A Little Bit About Designing

July 2014 845 Summer is always one of the busiest periods of my working life as magazines are commissioning items for their autumn/winter issues. I have just finished the last of my many commissions and am now looking forward to getting stuck into the self-publishing side of my life. I have been asked many times how I go about doing what I do, so here's a little run-down.

  • I start by compiling a moodboard (this is my moodboard for a mini-collection I did together with Old Maiden Aunt yarns). As I add pins, a theme will eventually emerge and I start editing the moodboard down to the bare minimum of pins I need to convey the idea.
  • I sketch ideas based upon the moodboard. This can be anything from stitch pattern ideas to the shape of a sleeve or even the actual piece I want to design.
  • The stitch pattern is charted and I start pondering things like what sort of ribbing I'd use or what type of drape I'd require from the yarn.
  • I decide upon yarn and swatch. I always knit a generous swatch (at least 6" x 6") and I wash & block my swatch.
  • Basing my numbers upon my swatch, I then write the pattern. Numbers are everything. Before I have cast on a single stitch, I will worked the entire piece in my head and on paper.
  • And then I cast on.

There are many ways of going about designing, and I always advocate doing what feels right and natural to you. However, by working out the entire pattern before I commit to knitting it, I reduce the risk of having to rip back because the numbers do not add up and, of course, the risk of forgetting to take notes.

I'll write more about my design process later this year when I'll show you my sketches and swatches for a garment that is due to be published around November.

I talk more about my working life, my sources of inspiration and my plans for the future in this interview I did with the lovely folks of Love Knitting. The interview took place just after I returned from Unwind Brighton so I am pleasantly surprised by how coherent I sound!

Speaking of Unwind Brighton, my head is buzzing with ideas and plans.. and I finally have time to sit down and do something about all the things in my head. Huzzah!