Amanda Furlan: Inspirations of a First-Time Designer

A note from Sandi:

This week, we have two new knitting goodies to celebrate: the book Inspired to Knit by Michele Rose Orne, and the new Fall 2008 issue of Knitscene magazine. I thought it might be interesting to ask three Knitscene designers what had inspired them to design and knit their pieces for this issue.

Today, our guest poster is Amanda Furlan, designer of the Dirndl Raglan:

Originally, the Dirndl Raglan was intended to be a cardigan!  While I was knitting the original, I was also in the midst of planning a trip to Munich, Germany for my masters program.  I think all the excitement came through in the designing of this sweater that mimics the traditional blouses worn by Bavarian women as part of the dirndl. While it is not a direct translation of the drindl dresses, it is my interpretation of how the blouses might look as a sweater.  The sweater, trimmed in a cabled-lace, has slightly puffed three-quarter length sleeves, a square neck, and simple, classic design that I hope brings a little bit of Oktoberfest to everyone as it could be worn in the fall during the festival.

The sweater is knit from the top down with yarn-overs along the raglan sleeves and would be great for someone wanting to dabble for the first time in cables and lace. The use of the lace and cables as ribbing hugs the body in a way that gives the sweater a more fitted look without needing to do any other shaping. 

The Mission Falls 1824 Superwash yarn was a dream with which to work! It knits up beautifully and shows off the details of the cable and lace work.  The drape is also wonderful! Through out the entire knitting of the sample, I gushed to other knitters about how great this yarn is. The bonus is that the yarn is machine washable and keeps its shape perfectly when washed in the machine.

I am a first time designer, and love classic clean lines for garments.  I’ve been knitting for about 5 years, and I knit top-down quite often because I can wear the garment so much quicker after I finish knitting!  When I am not knitting, I am hanging out with my pug, Yoda, or visiting the big city of Chicago with friends.  I blog about our antics at Purls and Pugs ( 

View the Fall 2008 Preview of Knitscene magazine!

What inspires you to knit?
Do you ever get "stuck" in your knitting? Or perhaps you have wondered how designers come up with so many fabulous ideas in their knitting? Michele Rose Orne, a long-time knitwear designer, takes us on a journey through creativity, inspiration, and the birth and development of design from idea to garment in her new book, Inspired to Knit. Follow the link to read an excerpt, order the book, or to join a creative bunch of folks working on a Mood Board Project inspired by Michele's book.

We want to know what inspires your knitting!
Leave a comment and share your inspiration with all of us.

Other Things You May Like to Check Out:


Knitting Daily Blog

7 thoughts on “Amanda Furlan: Inspirations of a First-Time Designer

  1. sometime it’s yarn – sometimes it’s colour, This weekend it was the LYS’ annual sale, and the Hanne Falkenburg (sp?) Mermaid kit. Actually, “inspiration” doesn’t often enter into the question – usually it’s “compulsion”: I MUST have something – several somethings – in progress

    Jenni In Edmonton – who knit last week even if it was at or above 30 degrees Celsius (mid to high 90’s F)

  2. Inspiration comes in all forms. Often it’s a pattern I come across -in a book, magazine or online – and which I use as a starting point towards my finished project. Usually it’s some yarn that seems to call out to me to make it into something. I rarely buy both a pattern and yarn with the intention of making a specific something. I rarely knit a pattern exactly as written. I have done so, just to prove to myself that I am able to follow someone else’s pattern to the letter. It’s MUCH more fun to play with the pattern and change bits and pieces to suit myself!

  3. My inspiration comes from many sources. It may come from from new fabric lines (I work in a quilt shop), or a quilt pattern. Often it comes from the yarn itself – what would make the most out of it? Sometimes I get inspiration from a person and their personality. Nature is also a strong influence.

  4. Yarn, color & shape inspire me. I love to collect a single color yarn in as many textures as I can find. Then I look for an interesting pattern that can be adapted to using multiple yarns. Jackets & cardigans are what I most like to knit. Clean modern shapes work best. I admire and envy those who are able to come up with original designs.

  5. When I want to knit but don’t want to work on a project I have going I dump my yarn out of its crates and boxes onto the bed and sit in the pile and look at the colors and feel the textures until something comes to me. I usually try to speed the process up by flipping through books and magazines and modify what I see a little.

  6. Brenda Rz, PA

    When I see a pattern with a new challenge that I haven’t tried before. I love knitting socks and am now trying a pair with a lacy pattern.

  7. I started knitting (again) about a year ago when I decided to give up smoking. And it worked (yea). Anyway, now what inspires me is usually looking at something and thinking, I want to try that. Love things in soft fuzzy yarns. Sometimes I take a couple of things from patterns and work them together to make something I want. Love to knit handbags and clutches.