And I attend my first prom. I dreamed of going to the big dance ever since I was a tiny girl. Like most women my age, I was raised on Barbie and Ken, Archie and Veronica, and our favorite board game, Mystery Date. If you'd asked me when I was little what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have said married. Everything else was secondary. Every love-obsessed prepubescent knows that a dreamy prom is the first step towards marital bliss.
In the winter of 1976, I started dating a smart, kind, and gorgeous blonde named Juan. We worked together at the movie theater; he was older than I and in college, too. AKA the catch of a lifetime! My stock went way up when this hunk of burning love asked me soon after to go steady. The ultimate in prom dates was born.
I couldn't wait until the first week of June when Juan and I would waltz to the Sheraton Ballroom in Washington, DC. Like Cinderella, I would wear my dream dress: a pastel cotton, ultra-prissy prairie dress.
NOT. My mother, aka eternal maternal dictator, vetoed that idea right away. She liked unadorned, tailored, sleek dresses, preferably in polyester, with bright colors and big flowers. This wasn't the dress, but you'll get the gist of what I ended up wearing - and how far away it was from MY dream dress. Instead, I wore my mom's dream dress.
Now it was time to worry about Juan's apparel. I'd always envisioned my dream date wearing a white tuxedo jacket with black pants. You know, like what Ken would wear.
But Juan insisted on donning a tuxedo that coordinated with my dress. So he rented a lemon-yellow tux with a yellow-lemon ruffled shirt, and six-inch-high platform shoes. Much like this fellow, he looked like a handsome daffodil.
So off we went, Miss Polyester and her daffodil boyfriend, to the prom no-longer-of-her-dreams. Despite a lifetime of fantasies, my prom was... dull. Rubbery chicken and a bad band playing "Colour My World" into the night. The dance ended, the lights went up, and we made our way home. The highlight of the evening was making out in the car, but even that was cut short by my curfew. All in all, a big disappointment. I've had far worse disappointments over the years, but this was the worst of the first.
So why all this reminiscing? Because it reminds me of my current debacle otherwise known as my Carnation pattern. I've dreamed for ages of designing something spectacular with great options for ample women. I wanted to create a garment with a lot of pizzazz that eliminated any notion of matronly. The Carnation Pink was born and I love it - and the rest of you do, too. (Well, I guess no one who doesn't love it would tell me, but it still gets rave reviews.)
I worked on the pattern for weeks and thought I had at least the back documented well enough for public consumption. I sent the design out to the 18 kind test knitters. Within ten minutes, people started sending me corrections. Blushing, I quickly fixed the typos and reposted a new version - over and over again. Finally, Deb Gemmell, designer extraordinaire, told me the truth: you need to take down the pattern and eliminate all errors both great and small. I knew she was right, so down it went.
But here's the real problem. I'm a big-picture girl. I am very talented at a lot of things, including having the 50,000-foot view of any problem. I'm a great marketer and branding expert. I can create products and communities and design logos and brands that tell people instantly why they should buy or participate. I can write. I'm nice and supportive and a good friend. I can even design non-dopey sweaters that others want to wear.
But don't ask me to get down in those weeds and make anything perfect. I am NOT detail oriented. I know I should be but I'm not. I suck at details. There's a reason I'm not an accountant, lawyer, or admin assistant. I just can't do it.
I can knit anything I want; I just draw myself a little picture, cast on, and go. But despite my best intentions and greatest longings, I simply cannot give you accurate, stitch-by-stitch instructions for six sizes. I can point you in the right direction but you'll never get to the sweater I made.
So I give up.
All is not lost. Deb has agreed to whip the pattern into shape since she IS detail-oriented and experienced in pattern writing. She's working on the Carnation pattern now and it will be ready for test knitters soon. Really ready this time, not just kinda sorta in a way.
This is all a big, embarrassing disappointment to me, much bigger than the lemon-yellow prom. But I've learned a big lesson. If I'm going to design, I will have to have a talented, accomplished, and competent tech editor who can take my design and turn it into a usable, accurate pattern. I literally design a new sweater in my head every single day. Time will tell whether I'll just knit for myself or will find a work-around to my non-anal-retentive brain. At least the Carnation will be available for all the nice people who want to make it. As much as I hate disappointing myself, I even more hate disappointing you.