Top Design Tips No. 1

Posted by on 10 Nov, 2012 in Finishing Techniques, Work Examples | 0 comments

This week I’ve been beavering away on a super-secret collaboration with some other WAHM crafters.  I can’t and won’t tell you about it until Spring, but I can certainly give you this peep into how I design…

Rather than knit an entire garment, I’m doing little test-parts of it at a time.  So there’s been lots of feverish work on the calculator, hours of knitting, almost as many hours ripping out and re-sewing of seams, and plenty of frantic waggling around of tension swatches to check on the fabric ‘drape’.  (And not forgetting the entire waste of an evening when the sleep deprivation got to me and I did a massive tension swatch using the wrong size of needles… doh!).  This week’s finished test-part is currently in the washing machine: I need to see how the stitches will relax, drape and fit after washing.

My youngest minx is now thoroughly fed-up of trying on my test-piece for me to photograph parts.  This is good!   Because now she’s starting to give me some great feedback about how it looks and feels instead of her initial, not-very-useful “It nice…”.   I’m now getting “Not like this bit – scratchy!”, “Too ouchy here!”, “Can’t see!”, “Tastes yucky!” and “Ooooooo, soft….!”  So I’ve decided that comfortable but visible whip-stitch seams would be better than pretty, invisible seams, with their uncomfortable inner sausage of fabric, for example.

So what?  How does this help anyone else who designs?   Well, here’s the top tip: my finished product will be in one colour, but I’m knitting this in stripes with 7 super-bright colours from the same range.  Why?  Am I deranged, adding hundreds of darned ends to do?!   Why not just use the actual single colour?   It’s worth it, because it makes it *really* easy to see where I need to make tweaks and changes to the actual garment.   My fellow-collaborators will also hopefully find it easier to look at my photos and advise ‘you need more give at the top of the green stripe’, ‘a bit more negative ease at the bottom of the purple stripe’, ‘it’s too baggy at the blue and turquoise stripes’.   I change colour every 10 rows so it speeds up the arithmetic of measuring, too.  Best of all, my youngest likes the colours, so may even wear the test-piece itself as a garment.

What’s not to like about colour, eh?