My Design Inspiration: Kate Fisher

Like many knitters, my history with the craft began early in my life. I was seven years old when my friend’s mother was teaching her how to knit. I asked her to teach me, too. I knit a shawl for my doll. I remember that by the time I was done it was dirty, twisted and triangular due to my sweaty little hands, hard work and unintentional tension changes. This was the beginning, and from that point on I was determined, and definitely hooked.

Using raw materials and simple tools to make things that are beautiful and functional has always intrigued me. Creating an object “one stitch at a time” is a powerful experience. As an art therapist, I have sometimes used knitting with my clients. I am pleased that I have passed this magical craft onto hundreds of others, mostly adolescent girls and boys. Knitting has so much to offer, encouraging relaxation, community building, and metaphorical lessons. It is possible to make a mistake, undo it and redo in a better way.

I have always loved any stitched craft. As a mixed media artist I have used my skills to combine materials, colors and textures. In November 1985, I created a large hand bound book and started to document my knitting. This documentation has continued to the present.

I am inspired by beautiful yarn. The fibers, textures and colors of Shibui yarn all draw me in. I love the flexibility that “mixing” the weights of their yarn give to me in my designing process.

My garden, my walks around my neighborhood and my knitting group are all sources of inspiration. My knitted pieces are named after the streets of my city, where I frequently take my walks, collecting sights and found objects.

 

I have been a member of a “tight knit” knitting group for nine years. We share projects, life stories of all kinds, and of course, food. The members of my group have been so supportive of my design work.

Here is a picture of part of the knitting group (Teresa, Phyllis, Ann and me) at the launch party for Black Bird Knits.


When designing for children I consider sweaters that will be comfortable and handsome on my own grandchildren.

I also spend a good deal of my time at The Genesee Center for the Arts working on my fine artwork. Spending time working with a community of artists is of great value to me. This is where I work on my Black Bird prints and my current stitched figure/print work.

I have been designing my knitwear for almost as long as I have been knitting. In recent years I decided to launch Black Bird Knits to see if others would be interested in my designs and related prints. It has been a huge learning process and very satisfying on so many levels, both interpersonally and professionally.

To see more of Kate’s work, visit her website at blackbirdknits.com.

July 25, 2016 by Guest Blogger

My Design Inspiration: Thien-Kieu Lam

 

During the time I lived in Japan, I discovered the work of artist, poet, and calligrapher Mitsuo Aida. He has a very unique style of calligraphy, which breaks from tradition but has a grace and balance of its own. One of my favorite pieces simply states isshô benkyô isshô seishun (一生勉強一生青春), literally “a lifetime of study, a lifetime of youth.” It means that to fully embrace life, such as youth does, the heart and the mind must remain flexible, must be able to continue to learn and grow.


I strongly believe in lifelong learning, and as I am a very curious person, there is always motivation to learn. After Japan, I moved to Washington, D.C., and during my four years there, I was often taking one class or another. Japanese language classes to retain the competency I had worked so hard for. A Korean class, because I fancy myself a pseudo-linguist. Creative nonfiction writing. Piano lessons. And the last class I took there was a beginner’s knitting class. I learned one method of cast on and bind off and how to make knit and purl stitches. Very basic.

Probably like many people, my first project was a garter stitch scarf. It was for my nephew, a baby at the time, and thus small and quick. I was hooked and since then have steadily explored the world of knitting. Being a knitter in this technological age is fantastic – I have continued to acquire new skills and techniques with the help of online videos and tutorials, and by choosing knitting projects that challenge me. 

I have been a maker and an artist all my life, and the evolution from knitter to knitwear designer came naturally – I can’t help but experiment and tinker! I often compare knitting to language. The different types of stitches and techniques are like parts of speech, units that can be rearranged into infinite expressions. Knitting is a type of visual communication, and it fascinates me.

