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Knitscene Designer Melissa Wehrle at Knitty City

Sep 15, 2009

For the Fall issue of Knitscene, we asked Melissa Wehrle to create an exclusive design collection. Melissa's clean-lined, wearable, and yet intriguing-to-knit designs are a great fit for Knitscene, and for this collection she came up with four really lovely sweaters—two pullovers, a cardigan, and a vest. Check them out here.

After the issue was released, the folks at Manhattan yarn shop Knitty City asked Melissa, a New Yorker herself, to give a talk about the collection. The event happened last week, and to give the rest of the world a peek, Melissa offered to write about the event for today's blog post. Enjoy!

Last Thursday, in connection with my recent feature in Knitscene, I did my first event as a knitwear designer. Being more than a little bit nervous, and not quite knowing what to expect, I found out something amazing happens when you are talking about something you love—the nervousness just disappears. It also helps when your audience is such a pleasant group of knitters.

I opened our talk by speaking about how I learned how to knit, and spoke about my education in knitwear design at the Fashion Institute of Technology. I also discussed how the handknitting world is so much different than my full-time job in the fashion industry. I talked about the design process behind the collection I did for Knitscene. Having the samples with me in person, I was able to point out all of the little details that make the sweaters special. Even though I had written about the details in the sweater descriptions, as they say, "a picture (or an actual sweater) is worth a thousand words!" I was also able to explain in a little more detail why I chose the yarn and the colors I did, and how I added certain design elements based on which yarn I had used. We discussed some behind-the-scenes things, like how it takes a little over a half of a year from sketch to final samples, to the magazine finally hitting the newsstands and yarn shops!

 

Before and after the presentation, it was fun to see the interaction between the knitters and the samples, and listen to the comments and questions they had about each one. One knitter was even brave enough to try on the Balmoral Vest during the presentation. Once it went from the hanger to the living person, the sweater came alive. We discussed how the scarf could be worn in different ways—hanging down, wrapped several times, wrapped once, or knotted, or or...!

 

Doing this collection for Knitscene has probably been one of the most challenging and intense projects I have been privileged to work on to date. But all the hard work was certainly worth it. From having creative control over selection of yarn and colors, to seeing the designs come to life in the magazine, to the wonderful response and personal messages I received from knitters all around the country, and even the world—I feel so very lucky to be part of such a supportive knitting community!

 

 Thanks to Aryn and Kimberly for taking these pics!

If you'd like to see more of Melissa's work, check out her blog at http://neoknits.blogspot.com/  Melissa's work can also be found in recent issues of Interweave Knits.


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KathyB@82 wrote
on Oct 24, 2010 11:03 AM

Melissa, I am interested in making the berkshire dolman sweater from the Knitscene fall special issue. Will need to enlarge it.  Thought I would at 8 to 10 stitches to front and to the back.  Any ideas?   kathyb