Phases of design…

I find it incredibly intriguing how other knitters go about designing patterns; a knitter student bee of mine came into my office the other day and asked “how do you create stuff without a pattern?” and it prompted me to really think about how I create.

When I desire to knit up something that’s uniquely mine, it often starts with an image in my mind, then an imagination of how that would be achieved through knits and purls, binding offs, shaping, and any notions I might need. Then, I make a quick sketch on paper, with a few notes on sizing (all based on estimates from previous knitting experiences, all of which could be crap in the end), and that’s about it.

Knit design is as much the visualization in planning as it is the actual execution.

I feel its best to just get started with a general plan in mind; for instance, I wanted to knit something (to be displayed here in the future, just you wait) that’s base is, essentially, a cube. So my knitter bee and I started with a simple drawing of a cube, and I asked her: “How would you knit a cube?” Her reply: “I don’t know. Six blocks?”

A smart girl. And while six blocks would work, I wanted her to visualize her knits and purls. Would there be an easier way? Without so much seaming. How are cubes created? Eventually we got to the point that four blocks, craftily knitted together with a purled edge betwixt, would require less assembly, seaming, and would create uniformity. Block 1 would be seamed to Block 4, and all that would remain are two small side pieces.

Getting young knitters to visualize their knits and purls is difficult. And it certainly makes me think more about my own processes. Knitting is very spatial; I was shit in geometry, so its amazing how far I’ve come in being able to theoretically envision a pattern , a shape, in space, and the most effective way to execute.

File Under: How do you design knits? How do you teach others to design knits?

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