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Monday, February 12, 2007

The Design Process - Inspiration

Welcome to my first installment of a glimpse inside my design process! I will begin with a very short summary of where I find inspiration and then talk a bit about sketching and swatching the initial design. I also include dates so you can get a general idea how long the process can sometimes take.

Working as a full-time designer, I am blessed with having tons and tons of inspiration surrounding me practically 24/7. We subscribe to trend and color services, shop Europe and NYC, and look at magazines. Sometimes I am inspired by a particular stitch, other times by a great silhouette or even by a great yarn.

In this particular case, I was inspired by some beautiful yarn - Fable Handknit's 100% Baby Alpaca. This yarn deserved to be turned into something that was classy and sophisticated, yet fun and up-to-date.

Finally in the beginning of January, I got around to sketching a few ideas here and there. I sketched about 10 designs and let them sit, looking over them occasionally. Finally they were narrowed down to about 4 and left to sit another few days. Usually, I will also get outside opinions of fellow knitters and designers to help me decide on the final project. I don't think the creative process should happen in a total vacuum, and comments from outside sources are a very helpful tool when making my final choice. And the winner was.........

A deep V tunic cardigan with short doleman sleeves (selected Jan 13th):

Once the design was chosen, I set to work trying to find a stitch pattern that both complimented the yarn and the silhouette - which is not always an easy task! After pouring over several stitch libraries, I selected a few to swatch. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. For this particular design, I picked about 5 stitch patterns and 2 worked with the alpaca.

I went for something with a little texture, but with a hint of lace (finished Feb 1st):

The top of the swatch was done in an interesting pointelle/rib like pattern. The bottom is Flame Chevron.

I carried the swatch around with me for about a week before finally deciding on the Flame Chevron. I thought it would work well with the design and add a bit of texture without being overwhelming. I really liked the top pattern also, but felt it might look a bit too busy, thick and vertical for a long tunic. So this stitch will probably become inspiration for another design down the road.

Inspiration - check.
Design - check.
Stitch pattern - check.

Next step: figuring out the gauge, yarn requirements, and the measurements of the finished garment. Stay tuned!


frecklegirl jess said...

So neat- I really want to see how it all comes together.

I dream of designing my own stuff someday. :)

Connie said...

Very insightful! I like flipping through magazines to look for inspiration too. It'll be interesting to see how your design concept progresses :) Thanks so much for doing this!

Jessica said...

This is so cool--I love the whole idea. And I'm excited to see the progression of the sweater--I like it already. :)
It was good to see you again yesterday!

Stacy Z said...

This is so cool to share your process. I cannot wait to see the whole progression ups and downs.

Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

Veronique said...

How interesting!

gleek said...

how fun! god i wish that my job allowed me the time to find knitting inspiration :) you're so lucky to work in the business.

Melissa said...

so cute! I can't wait to see the final result ;)
BTW... I am currently working on one of your other designs right now... sesame!

craptina said...

This is a fantastic idea to post about- thank you for showing us your process. I like the chevron pattern too- I'm guessing this is on your own time too, huh? Finally, not a secret project!

Amy said...

This is really a fun series. Thank you for letting us have a peek into how your process works.

Alison said...

Thanks for sharing your creative process with us!

schrodinger said...

This is really interesting to read about, it's great that you are sharing, thanks.

Kelly said...

Wow, it's so interesting to see your process! I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for the next installment:)

carrie said...

oh, i can't wait for the next part. this is what always confuses me -- that MATH!

Brooklyn Handspun said...

I love your design process - but I'm with Carrie it's the math that freaks me out!

Colette said...

What a great idea to post about your design process! I have been lucky enough to see you work through many designs, but that is only in glimpses - I love reading how you bring the whole thing together to create something beautiful!