Monday, February 10, 2003

The Design Process

In trying to explain to Thaddeus what I was working on, I realized I have a very specific design process I use.

I've been wanting to design another men's sweater, so my first step in the design process is to establish what kind of fabric I want.

Obviously, my choices are more limited than they would be for a woman's sweater, but I still have a lot to choose from.

My original inspiration came from a sweater I saw Matt Damon wearing in the Bourne Identity. I don't like that particular sweater, but the fabric gave me an idea for something of my own. I decided I wanted a vertical rib with intermittent horizontal lines. With that in mind, I starting swatching some left over DK weight Shetland. I cast on about 60 stitches and knit a 2X2X5 ribbing. I did this for about 2 inches and then tried to do horizontal lines on every other 5 stitch rib.

What I didn't realize is that a purl stitch next to a knit stitch will indent into the fabric, but a purl stitch over a knit stitch will stick out from the fabric...ugh...I didn't like it.

I tried multiple ways of trying to find a stitch that would indent into the row above stockinette stitch, and finally came up with something I like. It doesn't indent, but it also doesn't stick out like a purl row does. Now I just have to measure my swatch, and decide on the style of sweater I want.

Sweater Style
This particular fabric would probably look best as a tunic-shaped pullover, but honestly, I dont' look that great in tunic-shaped sweaters. Don't get me wrong, I don't really look that great in ribbed fabric either, so I may decide to design this for someone else, or to sell to Unicorn (if they want it).

Color Selection
I love vibrant colors and to give you a sense, here a painting I own by a local artist who is getting more and more famous every day.

This painting is part of the River Bottom series by Jane Gilday. I own about 7 of her pieces, and her work is currently flying out of a local gallery, even at prices in the thousands.

This pattern stitch that I've selected won't show up very well in a dark yarn, so that's out. I'll need to either use a light colored yarn, or a medium color yarn that's tweedy or heathered. Since I know that the Unicorn editor likes tweedy yarns, I'll probably make it in an antique gold color. It's a deep, burnished gold with some black heathered through it. It should do the trick just right. I'll swatch up that color and let you folks give feedback as well. It reminds me of the gold-gilded frame in the photo above.

Knitting Progress
I have about 10 more rows to do on the last sleeve of my sister's sweater, and then just the minor sewing/weaving that's left. I should finish by tomorrow night and send it out to her sometime this week. I don't want to post a picture, just in case my sister Kathy is still reading this. I'll try to get a picture of her in it to show you how it turned out. How about a picture of Gage's beautiful eyes instead?