Today's post comes to us from Amanda Sheuzger, designer of the dazzling Cypri from our Winter issue (not to mention these lovely mittens, this gorgeous hat, and this striking tank). You can also find it (and more) on her blog, here. Amanda gives us a peek into the designing process, and how rejection can lead to inspiration. Enjoy!
I have been amazed with the wonderful response I have received for my latest design for Twist Collective, Cypri, mainly because it actually began with a rejection letter. A year earlier, I had submitted a design idea for a shawl that didn’t make the cut. I felt strongly about the idea – slip stitch cables on a striped background. They create a strong graphic and are really fun to knit. So I went back to the drawing board and reworked the design.
First, I changed the shape. The original was a top down triangle; this one would be a crescent shape (which is what I would actually prefer to knit for myself.) I liked the idea of lots of detail at the bottom edge, and less detail in the short row shaping portion.
Next I looked at the cable design. The pattern in the original submission was inspired by a traditional twisted-stitch pattern. This design needed something unique, so I began sketching. I started with the idea of a long strand of gems hanging from a chain.
The first sketches (above, left) were okay, but when I turned one upside down, I liked it much better. The design started to fall into place. I refined the shapes and they began to remind me of lady’s slipper orchids (above, right).
The next step was to turn the sketch into something knittable. I lightly sketched the shapes on graph paper, trying to keep in mind the scale and potential gauge. Then I charted the cable symbols right over the sketchy lines. This step involved a lot of erasing as I worked out the cable crossings. I refined it bit more as I knit the swatch. It was finally ready to submit.
The sample I knit for Twist is in Breathless by Shalimar Yarns. It is a superwash merino/cashmere/silk blend that is very soft and creates a fabric with the perfect drape for this shawl. While I love the colors of the sample, byzantium and mole, I want to knit my own in bing and scarab, a purple and teal combo similar my swatch. Or maybe glacier and driftwood, or copper pennies and black truffle. I could go on and on, there are so many colors to choose from.