from my design book, 9.29

I have this habit of making sweaters. A lot of them, I have literally, a collar to finish, or buttons to affix; and instaed, I let them sit, languishing in a project bag, for months, sometimes years.

What’s my problem? Project fatigue? Moving on to something else? Not loving how its turning out? Who knows. But this year, my goal is to be better; to start something, and to finish it.

And to maybe make a sweater that I actually keep for myself. And wear it.

Shocking, I know. But I will try. And so, this morning, I decided to grab my knitting design book, and craft some simple fair isle motif that I can work around, maybe the bottom, or the yoke, of a basic raglan pullover. Something to spice up all the stockinette stitch. Something cheeky.

Everyone knows my love for color work; and so, once I’m done some necessary knitted gifts with a deadline, I will make this. A basic raglan sweater, top down, in maybe a mauve colorway, with these little reindeer on.


brainstorming, 3.16

My vacation from work has, so far, pretty much revolved around knitting, sewing, and eating. But now that I’m into the swing of the week, I’ve whipped out my knitting design books, listening to a lot of Radiohead on my ipod, and thinking of a new design for high, cotton spring rain galosh socks.


Inspiration for knitting design.

I am inspired by the recent Craftzine post about using your photographs to create color palettes. I’ve been thinking for awhile about designing something for fall with the different hues of my one true love: coffee.

Colors like cafe au lait (slightly milky), black (like I drink it), and beyond. And I wanted to use some kidsilk haze I have lying around in this beautiful goldish colorway for said project, but no matter how many times I looked at it or tried to start designing, it wouldn’t happen.

Until now.

So I used two photographs I had snapped recently–one of coffee, and one of the kidsilk itself, as my “inspiration” for starting the color palette. And these are the results:

And its worked; despite really liking the olive green, it really doesn’t fit in the palette. And if I hadn’t made one, maybe I’d still hang onto it.

I might have to create color palettes more often. Maybe I’ll finally be inspired to come up with something in time for fall knitting.

Stay tuned.

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?