While my design process has become more streamlined with practice, seeing how other people manage the organization end of things can be helpful. In what order does a design develop for different people?
For me, the order in which a design goes from concept to completion is seldom a straight-line course. There is ebb and flow, and gradual refinement toward an inner vision — many steps (sometimes backwards), time, patience — in plain words, work.
This is a brief story of my journey in creating the White Lotus Lace Shawl.
The process started with a request from the yarn company, Colinton Angoras, to design a project with their lace weight Australian kid mohair yarn. We discussed their goals and parameters of such a project, e.g. scope and price point from the knitters point of view (i.e. small quick project vs. a larger showcase piece), difficulty level, additional materials needed such as beads, etc.
After receiving the project yarn, my next step would normally be to make a plain swatch to nail down the yarn’s behavior both during the knitting and the finishing/washing (e.g. range of knitting needle sizes, degree of blooming/halo after washing, etc.). However, I actually had already worked with this yarn several months prior when I made swatches for the TNNA Great Wall of Yarn. I’d made up both plain swatches (which I turned into bunnies for display at the yarn company booths) and patterned swatches (for display on the GWOY itself). This was a lucky break in saving some time now, as I’d kept good notes and photos (which is one of those discipline things that comes with practice, too).
The first trial project swatch was to get a feel for placement of beads and nupps, behavior of the biasing fabric (see those pretty swirly edges?), resulting gauge after blocking, and estimated yardage requirements for total project.
If you have not hear dabout nupps, they are sort of like bobbles but different. I have it on my list of to-do’s to make a video tutorial with tips for making nupps without tears. They really are a lot a fun once you get the hang of it.
The next picture is the swatch I did for testing the side shaping for the eventual truncated triangle shape of the shawl/stole White Lotus Stole design. At this point, I was still undecided how to handle the interior eyelets of the Lotus blossoms, so if you look closely, you will see minor differences.
The final photo is the finished stole. Rather than just knitting a long rectangle, this stole is started at the bottom edge (blocked to about 30”), then increases to a blocked 72” at the top edge. My blocked length was 24”. Of course, you could add or subtract repeats to the pattern and knit longer or shorter based on your preferences and yarn/needle choices.