I was asked to discuss my inspiration as a designer, and it’s certainly a word I have used freely and frequently, but upon deeper reflection, I realized that inspiration is too intangible as a concept and a practice. My designs stem from curiosity, something much more concrete and attainable than inspiration. I really love charts (of all kinds – not just knitting!), and sometimes I’ll sit down with graph paper and a pencil and just start drafting. Then I’ll knit a swatch because I want to know how the chart translates into actual fabric. Sometimes I have a good idea of what to expect, and other times I’m in for a surprise. I’ll look at the swatch and ask myself: What do I like about this texture or motif or shape? If I change this one thing, what will happen then? And then I make another swatch.

I do this with existing stitch patterns too. I love stitch dictionaries, and if a pattern really grabs my attention, I’ll swatch it. Then I’ll study it for possible ways of modification. There is a lot of swatching that happens in my design process! In my art practice, I refer to this as prototyping. Modify, create, evaluate. Repeat. And then repeat again.

 

 

Sometimes, there is a particular shape, image, or aesthetic that I want to achieve. In these cases, it’s more like reverse engineering. I have a visual in my head, and I want the piece to have certain qualities. The questions then become: How do I do that? What kind of construction is necessary? What combination of stitches will deliver that effect?


I think what most people think of as “inspiration,” I consider “data collection.” The play of shadows on the ground, the landscape, architectural elements, even a beautifully phrased thought or an intriguing concept or discipline (literary neuroscience, anyone?) – these are all filed away in the conscious and subconscious, and some of them will become the basis for curiosity and exploration. And sometimes, that exploration becomes the basis for creative work.

To quote Elizabeth Gilbert: “For me, a lifetime devoted to creativity is nothing but a scavenger hunt – where each successive clue is another tiny little hit of curiosity. Pick each one up, unfold it, see where it leads you next.” 

I design because I enjoy the process, and I design things that bring me joy. I love making things by hand, and it is deeply satisfying to create things that are both functional and beautiful. Knitting definitely hits all the sweet spots. And I hope that my designs bring others joy too, both in the knitting and the wearing.

Visit Kieu’s website at http://www.thienkieulam.com, where she muses about art, books, and of course, knitting.

 

June 27, 2016 by Guest Blogger

My Design Inspiration: Carol Sunday

Knitting has been a big part of my life since I was a little girl. So has designing sweaters. In fact, by the time I was in high school my wardrobe contained at least a dozen sweaters that I had designed and knitted or crocheted. I also sewed - a lot! - so garment construction and clothing design are things that I've enjoyed for a very long time, although I did them just for my own pleasure until about eight years ago.

That's when I started my own yarn and design business, and one of the things that excited me and spurred me on professionally was color. I love working with color … well, playing with color is really more like it! I had a lot of design ideas incorporating stranded colorwork and stripes, but I couldn't find yarns in the right weight and softness that had the colors I wanted. I am especially fussy about my color palette, and eventually realized that the only way to get the right yarns to suit my designs was to develop my own line of yarns.

The milll I now work with is in Italy, and - very important to me - they share my commitment to ethical, humane and sustainable practices every step of the way. So I have confidence that the yarns I sell are as planet and person friendly as if the sheep were farmed right here in Illinois. Moreover their spinners and dyers are true masters of their craft! I feel really fortunate to have formed such an alliance with people I admire and trust, and have, through that relationship, been able to create the yarns I've always wanted for myself. And I'm so pleased to be able to offer them through Knit Purl to all of you.

Today I'd like to share with you a little of what goes on when I create a new colorway. 

A color gradient is usually where I begin, that is, I'll put together a group colors that range from light to dark or dark to light. They might be all in the same family as far as hue goes, like these blues, although this gradient begins with more of a green blue at the light end and ends with more purplish blues at the deep end.

Then I'll add a second gradient. Adding a neutral range to a more vivid one will actually give more pop to brighter colors as they play off of the neutrals. 

The two gradients can be combined so that one goes from dark to light while the other goes from light to dark. That strategy can be especially effective with stranded work. Or they might both follow the same path value-wise, going from lighter to darker together as they do here. This is an especially nice way to give stripes an ombré effect.

Maybe we'll toss in a third gradient. I like these muted greens. They don't compete with the blues, and are close enough in hue to them that they have the effect of adding width to the range of the colorway.

