Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Design's Journey From Concept to Publish.... Jacob's Ladder

Lots of good things have been happening! (some not-so-good things have happened too but such is the way of life!)

First of all, my Jacob's Ladder Sweater for Yarn Forward Magazine has been published in issue number 14. Take a peek...what do you think?Each design that I work on teaches me something new. I really love this sweater!!!! It's something my son has asked me to knit for him.
Long before I ever dreamed of ever designing for publication we were looking at the Vogue Knitting Stitchionary 2 with all the cables in it on day. Of course I was boring the poor child out of his mind but he really like the name of this stitch pattern...."Jacob's Ladder"
So I started swatching and this is what I started out with:

It's a 3 over 3 cable with a bunch of garter stitches in between. I purchased the wool in my son's favorite color (the bright red you see above) and just when I was starting it he decided he didn't like the color any more. I put the swatch away and pretty much forgot about it.

One day in January (this year) I started going through some old swatches and started sketching out a design idea for this particular swatch. It was just begging to be a boy's/men's sweater! I wrote down my notes and put that to the side to work on some other patterns.

Then in the middle of February I found out about a call for submissions for men's sweaters to be published in Yarn Forward.....
well, well, well! I was ready! It felt really good to have something ready.....especially something I've been wanting to knit!
I sent over this and another idea (which will be revealed at a later date....I promise). I was just so excited and giddy when Shannon Okey(YF's editor) said she liked the Jacob's Ladder!!!!! SQUEEEE!
(Why, yes.......I am that famous international knitwear designer. Thank you for asking....Autograph your pattern....of course my dear) Yes, I have a rich fantasy life....moving on

We decided on a summery yarn and I was quite excited to work with Rowan Denim which is a yarn I've wanted to try. I swatched:Now...I encountered a knitting challenge. (I don't call it a problem...it's depressing)
Knitting challenge number one:
The cables were looking a little skinny and my husband said he would never wear that....it's too "funny looking"
Solution: Changed the cables to 4over4
Knitting challenge number two:
I have a history with making mistakes and miscrossing cables and I was on a tight deadline to have this sweater ready.
Keep all the cables crossing the same way.
Knitting challenge number two:
There wasn't enough "crispness" between the cable and ladder
Change the knit stitch into a twisted stitch

All that from just one little swatch!!!!

So now it was time to start writing the pattern.

I blocked the swatch. Let it dry and turned the math involved in pattern writing into a homeschool lesson. (I homeschool my 4 children....in case you didn't know;-)

First we took stitch and row gauge. I taught them how to do it then had each of them measure the swatch and give me stitches/rows per pattern repeat. Since they were all extrememly close we took an average.

Then we decided what size we were going to knit the sample and how many repeats were going to fit into the sample size. It was a fun and practicle homeschool lesson. The kids were happy to help as long as I promised them pizza for lunch.

From there I used yarnstandards.com to help me figure out the rest of the measurements.

I went ahead and started writing up the pattern and knitting up the sweater.

Now there is something that I learned the hard way with my knitting...... My Gauge Changes As I Knit!!!!

It really wasn't until I was knitting on the first sleeve that I realized this. Remember the saying "to save time take time to check gauge"? Well, I should have done just that....
By the time I realized the mistake the deadline was looming so close I knew I didn't have time to re-knit it.

Between all the great advice between Shannon and Alexandra (the fabulous tech editor for Yarn Forward) and all the self-discoveries I've made I learned many things that has helped me develop as a designer.

I thoroughly enjoyed working with this magazine and I really liked the photography.

Well, this is my story on the journey of the Jacob's Ladder sweater. I hope you enjoyed it!