I don't know about you but I'm often curious about the stories behind the designs I see in magazines and on Instagram. What inspired the designer? Why did he or she make the choices they did? So, I thought from time to time I would share the thought process behind some of my designs as they appear in publications. Recently, my child's sweater, "Birch", appeared in Cast On magazine, the official publication of The Knitting Guild Association (tkga). You can find it on their website (tkga.org)
In designing this sweater, I wanted to create a kid's sweater that would be an easy introduction to colorwork knitting. I imagined someone who was an ambitious beginner, and I wanted him or her to be successful. I also imagined a more experienced knitter who wanted a quick sweater to knit as a gift. In order to make it as easy as possible, I kept the shaping simple- straight body, drop sleeves. I wanted a chunky yarn to make it quick to finish, and also to make the colorwork easier.
I chose a traditional colorwork pattern that only uses 2 colors but has a strong graphic presence, since I would only be using one band across the chest and the top of each sleeve. I also wanted a casual, modern feel, so I decided on rolled edges rather than ribbing. This is achieved by working a few rows of stockinette, followed by a few rows of ribbing to stop the roll before starting the main body of the sweater.
My original sketch and swatch called for white yarn with black patterning. The lines of black against white reminded me of the bark of a birch tree; hence the name. When the design was chosen by the magazine (yay!) I was able to work with the editor to choose the yarn for the sample. I was thrilled with the Malabrigo Mecha that was chosen- it was a dream to work with, and the slight variations in both thickness and color contributed to that casual feeling. Now, a stickler might point out that the final colors- cream and Prussian blue- are not the actual colors of a birch tree. However, I think in the right light- or just chalk it up to poetic license!
After all those decisions, it was time to put them all to work in the sample. Often, the final sweater looks very little like the original sketch, because along the line, all sorts of changes are made by me and/or by the editor. But in this case, the final product looked exactly like what I had envisioned all along. Hope you enjoyed this peek into the design process!