And now how about a few color complements to give our main colors something to get excited about! 

I think I'll call this new colorway Rides the Wind. It'll be featured in a new wide scarf or shawl and also a new sweater, both coming out this fall.

A color gradient doesn't necessary mean that all the colors in it are in the same family, as far as hue goes. It can span a wide range of hues as long they follow an even sequence of values (light to dark). Here I have a cool gradient that ranges from mustard through yellow greens and blue greens to grape and ending with a deep neutral. And a second gradient - a warm one - that ranges from sand to buff, curry, tomato and berry, and that shares the same deep neutral with the cool gradient.

By arranging these two complementary gradients as a color circle, with the neutral tones at the light and dark ends, the gradient becomes more or less continuous.

This is the color sequence I used in my Milano sweater. Because there are are an odd-number of colors used, the stripe sequence circles around on itself, favoring first the cool gradient, and then the warm one. Fun!

Thank you all, and thanks, Knit Purl, for the opportunity to share a bit of my colorplay process with you. Always happy knitting!

xoxo, Carol.

Visit Carol's website at www.sundayknits.com

All images © Carol Sunday. 

June 13, 2016 by Guest Blogger

Wool People Volume 10

Brooklyn Tweed released Wool People Volume 10 last month and it’s by far my favorite collection to date, from the series. There are plenty of beautiful cable sweaters for both fall and winter, and there are also a few shawls and wraps for the warmer months that I’m readying my needles for. My favorite part of the Wool People series is getting introduced to talented designers that I possibly wouldn’t have found on my own, like Nadia Crétin-Léchenne. I’m not sure how I’ve missed Nadia’s designs before now, but my knitting queue expanded significantly with all her shawls, wraps, and sweaters I must make.

Typically this is the point where I share my top picks of a collection, but this is quite possibly the first time I’ve seen a collection that I want to knit all 15 designs. I’m still going to share three projects that I really like, but keep in mind, I have 10 favorites I want to selfishly knit and 5 favorites I want to knit for others.

 

Loess: Delicate elegance. I love the look of this simple and chic scarf. I’ve never knit a scarf before, but that’s about to change. This scarf would work great as a wrap to throw over bare arms on a cool summer evening or during the fall to fancy up your outfit and keep your neck warm. An easy knitting project that can be picked up and worked on whenever you have a few minutes to spare, but will still keep you intrigued thanks to the openwork and crossed stitches.

 

Oda: Basic and cozy. There is something about this sweater that instantly warms me up. Oda is a simple raglan with large, lush cables, which makes this a great pattern for a beginner knitter that is starting to branch out and try something new. If you are ever looking for the definition of hygge in sweater form, Oda would be it.

 

Rigel: Chunky, dreamy, cables. I’ve repeated this multiple times, but here I go again. I love chunky knits. The grandiose cables on the Rigel coat remind me of a powerful waterfall and really adds to the elegant style of this oversized coat. The impeccable tailoring is front and center and shows how well thought out this statement piece was designed. Rigel will look great in a dark color like Lazulite, and will look equally chic in Gypsum.  

June 03, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

My Design Inspiration: Annie Baker

Being born and raised in Toronto, I suppose that learning to knit could be seen as an act of survival! I love winter…walking with fresh snow crunching under my feet and the crisp air in my lungs. Of course, winters demand great knitwear, so my two loves work well together.

I learned to knit when I was ten. My aunt really threw me into the deep end…my first project was a pair of socks that used four needles! I was hooked! That was more than forty years ago, and now, I knit and design patterns of my own.

It is interesting to learn about what inspires people. What inspired the author of my favorite book, or that song I can’t get out of my head? But it’s hard to really put my finger on what inspires me.

My ideas come from so many places. The name of my blog, JumperCablesKnitting, was born out of my love of Britain. From a nice cuppa to a witty BBC sitcom, there’s not much that I don’t adore from those isles. Their cabled wool jumpers are just beautiful. I love cables and texture, and not just because they keep me warm during long Canadian winters. It is amazing to me how slight variations in stitches can create so many different textural effects.

