In response to my last post, a couple of people asked about how I work. So here goes!
It’s difficult to pinpoint where the process begins – much of the time ideas spring to mind fairly randomly. Certain silhouettes, textures and details that I see and like sometimes lead to ideas I could combine and incorporate into my own designs. Often I am inspired by sewn tailoring and fabric details that I can adapt for knitwear, as my taste in designs tends to be quite neat and tailored.
When I first started designing my own projects, the finished product often bore little resemblance to my original idea. Luckily I always liked the outcome nonetheless; the cute swirly pattern on the top of my Aira pattern was a happy accident. I’d like to think that my visualisation skills have improved over the years – naturally through plenty of trial and error – so I don’t tend to have surprises these days!
Although I do love sketching and have many pages filled with doodles and designs, I actually have even more pages of lists and notes. (Anyone else make lists of the lists you need to make or is that just me?) Beginning right away with swatching seems to work best for me as I can generally tell from there whether a concept needs some tweaking, or if the yarn I’d had in mind won’t co-operate. Out of impatience really I like to get started on the making process ASAP, although obviously a certain amount of calculations are necessary at the outset. Whilst I have a very good idea of what the end result will be, I don’t write the whole pattern up before starting. Again, due to my lack of patience, I tend to steam ahead making the first stage before I even begin to write the second.
Of course the ‘design process’ is far from finished by the time I have a finished item. Now for all the techie mathsy stuff! Accessories obviously require very little in the way of sizing and so can mostly be written up, formatted, checked and published in a fairly short space of time. Garments on the other hand take considerably more time given that grading is needed, for which I use Microsoft Excel. Then comes the checking, and the double checking, then the triple checking, before finally I get the whole thing written up and prettified in Adobe Indesign. Never fails to surprise me how long it can take to pick the perfect font and create the perfect layout.