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Studio Chic Knit Blog

a year of making 2014

Chic Knits Knit Blog
As 2014 draws to a close, one thing was very clear here at Studio Chic: it was the Year of the Sweater!

Now I’ll be the first to admit my love of cardigans exceeds all others and in 2014, once again I could not resist the muse.

Chic Knits Tauriel Knitting Pattern

WINTER STORY 2014: following a slight obsession with one JRR Tolkien and a little movie called The HOBBIT, came a homage to the new elf on the block: one TAURIEL

Since I’ve lived in the Pacific NW, it’s been easy to be more and more drawn to its majestic forestry (and everything outdoors). Thus, my take on a woods-woman’s jacket was born.

From its relaxed, long, side-to-side construction to its subtle celtic cabling, this style tickled my design fancy while trying out some new moves.

Goal: top-down modular styling with no finishing at all except for weaving in some ends (and sewing on a toggly button).

I’ve been living in this sweater – it is comforting with a capital C = Big Fluffy yarn in a relaxed modern shape! :)

Chic Knits Abria Knitting PatternSPRING STORY 2014: as days grew longer and clothing grew lighter, it was time to explore some new fiber combinations and continue evolving the modular muse that was filling up my thoughts.

In mind? A more gossamer fabric with a more elegant shape: and thus came to be ABRIA

This was the one for all of us needing that last missing link to finish a strapless ensemble or even wonderful mom-to-be-dressing!

I had in mind an elegant, open, upswept front treatment – which came into play with the use of strategically placed short-rows. Let me say, if you’ve never had fun with this technique, Try It! Make a cap or scarf to see how easy it is and then come back and play. Short rowing creates a dynamic shape in a fabric in a way an ordinary boring rectangle can never approach.

spacerChic Knits Edin Knitting Pattern
FALL STORY 2014: and that brings us to that season that’s the most wonderful of all!

And here happened something that I didn’t expect – I was ready to step away from my obvious infatuation with the color Oatmeal and jump into the excitement of beautiful blue… (So in love with this tone, I’ve made a cap and currently have a long-long brioche scarf and another sweater on the needles!)

EDIN an aran-weight trapeze-shaped cardigan, continues the elegant modular construction that I’ve been experimenting with all year and combines it with my favorite compound raglan shaping (look close and you can see the “S” in the raglan lines). And again, there’s virtually no finishing – once you’re done, you’re done after a few passes with the weaving-in needle.

The neckband features an eyelet stitch pattern that forms a lacy faux cable effect – ornamental but not bulky – just enough to make it agreeable for pretty office wear, but in a shape that’s also flattering to all of us… And now that I’ve sampled COLOR I want one in the rainbow. How about a sexy deep scarlet or a happy sunny yellow?

What’s next on the needles here in the Studio? Here in Portland, we’re having a little deep-freeze going on and I feel the need for a large wrap-able accessory to mind the gap…

THANK YOU for joining me in all this year’s explorations – one of the best yet!

MUSE: the Power of the Swatch April 17, 2014

knit blog
All day long 24/7 our brains are ingesting cues — into the mix pours a never-ending stream
of everywhere signals…

Putting together a new design takes the commitment to go down all sorts of roads.

The best itinerary is linear; draw, source, swatch, knit, etc. all the way to a modeled finished garment ready for its turn on whatever “runway” universe it is going to live.

This, however, is just like any other trip you take in life. It is never that straight of a shot. There’s always unexpected often third-party interruptions that make the road curve, change direction (or even disappear).

Consider: one of the primary essential functions of knitwear designing is matching a fiber to a style.

Chose one that is too dense and the garment is a one-man walking yurt; chose one that is too loose and drapey and the garment unintentionally goes to live only with the fairies.

And then, there is that quintessential moment: a look and feel that is not only wearable but tells a Story.

Shop any clothing site online and you will find those story categories. It would be odd indeed if all wearables were bunched together in a big closet in the sky and you only had to touch them with your magic wallet to get a match with all of the other pieces you might be putting together to make An Outfit. It takes engagement on your part.

This Outfit is your expression of the Story — where you take coverings for various parts of your body and sync them together to form a functioning whole.

Most often, An Outfit is tied to some kind of event. From your daily office wear to a walk down the aisle, there is going to be a stylized category that goes even deeper that lets you narrow your tale’s focus.

Different fabrics and styles combine together to make the statement that’s appropriate to an intended category.

Few people would wear denim to the prom or another type of touchstone elegant event; more people would wear something shiny, bright and a little more ethereal.

And when we’re knitting, we’re making those same decisions.

from the knit blog at Studio Chic Knits

Ultimately, we’re creating a fabric-centric wearable that has form and function. And here’s where it gets tricky.

Above you see a trio of swatches. One (no names to protect the innocent) is something that I recycled and thought would be perfect for a new prototype lurking on the design board.

It made it through about 1/3 of the way to the destination before it met its terrifying crossroad.

Up on the mannequin, there are no lies.

And even though this was shaping up to be a successful style, it was not making a successful fabric.

So back to the drawing board (or in a knitter’s case, the stash).

Two more similar gauge yarns took their turn on the needles. Only one continued on the journey.

While few would probably say it’s a best-case scenario to take steps back, in practice most often is the best choice. And, at this point, it is not that much of a detour because that huge “swatch #1” was a fine proving ground that doesn’t have to be repeated, but now becomes a canvas to be edited and fine-tuned.

So, I embrace these changes as a fundamental part of the process.

This is a lovely round cul-de-sac not a dead end and that new momentum of having confidence in the fabric being created will boomerang a design straight towards its lovely finish.

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