Thank you to all the amazing knitting designers to participated in this fabulous series – please do visit their blogs and ravelry and read their guest posts.
Knitting Designer series [link to whole series HERE]
I do a mix of self and non-self publishing- I prefer to have the extra control that self-publishing provides, but I occasionally enjoy collaborating with publishers. I’m too impatient to deal with the submissions process much anymore (I want to just start designing, RIGHT NOW!) but occasionally people invite me to contribute to something and that’s always wonderful :-)
Linda from Woolly mammoth knits explains how designing knitting patterns is quite a lot like playing with blocks.
When coming up with a design, I make use of five basic “designing blocks”. Just like with the Duplo, I pick and choose. Not all blocks go into each design, but if you design enough patterns you’ll likely use each of these eventually.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about pattern writing, and how I come to be where I am. What are my philosophies, how do I write patterns, and how does that affect the final product? What do I expect of the person using the pattern?
I thought I’d tell the story of a pattern from start to finish, and include all the gory details, whether glamorous or not (because seriously, math is not very glamorous).
Karen from Katoumi discusses her design process and her knitwear designs for children.
I really love the garter stitch, especially on kids’ garment, it is stretchy and classic and never goes out of fashion, so I try to integrate this stitch in most of my patterns.
My designing process begins with finding an inspiration. Being inspired and excited about my idea is very important to me. I believe that when I love what I’m doing, it also shows in my designs.
This spring I reread one of my favorite books, The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery, and I decided I was going to spend this summer designing three shawls based on it. … It’s a romantic little story about a very sad woman who lives a miserable, poor life with her controlling and unpleasant family. She gets a little brave and moves out to an island and the more she lives with the woods and the water the more her world starts to come alive. Also, there’s a man.
Sketching is the starting point for me, both when I have something specific in mind to design and also when I just need to get ideas flowing in a general way. I’m not much of an illustrator, and I’ve never used a proper sketchbook, but I’ve found that making this part of the process as low-fi and homely as possible helps me be free with ideas and make new discoveries.
Melissa from neoknits discusses the process of designing for a large manufacturer vs designing for hand knitting patterns.
Sometimes I’ll sketch up 10 sweaters in one day and won’t sketch another for a few months. When I’m ready, I come back to my sketchbook, revisit the designs and choose one that speaks to me. From there, I polish it up a little bit, add a detail or two and decide on the fit, stitch, and yarn. My designs are typically a work in progress.
If only getting ideas was the final destination rather than the beginning of the journey! For me, finding ideas is the easy part of the pattern design process. Taking steps from those first kernels of inspiration on through to the creation of a published knitting pattern is the much lengthier and more involved part of the trip.
I consider myself ridiculously lucky to be where I am in life. Yes, I wish there were more hours in the day (or less sleep needed) so I could do all the things swirling in my head, but continually working to find the balance between business and a creative life, revelling in the process of it all, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I love swatching a new design, it is such a revealing process of what is yet to come and is very much a deciding factor in the direction of a design. When you are knitting a piece from scratch, swatches tend to take on a whole new meaning. I always use the opportunity to sample the techniques I intend to use within the pattern.
Today we are lucky if we had grandmothers, or mothers able to teach us how to knit or sew. The tradition of making your own clothes has largely been lost in just the last generation with the influx of inexpensive off the rack clothing.
I have to admit I never wear weird hats myself. I don’t like to attract the attention. Still I do love anything unusual and I love children and grownups who don’t shy away from it.
I am an alarmingly slow knitter. I’m also lazy. Very very lazy. This deadly combination means that, if I ever want to get anything finished and off my needles, I have to be as efficient as possible in my knitting. That means swatching. Lots and lots and lots of swatching.
I especially like to imagine models for children because knitting for them is for me a very special way to surround them with our love and preserve them from global consumption. … The idea that my little boy grows up keeping this value of crafted things pleases me enormously.
My more minimalist aesthetic means I tend towards knitted stitches that result in a continuous textile: stocking stitch, garter stitch, twisted stocking stitch, float stitch, rib. I like the yarn itself to take the leading role in the design. My designs feature the yarn rather than an intricate stitch detail.
I most enjoy making functional things that are also beautiful and well constructed. I think of knitting as architecture. You build one row on top of the other like a mason laying bricks, and each row feeds into the next and must support what you’re going to do in the next row to make a cohesive whole.