Designing

August 2013

I am planning out another batch of gloves – there will be 3 or 4 on a Welsh theme – possibly linked to places or people or the seasons, or a combination of all these. I also want to knit a group of three for my friends, Trish, Sharon and Judy. They have given me some colour preferences and ideas so I am starting to work on them. These are some of the yarns I’ll be knitting with – they are mainly vintage ones

Some yarns for the next batch of gloves

Some yarns for the next batch of gloves

The colour palettes will be orange/pink, lilac/pink/mauve and green/white or cream I think. The patterns will be perhaps 60s inspired for the orange and pink – cos that’s where the colours come from, and possibly inspired by the Yorkshire Rose or Stoodley Pike above Todmorden for the green and white.

But there’s another group which are going to be Welsh in inspiration and I can’t decide what to do with those colours.

Once I get going I’ll be aiming to make each pair in about three weeks – it’s good to have goals!

21 June 2013

What goes around comes around

image

wpid-IMG631.jpg

I was searching for spare paper in a stack of old sketchbooks and came across these designs using Sanquhar patterns. They are from 1985.

17 December 2012

Matching colours from strange sources

Great excitement today (17th December 2012) at Lee Mills, the home of the collection of the Knitting and Crochet Guild as sorting patterns turned up this classic from the 1950s in which gloves have coloured gussets, below left. but in the search for it I came across another glove image with strikingly similar colours – this was of a display in a shop window when I was in Madison Wisconsin at the symposium to found the Knitting and Crochet Museum.

Glove pattern P1050026
The coloured gussets glove pattern and the gloves in a shop window in Madison Wisconsin.

9 September 2012
Design Ideas using rubber gloves

After hearing a paper at In The Loop 3 in which a knitwear designer explained how she explored design ideas using small cardboard models in 3D rather than on paper in 2D, I had the idea of exploring glove patterns by drawing on either my hands or on gloves. It seemed to me that rubber gloves would do as I can then wash off patterns and try others.

I had been exploring whole hand patterns using flat diagrams but the Japanese herringbone pattern divides the hand up in much more interesting ways than the ‘traditional’ UK gloves.

This is the first attempt exploring vertical lines on the back of the hand and horizontal ones on the palm, see below:

image

image

 28 August 2012
Design ideas

After weeks and weeks of thinking and drawing and making sketchbooks etc I have decided to go for either 3 or 6 pairs of gloves using a very traditional colour palette, that is, an off white and a dark charcoal grey – I’m going to embroider any initials or dates in red, thereby breaking the two colour rule.

I’ve decided not to use the vintage yarns as I think they might have more moth in them than I suspected, and also the colours are really slightly odd for items that take so long to make. I may return to them again.

The yarn is 3 ply sock wool that is machine washable and has 25% nylon, thus making the gloves hard wearing, should they be worn, which I hope they will be. Using these classic colours gives me the scope to explore different configurations of stitch patterns in relation to the hand and I think that will be interesting. Haven’t quite decided how but I will do soon as I can’t even start the cuffs as I might want bolder lines coming down from the hand, as on the herringbone ones.

The decision to embroider initials and date means that I can decide at any time what to put, and I have had a lot of debate with myself about that. I’m not sure I want another batch of gloves with my initials on them so it might be good to be able to vary it. The other inspiration for the embroidery was a blanket that I saw in a mountain refuge that had initials on it, see below:

Embroidered initials on a refuge blanket

6 July 2012

Design ideas

I’m planning to knit a group of say, 3 or 4 pairs of gloves to my own designs. The (self imposed) design constraints are tight: 2 colours, fine wool, small patterns, cuff, initials or word, hand pattern and fingers….

I’m especially puzzled over the theme and colours.

Here’s some pages from my sketch book as I think about it:

Somehow vanished …

3 July 2012

Thinking about designs

After this pair I’m going to start knitting my own designs. I can’t decide on themes or starting points – I plan to knit a set of 4 – 6 in the style of these ‘traditional’ UK gloves.

So: fine wool or wool with nylon; gloves with fingers; two colour; rib at wrist; initials or other word above rib; pattern on hands, front and back. Not sure about fingers. Small patterns or damrod designs.

Themes:

  • places
  • friends
  • elements
  • days of the week
  • seasons – or would that rule out summer?
  • Welsh theme?
  • Relatives?
  • Grandparents – grandchildren?

I’ll have to think about this and start to sketch too. I’ll also have to look and see what colour yarns I’ve got and what I could order and from where.

10 June 2012

I walked into St David’s yesterday on the most glorious morning and was mulling over ideas for designs for the gloves I want to make. If I use Wales as a theme then I could perhaps use colours and visual imagery from around here for at least one pair. The blue sky and greenness of the countryside seem like an iconic combination for rural Wales but I am stuck on the self-imposed limit of two colours per glove. If I aim for six pairs I’m tempted to work some sort of colour progression using one colour from the first glove but adding another.. so

glove 1 – cream and black or charcoal grey

glove 2 – black and dark blue

glove 3 – dark blue and light grey

glove 4 – light grey and green

glove 5 – green and pink

glove 6 – green and cream

Only of course it needs to be worked out with some drawing and yarn wraps and samples.

These are some of the images that I took yesterday as an aide memoire for one particular colour palette.

11 April 2012

Design or ‘d’esign?

In my PhD work I identified that design can be done by non designers and be perfectly adequate for the context it is in: I labelled this ‘small d design’. Design done by professional designers I called ‘big D Design’.

Where is the design, D or d, in this glove knitting? I argue that there isn’t any design activity at all as the making is just following the pattern; that is what Elizabeth Zimmerman calls ‘blind following’. Throughout her writing she encourages the knitter to take charge of her work and I completely agree (being a bit of an EZ groupie actually).

So what is going on when the maker alters the pattern as I have been doing on the Shepherd’s Plaid gloves? Is that designing? Even choosing colours for the knitting could be argued to be a design decision. Incidentally, I heard that the colour of the illustration on the front of a knitting pattern always sold lots more than any other colour in the range. Perhaps that is because we want to see ourselves as the model in the photo?

How much knitting is designed either by non professional designers or by anonymous designers? In the past, say the 1950s and 60s,it was very unusual to see a knitting pattern with a designer’s name on it. in the 80s knitting ‘phase’ named designers came to prominence in all aspects – writing patterns and books, garments and yarns. Was the first of these Patricia Roberts? Of course, the most well known is probably Kaffe Fasset both in the UK and the USA.

Knitting as a domestic activity is closely linked to selling yarn and that is dependent on patterns whether in books, magazines or pattern leaflets. the internet, blogs and Ravelry all play a part too. It seems a shame to me that so many knitters are so tied to patterns which are often unnecessarily complicated or even stupid – those that have the knitter making acres of fabric to felt strike me as particularly time wasting … and knitting your own pattern is so much easier and more fun to do.

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