I started working on Jo-Jo’s vest back in the very beginning of the year, thinking of it as an April birthday gift. Well that didn’t happen! I had a concept of a basic wardrobe staple: a wool vest to wear 3 seasons of the year – actually 4 seasons here in Maine. It would be seamless, and with integrated bands so there would be no picking up all those stitches around the front and the armholes. I also wanted it to have some shaping, but not the severe shaping so many designs have today. I wanted it to be flattering for women of all ages and shapes, so decided on subtle waist shaping (for those of us with subtle waists) and a size range of seven sizes – up to a 58 inch finished bust. I chose one of my favorite basic yarns, Briggs and Little Heritage, and started swatching. Seeing as this is September, you probably guessed that it didn’t go easily! I never made so many swatches for a design; testing out every detail multiple times. I had purchased an extra skein just for swatching, and ending up frogging swatches to get more yarn for swatching.
I also made the decision to draft and grade this pattern using a spreadsheet for the first time; really the only sane way to approach grading garments. So I began to work with Excel. I have only two words to describe the frustration of the next couple months – learning curve! But the good news is that I did learn it and am now pretty comfortable with a method that should make life easier in the future. I highly recommend Faina Goberstein’s Craftsy course: Sizing Knitwear Patterns. Learning Excel is one thing, but adapting it to pattern drafting and grading is a pretty specialized use.
I am happy to be able to report that the result of all this work is a design and a pattern that I am just thrilled with! In fact, I enjoy wearing it so much that I am a not looking forward to gifting it away at Christmas. I have already bought the yarn to make another one for myself. Three of my testers on Ravelry have also expressed that they are planning a second one. The consensus seems to be that Jo-Jo’s Vest fulfills my original desire for a flattering wardrobe staple that is quick and interesting to knit.
You can see more details about Jo-Jo’s Vest on the pattern page here, or on Ravelry.
Ok – I’m just showing off my beautiful daughter in this photo – but look! she’s wearing my new scarf design! I have had this design finished for a while but was hanging on to it thinking I would submit it to one of the knitting magazines. After some discussion with other designers about the pros and cons of publishing that way, I decided that I really did want to stick to self publishing my designs for the foreseeable future. As Knitwise Design I have complete control over the whole process, from design inspiration to every word in the directions. I really like having this control – especially being able to make the final pattern directions as error free as possible, not something the magazines are known for. Plus, I had these terrific photos!
I had a lot of fun experimenting with the concept of three dimensionality while designing this scarf and am thrilled with the results. There are multiple ways to play with and modify the basic design. I am excited to see the creative variations knitters will come up with!
You can see some more cute photos of my daughter, I mean of the scarf, and get more information about the pattern, on the Tidal Cove Scarf pattern page, and also in my Ravelry Store.
Fall is definitely here! The favorite season for many knitters – myself included. I get so inspired to knit myself some great things to wear in the chilly weather. And the first thoughts of holiday knitting projects start to percolate. Of course, at the speed I knit I should have started these things back when it was eighty degrees! Well, in fact, I did! And now I have two new patterns that will be available this month, and another just off the needles and entering the next stage of the self publishing process. An exciting Fall for Knitwise Design! I thought I would share some sneak peak photos of one of these new designs: Tidal Cove Scarf.
My beautiful daughter, Melissa, was the model for this photo shoot and was such a good sport working in the drizzly weather. The location is right here in Lubec – the tidal cove across from my house. I am really pleased with the photos we got that day and just disappointed I can’t use more of them in the pattern and the Ravelry pattern page. So here are a couple fun ones I couldn’t include. Watch for this pattern release very soon!