My other source of inspiration is the yarn itself. I have shelves lined with my favorite yarns. Every yarn has its own personality, in a sense. Its own color, weight, and feel. Many of my designs are inspired by what I think would capture the special qualities of a particular yarn.

It’s important for my designs to be ones that I would like to knit and wear. The process of knitting something has to be enjoyable; it can’t just be about the end product. For me, this means a project that is easily memorized and fairly portable, whether it’s knitting on the deck while my dog plays in the yard, or on a long drive.

The other thing that’s really important to me is to create things that can be worn by anyone. It’s hard enough to find the perfect pair of jeans, so if you’re going to be investing the time and energy to make something from scratch, it should look great!

Lastly, I think about how the garment is going to be used. I’m pretty casual, and my designs can be worn casually, or dressed up. I throw on Calla and Bella a lot as I’m heading out the door. They are quick to put on, which my dog appreciates when he is waiting for his walk.

To see more of Annie's work, visit her Ravelry designer page, and her website.

All photos © Annie Baker.

May 30, 2016 by Guest Blogger

A Few Favorites

 

I always have such trouble picking favorites. Ask me what my favorite food is and I will tell you that I love all food. Ask me what my favorite television show is and I will tell you anything that I can knit to. Ask me what my favorite ice cream is and I will tell you vanilla bean. The last one doesn’t prove my point one bit, but I really wish I had some ice cream right now to help me get through answering the next difficult question. Who is my favorite designer?

How does someone even answer that question? How can I only pick one designer? I can’t even choose ten without remembering another ten that I love just as much. So please bear with me as I try to share a few of my favorite designers. Maybe our readers should be the ones grabbing some ice cream right about now, because this is going to turn out to be a laundry list of favorites.

Power Trio: Norah Gaughan, Julie Hoover, and Michele Wang. If I see a pattern that I like, nine out of ten times it is designed by one of these three magnificent ladies. They are masters of intricate designs that are chic and still have a simplicity to them. Their patterns look like beautiful pieces of art, yet they aren’t overwhelming and still allow the knitter to have the confidence to be able to knit their designs. I’m currently knitting the Beatnik sweater by Norah, Frontenac dress by Julie, and I have Snoqualmie by Michele in my queue.

Little Ones: Pernille Larsen and Paelas Paelas. I get more joy out of knitting things for others than I do for myself and I like the idea of a fast knit. So I thought, why not combine the two and I came up with baby clothing. There are a few people I follow on Ravelry that have been knitting the prettiest baby clothing lately, which is how I found Pernille Larsen and Paelas Paelas. They both make designs that look fun to knit, and would look adorable on any child. I’m obsessed with the Clover tights by Pernille Larsen and the Quick Knit Suit by Paelas Paelas is the cutest little jumpsuit. Both of these designers are quickly becoming a favorite of mine for all things baby.

Rural Femininity: Pam Allen, Annie Rowden, and Carrie Bostick Hoge. I’m not sure what it is about these three designers, but their designs always make me think of a beautiful secluded farm, where I live part time in my imagination. Their designs are feminine and delicate, yet I still feel like I can get things done in them. These ladies are who I flock to when I want to feel beautiful and a little rugged all at once.

Some other staff favorites:
Summer adores Julie Hoover’s sweaters and photography.
Linda enjoys Melanie Berg’s shawls.

May 23, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

My Design Inspiration: Alicia Plummer

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!

April 04, 2016 by Guest Blogger

Northbound Knitting Yarn

Lisa Mutch, the talented mastermind behind Northbound Knitting, specializes in creating striking designs and intriguing hand dyes for fiber and yarn. Lisa’s eye for design is front and center, in the varying textures, subtle asymmetry, and engaging stitches in her patterns. One of my favorite Northbound Knitting patterns is the Fortress Cardigan. The amount of detail in this garment is a perfect example of Lisa’s undeniable talent for design.

