designing knits

I’ve already mentioned in a couple of posts that I’m working on another Geithus lace knit top, which is this thing, if you’ll remember:

I’ve decided to tweak it and publish it, and thought it might be interesting to tag along and see the process!

I bought this absolutely gorgeous Manos del Uruguay yarn while in the US last month to make my sample with, but then I knit up a swatch in the honeycomb pattern that is the main part of the lace knit top, and… it’s completely wrong. Wrong for this project at least! Let’s compare the swatches, shall we?

Making the second swatch in a new yarn was quite an interesting experience. After I realized the yarn was wrong for this project, I started thinking about *why* it didn’t work. Going through those things and deciding the reasons they didn’t work with my project was a reminder of the design process itself. It’s full of decisions you make based on the vision you have for your end product!

The green yarn is a smooth 2-ply lace yarn, and I decided I need a yarn with more give for this garment. The slippery, silky Manos also produced a fabric (color aside) that just didn’t feel right. It was less plum, and less dense than the original swatch, which was something that was important to me in designing the top originally. I didn’t want it see through!

The gauge was way off, and while I could have made another swatch with a smaller needle size, I believe a needle size of somewhere around US 0 or 2mm would just be enjoyable for the detail work involved in this! I decided that a single ply yarn that will somewhat stick to itself was the right yarn for the type of fabric and drape and opacity I wanted to achieve. A last thing I realized about the single ply, was that it would offer a clearer stitch definition. In the green sample it’s hard to see that there is a pattern at all!

So with the swatch telling me I had the wrong yarn, I’ve ordered 3 skeins of Malabrigo in a colorway I’m a little anxious and a lot excited to see if the color will make sense. It should be on its way to my mailbox right now! In the meanwhile, I’ve been crunching numbers. I’ve got some changes I want to make from the original pattern, such as proper cap sleeves instead of an extended shoulder; a more defined side rib to tackle the decreases; and a better way of finishing the armholes and the collar. I’ll come back to those later, when the yarn has arrived and hopefully I’ve started knitting the sample!

I hope this peek into the process of designing knits was interesting!

4 responses to “designing knits

  1. Thanks for sharing – I find it fascinating how designers figure out what kind of yarn and/or fabric works best for a particular design. :)

    • Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it! I feel like I’m just on the cusp of figuring those things out too… but it seems to really come down to a “vision”, how pompous that might sound! ;)

  2. I can’t wait to see how this goes, I once tried doing a knitting pattern in the knitwear class and man that was a nighmare! Very very excited about this!!!

    • Ooo, with Lynda? I *loved* that class! I think maybe that was the start of me realizing I could wrap my head around designing knitwear too! Thanks, I am very excited as well! Of course, it’s also spawned like a million other ideas for projects and products and patterns!

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