I guess the first thing you’d need to know about me is I’m pretty extroverted. I love meeting people. I love hearing stories. I’m empathetic to the point of tears in bad situations. Emotions worn on sleeves?
Yup, that’s me. It only makes sense, then, that almost all of my design inspiration comes from moments, memories, feelings, moods. I like to express them as I’m knitting. Kind of like pouring a story into each and every stitch.
The Campside Shawl, for example, was the result of a huge life decision for me. My father had passed away when I was in my early 20’s, very suddenly. We had a family cabin that I spent summers at with him. Even stepping into the camp and deeply inhaling the rich, woodsy cedar brings me back instantly. It brings me back to running barefoot and sandy across the wood floors after a long day at the beach. It brings me back to spaghettios and popsicles. It brings me back, mainly, to my favorite nights- the nights that the rain started gently, on the uninsulated cedar roof, and escalated to a deafening hush of torrential downpours. The claps of thunder, the safety of being inside that camp, everything magnified in sound. After a while, though, in my adulthood, the neighborhood grew loud. Rowdy. Four wheelers at 2 am. Drunken parties at the beach (loud ones)…I had to make the heartrending decision to put it on the market. As I designed the campside shawl, I knit each raindrop into the fabric of my time there. Each tear I sobbed the day I walked in, smelled my memories and realized I had to let go. It brought me peace. The blue from Julie Asselin—a mix of the slate blue lakewater over the skies at our camp, helped me sing this song on the perfect yarn.
Another, more recent design has a happier, but equally powerful story. Happiness Is is a harmony of my childhood and the littles that God has blessed my family with. The big, round polka dots float before me as clearly as the bubbles we blow in the driveway. The sweet, cackling, uncontrollable laughter that comes from a child full of glee. The wonder as they stare at the bubbles, clothed in rainbows swirling, swirling as they climb through the air. Short fingers that sift happily through fine sand on a beachy day.
Lakes Yarn & Fiber’s Heartwood is the perfect shade of sand from the oceans here in Maine, and the polka dots clearly outline the bubbles--but texturally, for a more muted and adult feel. It’s a way for me to express that while I’m an adult, I can still see the wonder and glory of this world we were blessed to live in! (on a side note, the name, which fits perfectly in my opinion, is also the name of my favorite ski trail on the local mountain. I just learned how in January. I was TERRIFIED and EXHILARATED the first
time I went down it, skiing so fast my body hovered sideways over the trail…It made me feel like a childagain).
So, the way it works for me is usually this: I see a color, and it instantly reminds me of a memory, a mood, or a feeling. (sometimes I write little poetic –if you want to call them that—blurbs in the description of my pattern to help explain my inspiration). Next, I find or create a stitch pattern that enhances that mood. Sometimes placement is key, as well- In Nutmeg Ginger, the texture at the wrists is the warming of hands when you walk through the door, while the texture at the shoulders is the hug of a relative not often seen. The decision of garment versus accessory sometimes depends on my mood and sometimes depends on how much yardage I have acquired!
I think one of the most wonderful things of all is seeing other people knit my patterns. They have modified, chosen their own color, worn it their own way. They have knitted my story and it has become their own—or vice versa. We are storytellers in our own right and our stitches can be our words. We all, even when we feel so alone, are not. I hope that those of you who are reading along know this.
Thank you for taking the time to go on this walk with me! I can talk a lot, I can overshare, but I am so happy to have had this little moment to share with you what goes into a pattern from my end.
Thank you so much, also, to Summer & the absolutely amazing team at Knit Purl, for hosting me!