Beautiful, moody, lush, and mysterious are a few words that come to mind when I think of Northbound Knitting yarn. Lisa’s choices of fiber and yarn reflect the need for different fabrics, moods and tones: the crispness of Corriedale that crunches through the fingers as you spin; the luxury of cashmere for creating soft waves of fabric or the high energy twist of Merino that adds definition to an array of colours.

Here at Knit Purl, we carry BFL/Silk/Cashmere, a rich and luxurious fingering weight yarn. The soft cashmere, silk, and wool blend paired with the piercing colorways will lure knitters to BFL. Northbound Knitting is most known for the amazing greys that Lisa creates. She is able to take a color that might seem simple to some and add layers upon layers of depth.

 

Metallurgy for instance, is a mixture of light iron greys that are ever so slightly sprinkled with bright bursts of saturated gold and copper. Then there is Monsoon, which contains fantastic concrete greys with gorgeous pops of Mediterranean Sea blue and green. My favorites are Inkblot and Sterling. Inkblot has a clean cream base with smokey charcoal greys that I can’t wait to get my hands on. While Sterling is everything that I enjoy out of simple, chic grey yarn, and would be perfect to use for the Imbue wrap.

Northbound Knitting has mesmerizing colorways, so be warned, once you start knitting with BFL Silk/Cashmere you might lose track of time.

If you haven’t done so already, be sure to read the post from earlier this week on Lisa’s design inspiration.

March 25, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

My Design Inspiration: Lisa Mutch

I truly believe that inspiration is everywhere: in music, food, fashion, nature, my kids artwork, a favourite t­-shirt.... If I ever feel uninspired I just remind myself that it's everywhere and to open my eyes, take a few breaths and breathe it in. Typically my mind is overflowing with so many ideas. I am constantly thinking of knitting and colours.

 

 

It can actually be really difficult for me to keep up and turn my ideas into reality as fast as they come to me. I always have some type of notebook or agenda (I am currently going through a mild Filofax obsession) nearby so I can write ideas down as they come. I keep a notebook on my bed-side table because I do some of my best thinking when I can't sleep at night.

Luckily I live in a beautiful part of Canada and I am fascinated by nature. I get a lot of inspiration from being outside. I love traveling through Northern Ontario and being inspired by the rocks, trees, flowers and even the four distinct seasons we have. I often use these for motivation in my colourways.

 

 

I am known for my love of the colour grey. I know it can be seen as a one directional, simple colour to some, but when I see grey I see it from about eight different angles and with so many layers to it. To me grey is an amazing colour because it can read as a neutral or be the main focus depending on the shades and what you do with it. I am so pleased with my NBK Grey Club. The support and feedback have been outstanding.

But don't get me wrong, I’m also hugely inspired by colour and have repeatable colourways that are as vibrant as it comes. I am constantly saving images online and taking pictures with my phone outside for colour inspiration. I really enjoy combining colours in unconventional ways and the simple act of playing with colour in my studio when I dye skeins inspires a lot of ideas for me. And often, for me, if something has the potential for failure it gets my creativity and heart pumping and I get motivated.

 

 

For example, I was really intimidated to launch my Speckled Yarn Club because I was worried that my speckled yarn wouldn’t be as good as other dyers. There is a lot of beautiful work out there! That intimidation gave me the extra push to go for it, and as I was in the process of nervously speckling my first skeins I realized that my speckles are never going to be like someone else’s. This realization helped me a lot with the ‘speckle­fear’ and made me appreciate the beauty of it. And now I have created some speckled yarn that I am quite pleased with.

What is really special about dyeing yarn is that I can pass on that inspiration to all the wonderful people who praise my yarn. It means so much to hear reviews of people who truly admire my colourways and I am rewarded knowing that I may also have the opportunity to inspire with whatever they choose to knit with it. This is also true of my knitwear designs. I love seeing the yarn people choose for my Yarn & Pattern Kits. Inspiration for my designs runs through me similar to colour except it is a lot less intense. They are similar in the sense that they both consume my thoughts, but I consider shawl design to be a big part of my down time and self­care.

 

 

Every evening when all my dye work is done for the day, I sit down, relax and I knit. It's a free­flow experience for me, like a brain dump on needles. I will often grab some yarn along with an idea in my head and simply cast on and let it flow out of me. Sometimes I'm so relaxed about it, I forget to make note of an important design element or pattern instruction!

