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Archive for August 3rd, 2014

Sometimes I wish I didn’t design knitwear. I wish I didn’t have the need to sketch, draw, and ultimately translate feelings and moods into knitted socks and sweaters. Why? It’s a whole lot of work, time, effort, thinking, planning, knitting, ripping, knitting again, altering, researching, sweating over large and small details and decisions, decisions, decisions. All with no guarantee that the end product will be successful. Successful meaning I might make back at least the amount of money I put into the pattern.

This is the background, the stage set, against which the creation and realization of a knitting pattern takes place. It’s not often talked about in knitting blogs. Instead most blogs let the reader in when the pattern is in final form and ready for sale. In other words, break out the champagne and let’s celebrate the launching of yet another knit pattern moment. All the sturm und drang happens off stage. Rarely shared, hardly mentioned.

But it’s the off stage struggle that interests me. How did the designer get from holding two needles and a ball of yarn to creating this piece of knitwear? What was he / she thinking? What were the influences? What did the initial sketches look like? What did the final sketch look like? Why this knit stitch pattern and not that knit stitch pattern? What did you want to say with this piece? What moods and feelings were you going for? How many times did you knit and reknit before the swatch mirrored what you wanted? What characteristics were you looking for in a yarn? How many did you sift through until you decided on this particular yarn? Did the creation of the piece travel in a straight line from A to Z or do you create by meandering?

I thought it might be interesting to let people in on the off stage happenings. This next monster piece I am creating is a girl’s smock. The idea for the smock was a famous 1960’s model called Twiggy.

twiggy

One day I woke up and I couldn’t stop thinking about Twiggy and Carnaby Street fashions of the 1960s. Words like colorful, playful, happy, carefree, and mod kept flitting around my mind. So I decided to create a mood board regarding what I was thinking. The mood board is here. In my mood board I was looking for pictures to represent those words but in specific ways. For example, colorful led me to wondering what were some of the fashion colors of the era and how were these colors grouped together. What feelings did these color groupings create in me? What moods did they create? So I started to edit my color group choices so they would represent playful and happy. After all, it is a child’s smock. Through out all the color gathering, I kept coming back to the turquoise bedroom with the lime green and hot pink and to the 1960 oil painting called Into a Clearing by Wolf Kahn that is also on my board.

The next question I asked myself was did I want “hot” versions of the colors like in the turquoise room or did I want the more muted colors as shown in the Kahn oil painting. Could I find these colors in all one brand of yarn? I didn’t want to have to mix yarn brands to achieve the effect. So I started collecting pictures of yarn by colors, including only those brands that came closest to the “hot” and muted versions of the colors.

While I was busy playing with colors I still hadn’t decided on the shape or look of the sweater. I’ll explain how that came about in my next post. Till then….

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