last friday, when the spring/summer issue of twist collective was launched, i was deep into the opening class day of sock camp and had hardly a moment to talk about our budding apple shawlette design included in the issue.
fortunately, news spreads fast, thanks to our very enthusiastic ravelry group (i love you guys!), as well as excited fans of the dyers involved in the project—spirit trail fiberworks providing neith, kollage yarns providing creamy, and the natural dye studio providing precious and angel 4-ply.
that’s a lotta yarn and we did a lotta knitting to make a sample in each one. why so many?
knitters often write to tell me they appreciate our extensive project photography and how much they enjoy exploring blog links to the wealth of gorgeous yarns available to us. i thought it would be fun to present a pretty, quick-knit project that would translate beautifully in a variety of fibers and colors, with an investment in just a skein or two of yarn (the better to try more of them, my dear!).
and what better time than spring to refresh our senses with a palette of soft colors in luscious non-wool fibers? so i set out in my usual way to create a project that would fit all of those parameters.
first step—you guessed it—swatches.
i worked up several swatches in various sample yarns i had on hand, til i came up with a set i liked in a range of non-wool fiber types, including alpaca, cashmere, silk, cotton, and milk.
i don’t remember when, exactly, i decided on these particular stitch patterns, but the moment i saw them together, i knew that they brought together a bunch of loosely-related ideas i had into one firm idea, which was now about apple trees.
in other words, up until that point, i had a general sense of the feeling i wanted to portray, but seeing the stitches together made apple buds come to mind. and since i was designing for a spring issue, that seemed just right.
the larger pattern for the hem portion is one of many “grapevine” variations; this one is particularly sensual, i think, with its sinuous movement and shading. the tiny eyelet trefoil provides a delicately punctuated field to rest the eyes on, while still keeping the feeling light and lively.
once i had my stitch patterns planned out, i did some preliminary charting and got started on the prototype in kollage creamy, in the cool, fresh canopy green color.
it was a quick knit all right and i was done in no time at all. i did see afterward that a few tweaks were in order—the insertion at the center back didn’t seem right, so i decided to change that
and while i was at it, i refined the placement of the small eyelet pattern as well. luckily, i was able to get more yarn to produce another sample that is knit exactly as the pattern is written—that’s the one you’ll see in the magazine pages, knit by our very dear friend karolyn. the changes are subtle, but they make a difference to me.
the insertion in particular is a lot more in keeping with the design. i hesitated about using it, since i would then be repeating a detail i’d used before, but my gut told me it was better for the design.
once i had the prototype knit and finalized the design, i wrote the pattern up and we got to work on samples to send to the magazine.
these were my secret projects in september and october—above you see it in pure silk precious 4-ply from the natural dye studio, colorway heather and below, the cashmere/silk version in spirit trail neith even traveled to rhinebeck with me, a delicious travel companion.
this soft blue is named chalcedony and is worn by the model on the right in this photo. the yarn is to DIE for, with a lovely density that gives the finished shawl a nice weight. i’m so sorry i didn’t get a modeled shot of it before i sent it off, but time grew short and i was traveling a lot at that point, oy. same goes for the one we knit up in a soft pink color called sugar, from the natural dye studio.
and all that was way back in the fall, before thanksgiving. i didn’t revisit this project for quite a few months, but when the pattern proofs arrived from twist, i took everything out again to take one last look before publication.
as it happened, the fruit trees were just beginning to show their buds as we put those final touches on the pattern and i was wowed by how accurately the stitch patterns mimic the look of their branches, droopy with buds and ready to burst into flower. i couldn’t help but be reminded of the shawl during my seattle stay, just as this issue went live.
one week later, i finally have a chance to sit and write a thoughtful recap of the process of designing this piece and to thank the staff at twist collective for including it in this spring/summer issue.
coincidentally, i’ve been spending some time this week with my friend erica, who is responsible for providing the kollage yarns to knit this project. we landed in dallas fresh from the windswept, rain soaked environs of the pacific northwest to find it balmy and warm here in texas.
so we decided a photo shoot would be in order. while we discussed doing the shoot, she suggested a fun way to celebrate the pattern release—a drawing for a budding apple kit.
kollage will send one lucky winner a budding apple kit, consisting of three skeins of creamy yarn (winner’s choice of color) and two sets of square circular needles to knit the piece. since twist collective has an exclusive license on the pattern, we cannot offer a copy with the kit, but i will be happy to send a twist collective gift certificate to the winner, so they might purchase it.
(this was all erica’s idea, so please be sure to tweet her @kollageyarns to let her know how cool you think she is!)
if winning a kit like this sounds like the bees knees to you, please leave a comment at the end of this post by 5pm EST on sunday, april 10. we will announce the winner on monday.
til then, have a great weekend; i’ll be working at the DFW fiber fest all weekend, so please stop me to say hi if you see me there! we have more treats and surprises coming up next week and i’ll actually have some time off from work to blog as well, so stay tuned.