Currently, I have two new shawl ideas, a couple of summery­, light shawl designs and an entire Fall bulky weight accessory collection in the works, in addition to all of the ongoing colourway ideas. It’s definitely a never-ending process.

I have to say, I absolutely love what I do, so that on its own is a source of inspiration for me. I can't imagine my life without NBK. Yarn dyeing and knitwear design are making the best use of my skills and creativity all while making me a very happy and appreciative member of the knitting community. I feel extremely lucky.

 

 

To see more of Lisa's yarns and patterns, please visit her website at www.northboundknitting.com.

All images © Lisa Mutch. 

March 21, 2016 by Guest Blogger

My Design Inspiration: Melanie Berg

We're big fans of German designer Melanie Berg here at Knit Purl. We've featured her patterns in numerous kits, and are always excited when she comes out with a new pattern—her designs are so beautiful. So we were thrilled to be able to offer a series of workshops with her in early February. She was able to take some time out of her busy schedule to share some of her design and inspiration process with us, before coming in to teach in person.

Hello, dear readers of the Knit Purl blog! Melanie Berg here. We thought with my upcoming workshops at Knit Purl, it would be nice to introduce myself and to tell you a little about my work and inspiration.

I'm a knitwear designer from Bonn, Germany, and I live together with my husband and three little kids in a house that's well filled with yarn, knitting needles, and all kinds of crafty books.

One of the questions I get asked a lot is where I draw my inspiration from, so let me tell you a bit about this.

I love starting to think about a new project with a concrete yarn in mind already. There's nothing better than having the yarn at hand, being able to look at it, to touch and smell it, and to enjoy its colors in crisp sunlight. What I often do is put some skeins of yarn into a nice, bright bowl and place it at some prominent spot in our living room—that way, I walk past it several times a day, giving this new project a lot of time to grow into a concrete idea. And some projects need time to develop, you know?

Time is an important factor anyway. Sometimes I need a little pressure, like an approaching deadline, to kick me off on a project, but sometimes it's just wonderful to have the opportunity to freely decide about the perfect point of time for casting on. Will it be today, or in a year? The good thing about yarn is it can't run away!

Do you have a paper notebook you use for writing down everything you want to keep in mind? I have one for everything knitting related! Sometimes, when I have some spare moments, I get my notebook (or rather let's say, one of them, as there are many!) out and start sketching down some ideas. Sometimes I'll just doodle away! And sometimes I don't come up with anything useful—that happens, too!

What's definitely helpful is to have a box of art supplies at hand to help you color your ideas. It might be watercolors, pencils or markers—anything that you find easy to work with and that you like playing around with. And don't be afraid of drawing poorly or “making mistakes”—there are no mistakes in painting! If you're open to allow for the “creative mess” to happen, that's when inspiration is at its best.

So, I really like to re-visit these notebooks from time to time, to skim through and look at old ideas with a fresh mind. Sometimes I discover ideas I had discarded earlier.

And I love looking at fashion! I find it fascinating to see what's hot in Haute Couture, or what people wear on the street. This is a never-ending source of elation for me and it gets my mind working. What else could you do with a certain textured fabric? The colors on this coat go so well together—wouldn't they work for a shawl, too? And look at this fit —I wonder if I could transform this into a hand-knit garment....

So, to bring this to a close and to motivate you to discover and dive into your own ideas: As in any art, there is no right and no wrong in knitting. Anything is allowed, and it's wonderful to have the opportunity to play with yarn and to experiment with it. Don't be afraid to go and try things out. Make a lot of swatches and get a feeling for how a certain yarn behaves!

After all, the very worst thing that can possibly happen is that you don't like the result. And in this case, you can always start over. :)

_____________________________________________________________________ 

Thank you so much, Melanie! We can't wait to meet you in person next month!

For more of her inspiring words and images, check out her blog and Instagram.

 

All images © Melanie Berg

January 18, 2016 by Guest Blogger