The Stitch Patterns, and Designing With Them
A group of us decided to share both a lace pattern and a non-lace pattern that we were interested in designing with, then see what would happen from there. We set a deadline, asked that everyone interested submit one of each (some did more), without comment, just a photo.
Those interested in participating in this project then voted on our top three lace patterns and top two non-lace patterns. The voting gave us a clear direction on the stitch patterns. We decided each project should be a non-garment piece because this would be something we were all slipping into the cracks and crevices of our other commitments. Such a reality for women’s work!
Deadlines were set and criteria were determined. We had a few interested designers need to drop out because of time constraints. Sue McCain, one of our members, who couldn’t join this collection collaboration helped us out by translating the cable pattern into words. We had a chart, but no key! The designs we are presenting in this collection incorporate the two winning stitch patterns. It was left to each designer to decide how they used the stitch patterns. Other stitch patterns could be added for edgings, trims, or in other ways.
The Identity Concept
I suggested that we set an umbrella concept for the collection. I was currently looking at Viewpoint Colour, Volume 4. I shared the idea and gave some prompts about Identity from there. I did not want to be specific — there needed to be room for each designer to make our work a reflection of how we perceive and experience Identity. We had a few brief discussions, then each designer went their own way
The Identity Designers
What follows is the Identity statement (or a portion of it) from each Designer. Not surprisingly mine is much longer, but you will have to buy the e-book to learn the rest! Presented in alphabetical order.
In knitwear design we frequently strive to create something “original” – we hope our work is unique and special, but in this group collaboration we all created variations on a theme. Our creativity all stemmed from a starting point, which in this case was a certain stitch pattern. In the same way, I believe we have the inspiration and skills to create because God Himself is creative. We love colors, intricate detail and symmetry because He does, and we can see that in the world around us. My family is another large part of my identity, and I frequently theme my designs around the people I love. In my case, I’ve named these socks for my mother, Louise; she taught me to knit, encouraged my passion for fiber arts, and has even posed patiently for photo shoots when I needed a model.
My identity is very related to my environment. I live in a country far away from the northern hemisphere and very geographically isolated from the rest of my continent. The Andes, the Pacific Ocean and the Atacama Desert have made me a person who loves loneliness. I grew up in the north of the country, in the driest desert on the planet. And I have always liked its landscapes, with that hostile appearance and of an infinite loneliness. When we contemplate the immensity of the nature that surrounds us we become more humble and grateful beings, and that is when it surprises you again filling the most arid desert of the world with flowers.
My college degree is in chemistry, the smallest framework before falling into quantum mechanics. I think my crafting echoes this because I love stitch patterns, but I don’t dye or spin yarn. Most of my designs start by asking, “What is the best place on a person to use this stitch?” I love the beauty, proportion and math of stitches; I’ve bought other people’s patterns just to read their charts. I may even love the process of iterative swatches; because I make about 15 per motif. I believe the joy I find in order, proportion and creativity reflects the fact that people are made in the image of God.
Hi Knitter! Be careful asking a philosophy grad a question like, “state your identity.” To prevent a tome, I’ll break it down into three parts. My foundational identity is a child of God through the blood of Jesus Christ. My design identity is eco yarns, unique construction, and where applicable, knits to fit the curves God gave us. My familial identity is daughter to camera mom and camera dad and human to Puddles. When it came to designing an “identity” item for this fun collection with my fellow indies, I chose to highlight the final point. Puddles has been the Knit Eco Chic mascot from nearly it’s inception … he joined the team as a rambunctious 12-week-old, about 6 months after I started the design business. However, despite having organic cotton hand knits of his very own, I’ve yet to publish a dog related pattern! Since an unspoken identifier of my brand is knits for humans,
I thought Unleashed would be a wonderful way to express identity for this collection. On the surface, a design for dogs, but digging deeper shows it to be all about the human’s comfort and ease of use!
Patty Nance / Amadea (adjective, ah-mah-dā-ah, Latin word for beloved)
Knit design is what I do, but it is not who I am. As part of a collection of designs based on the theme Identity, I was challenged to define where my identity comes from. The Bible tells me that I can find my identity in the One who created me, the God of the universe, He who calls me beloved. God made me, He gifted me with creativity, and I express that creativity back to Him in yarn of many colors. This lacey wrap and scarf are worked in Trendsetter’s Evolution, a soft spun merino single that starts out variegated, changes to solid, and morphs into a different solid all in one beautiful yarn cake. With its textural stitch pattern and next-to-the-skin softness, this might just be your next beloved project.
I lost my mother suddenly in 2018, and I’ve been struggling with my identity ever since. Who am I without her? Who do I share the highs and lows of life with? Argue with? Call for sympathy when I am sick? These are questions that I am still trying to answer. The obvious answer is to share them with my husband, and I do that as I always have done, but it’s not the same as sharing them with my mom.
As I attempt to figure out that part of my identity, others remain constant: wife, niece, adoptive mother to my sweet little cat, honorary aunt and grandmother to some of the young people that I know.
I was raised in the 1960s when floral wallpaper was on all the girls’ bedroom walls, including mine. If you know my work at all, you’ll see how flowers and nature are still a large part of my identity, and show up in my knit designs frequently.
There are three terms that I use to define myself professionally: fashion designer/knitwear designer, educator, and writer/storyteller.
I have always identified as a fashion designer. It was all I ever wanted to be except a princess—and for a brief period in the 60s, George Harrison’s wife. These both seemed like perfectly viable options at their time.
When I decide to do things, I tend to get there, but I rarely to take a straight path. I am not inclined to do things I don’t want to do. I will actually convince myself that I can, but the follow-through just isn’t there. So, after a lot of false starts, I became a fashion designer.
Later, in my 40s, I added educator. I began teaching at a fashion college and found I was perfectly suited to it. As a storyteller, it was a perfect venue to express ideas and share my accumulated, and accumulating, knowledge about garment construction, pattern making, design, and creative development. I also taught knitting and put on knitting workshops. Teaching required that I start recording things, so I also became a writer.
Writer / Storyteller
What I really love, and which is perfectly suited to my introverted/observational personality, was watching myself (and others) do things, and figuring out what I was learning, then sharing it with others. I love what I do and approach each day with excitement to do it.
I have learned that a lot of the things that seemed impediments at earlier points in my life have become positives with a change of perspective. Rather than considering myself a procrastinator, at some point I realized that it is part of my process. It isn’t avoiding doing; it is that I’m not ready. Early efforts when the mojo isn’t flowing, have horrible and wrongheaded outcomes.
Why a Collaboration?
I personally love collaborations. It usually takes a bit of adjusting and assessing to see how to do each one, but this one was really easy. Each person was professional, and pitched in as they stated they could. I hope we can do this again. Diversity is a current concept we are each defining and seeking to improve, and seems a perfect way to collaborate.