Tuesday, July 12, 2011

On Design, Part II

When last we talked about the design process, we were still in the sketching and charting phase. Now a sketch and a chart may look fine, but as I'm sure we've all discovered when fiddling with our knitting to try to get it to come out a certain way, something on paper doesn't always translate well to something in yarn, particularly when you're dealing with a graphic pattern. The next step, then, was to swatch.

I pulled out some leftover Knit Picks Palette from the stash and a printout of the graph and got to work. For this particular swatch, I decided it would be best to do it in the round and using the full stitch count. While a faux in-the-round swatch worked okay for my Ivy League Vest, for a mitten, it wouldn't take much more time to do an abbreviated version of the whole thing. Also, because the motif is the same throughout, I didn't need to knit an entire mitten to get an idea of whether it would work -- I really only needed one repeat of the motif and the top portion to make sure the decreases worked with the motif. Because I wanted a visual of the whole mitten, I included a few rows of my planned cuff as well. This is what I ended up with:

I was pleased with this result, both in the appearance of the motif and in the gauge and feel of the finished fabric, so that meant I was able to move on to the next phase: writing the pattern.

To be honest, writing out the pattern was really the most difficult part of this process. Having worked on a pattern with essentially the same chart and setup before, I was familiar with what I needed to do to get the finished project I wanted. Making those steps clear to someone else -- especially to someone who may never before have knit a mitten like this -- is another story. I tried to be as specific as possible without feeling like I was doing too much hand-holding in the hopes that the pattern would be accessible to knitters of all experience levels. Whether that was the case would be seen in the test knitting phase -- which we'll talk about next time.


  1. I am sooo knitting this when you release it.

  2. I like! My first colorwork mittens made me a little bit cranky. When you got to the decreases atop the mittens, you had to "borrow" stitches from the other half of the round to complete EACH decrease. When I groused, the designer essentially replied with "well, YEAH, that's how it works!" I was cranky because that's not something you should have to assume. Harrumph!