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Take your knitting to the next level: Design!

May 21, 2012

Shirley Paden is one of the most knowledgeable knitter/designers I've ever met. She loves garment design and enjoys passing on her skills to the hundreds of students she's worked with.

Cable Coat with Cape Collar by Shirley Paden, from Knitwear Design Workshop     
I was lucky enough to meet Shirley at Interweave Knitting Lab last year, and she's as warm and gracious as I thought she would be. Her fantastic book, Knitwear Design Workshop, is now available in paperback. If you're at all interested in designing or adapting knitwear, this book is crucial for your library.

Here's Shirley to tell you more about Knitwear Design Workshop:

There are few more rewarding experiences in life than making, giving, or receiving a handknitted garment. These garments are worn with pride, diligently cared for, then passed down to succeeding generations as symbols of all that is good in humankind. Every handknitter has connected with this energy and, at the end of the garment construction journey, has made something special and unique.

A review of what has been achieved in handknitting over the last millennium is no less than astounding. We find beautifully made brocade garments, beaded handbags, fine lace wedding veils, and shawls, all worn by the European aristocracy and royalty. We also find wonderfully textured Aran patterns and color knits that are artistic masterpieces. In fact, in the rich history of handknitting, we find the most unexpected range of seemingly infinite possibilities for self-expression.

This wonderful series of accomplishments notwithstanding, most knitters, no matter how experienced, will quite willingly volunteer that many of the finished garments they have spent countless hours making have turned out differently than they had anticipated. The most concentrated area of dissatisfaction is in garment fit. The root of this problem seems to be threefold. It begins with an insufficient understanding of commercial pattern instructions followed by a lack of attention to the details of making a meaningful gauge swatch. These two problems are compounded by a lack of knowledge about how to take proper body and/or garment measurements.

    
Detail of the stitch pattern of the Cable Coat with Cape Collar
The purpose of this book is to explore the various techniques involved in designing handknited garments with a perfect individual fit. It is for handknitters at any level who want to free themselves of commercial patterns and design their own, from traditional garments to stunning works of wearable art. It is for those who want to experiment with garment shaping, those who want to write commercial patterns, and those who simply want to understand or make minor modifications to commercial patterns. The only prerequisites are to be able to add, subtract, multiply, and divide!

You will soon discover that garment design is far easier than you may have thought. The chapters in this book will take you step by step from an initial idea to taking measurements, selecting a pattern stitch, drawing a sketch and schematic, writing knitting instructions, and finishing a garment professionally. Sample step-by-step instructions are given for creating shapes for many silhouette possibilities.

—Shirley Paden, from Knitwear Design Workshop

Knitwear Design Workshop a true workbook, too, with checklists, measuring formulas, size guidelines, and instructions on incorporating any type of design choice. Want to make a boatneck? It's there. Raglan sleeves? Check. Rounded from edges? No problem.

I can't recommend this book highly enough so get your copy of Knitwear Design Workshop today!

Cheers,

P.S. Do you have any garment-design tips? Share them in the comments!


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Knitwear Design Workshop A Comprehensive Guide to Handknits Paperback

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With Knitwear Design Workshop, you'll learn all the tricks of the trade for designing with step-by-step instructions for using measurements, calculations, and schematics.

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Comments

levelin wrote
on May 26, 2012 11:41 PM

Oh good! I am putting this book on my wish list.

I have been writing my own patterns, but what stumps me is how to write them so others can understand them. What notes I write for myself are quite cryptic to say the least. I may make a note saying 72 stitch sock, then just have a graph with a stitch pattern of say, a 12 stitch repeat. Yes, I knit a lot of socks and I have a default pattern pretty much memorized.

intea wrote
on May 23, 2012 7:17 AM

I congratulate Shirley for this design i'ts so gorgeous

on May 21, 2012 7:22 AM

Oh, I think about designing knit skirts and hats with wired brims, patterns I rarely see unless it comes from Annie Modessit. I think I could see an interest in skirts (which could also work as ponchos, maybe hats for the Kentucky Derby and Aussies who live and die by fancy hats at the horse races. At least the designs I have in mind are fairly simple --- no bust darts or arm holes. Just simple in the round increases, at the very least for the hips. Phew.