted off my ‘Houndstooth’ SRT design for the workshop. When I got home from the workshop, I realized that I actually had several other Split Ring Technique patterns created–why not put them together into a book. Well—-that started a wonderful era of designing and tatting for me. When I was at work and unable to pick up a tatting shuttle/thread easily, I was playing around with graph paper, creating designs on paper. I started amassing a large collection of designs and knew that I had to get them into a book of designs.
Thus I started into the more frustrating portion of the project—figuring out a cost-effective way to get my patterns and ideas into print & in a book form.
First though I had to buy and learn to use a graphic art software (Adobe Illustrator) to create my graphic pattern. This was no small matter! This software is expensive and has alot of capabilities. With the increased capabilities comes an increasingly difficult learning curve. I had to hire a college student to help me get started, utilizing the software and make it do what I wanted to do. I spent hours creating each pattern in the book!
Another challenge was to figure out how to get a book printed. For a long time, I wasn’t sure that I could afford to achieve my dream of getting my ideas/patterns into a printed book form. I researched extensively print-on-demand (POD) publishing options and how to self-publish. I finally found the right POD company and started working towards that end.
All this time though, I was still happily designing (on paper) and tatting my patterns into thread. That was the fun part of the project that kept me going to figure out all the other publising/computer stuff.
The book project was ‘supposed’ to be done by August 2011. I was to teach at the IOLI Convention in Bethesda, MD. It would have been the perfect place to unveil my new book! But that didn’t happen. The book was completely laid out–all designs, patterns, & photo done & edited. But I was having problems converting the original document to PDF form so that it would print out correctly. I even had a 3-hour class scheduled titled ‘Fun with Split Ring Tatting’ to teach there. But my book was not there. I was so disgusted that the perfect opportunity to introduce my book had come and gone that I tabled the project for several months. Finally in the beginning of 2012, I retackled the issue and asked the right question of the right person (believe me, I asked alot of ?’s to alot of people all along!) and found the clue that would solve my digital problem. And then suddenly I had a copy of my book in my hand!!!! What an incredible elation that was.
As soon as I had a copy in my hand, my second thought was that I needed to share the research and information that I had accrued in my attempt to get my book published. So I started writing a thesis that I titled: “Cost-Effective Self-Publishing of a Niche-Market Book”. The premise is that tatting is a true niche-market in that not a large percentage of the world’s population do it. Thus the market for a book in this genre is quite limited. What I needed was a way to print/publish my book and not loose money in the process (the ‘cost-effective’ part). Thus the only way to get a book such as this cost-effectively is to write/lay it out myself and self-publish it. Go to the website that I created to share this information at: http://nichebookpublishing4cheap.blogspot.com
I love the excuse of publishing future books to continue to create new designs. As long as I have graph paper and all those lovely colors of thread in my possession, I will probably never be done designing SRT pattens.