I'm working away at several designs at the moment. It's funny to look back and see the shift that has occurred in my knitting life. When I think of knitting now it's completely intertwined with designing. It wasn't always that way for me, but over the past year I've noticed a subtle shift. When I feel like casting on for something new, it's rarely a new pattern that I've found online, but rather a new design idea that I've had floating around in my head and can't wait to work out with yarn and needles. I learn a lot about my design aesthetic and my design methods with each new piece I work on. One thing that I know for sure is that for me, knitting is definitely part of my design process. It may seem obvious, but its not the case for everyone. Some people can visualize the pattern, do some swatching, write it all out and send it off to a test knitter. I admire that skill in the pro's, but I'm not there yet. I try to work out as much of the pattern as I can before casting on so I can try and pin point potential trouble spots before I get to them, but I find that I still have to actually knit the thing that I'm designing myself in order to iron out all the wrinkles.
One of the patterns I recently completed is a shawl. Since shawls can be rather complicated with lace edgings that have to be worked on a multiple of a fixed amount of stitches, and that triangular shape requires lots of increases that need to be incorporated beautifully into the motifs, I have found that the best way for me to work it out is by knitting a mini shawl! (See a sneak peek of the shawl in this post.) It's proved invaluable to me lately. In a night or two I can knit a mini version of my final pattern. In my mini version I can experiment with different increases and stitch patterns, if things don't look the way they should it doesn't matter since I'll only have a few dozen stitches to rip out (rather than the few hundred that I might have to rip if I were "working things out" on a large shawl!)
|After knitting my mini-shawl I cast on for the larger, final version and it knit up without a hitch!|
So far, this system really works for me. For me, it doesn't translate into garment design as I find that I really have to try things on as I go when I'm working on a sweater, but for a shawl, I'm loving the mini prototype approach.