#needleworkmonday | Design Note Book | Chloe Thurlow | Erika Knight
Creative Ideas for Designing
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the stages of the design process.
I belong to Rowan Connect, where I found some of these ideas. Rowan Connect runs two day online events through the year with a combination of talks, interviews, workshops and drop-ins. They also have one-off events, like a virtual tour of this exhibition on 16 February 2023:
Another network is through the Fleece to Fashion website at the University of Glasgow. I went to a good online conference there last year (also in September).
The second designer, Erika Knight, was featured in the Fruity Knitting podcast:
Each episode features an interview with professional designer or yarn producer. It's a long format interview, so you really get to meet the peopl behind the knitting [designs] and patterns you love.
The podcasts are very informative and inspirational and I've learned a lot about different designers from there. It was especially interesting to listen to Erika Knight and hear about her long experience and her ideas about sustainability and making responsible choices as a designer.
images accessed 27 January 2023
This was another seminar at the Rowan Connect online event in January, this time focusing on the design process of Chloe Thurlow (Chloe also featured in this post). This time, Chloe took us through the process for two themes she had designed: one for Rowan Magazine and the other for a stand-alone publication. Daydreamer, which featured eight new colours in the Pure Wool Superwash Worsted yarn range.
Theme: Joy! Rowan Magazine No 71
Chloe's original story board for the theme with her inspiration photographs. I loved the way she had pulled out the colours on the right hand side (and the colours she had chosen). This is the kind of thing I am hoping to learn how to produce through Procreate, my entry for the Bucket List Challenge.
From the initial inspiration, Chloe suggests starting a research journal where you start to explore ideas in more depth, noting different aspects of images that appeal to you. Chloe is very inspired by films and music. She also loves the 60s.
Part of the process deciding on a silhouette for an individual design - here you can see Chloe's love of the 60s coming into play.
Then the process of identifying design elements from inspiration images and using them to suggest different scales and orientation for patterns.
Here are the final items that were chosen for the magazine with the lovely shades of terracotta. I like the way the setting and lighting reflect Chloe's original story board.
Daydreamer Garment and Home Collection
The inspirational story board for the Daydreamer collection. This time the story is reflected in the words and the colours of the words along the bottom of the image. I liked the rich sumptuous colours and textures of this story board. It was designed during lockdown when everyone was working from home. At the time, Chloe had just moved to a new home near to her new job. All of these factors influenced her thoughts and designs.
These are the original drawings for the collection. Chloe was working with a specific yarn and colour palette. These were new colours to the range, one which can be machine-washed on a gentle cycle.
This was an interesting design idea: cut lots of strips of paper, different thicknesses and sizes and colours, and play with arranging them until you find a design that pleases you. Chloe had a square cut out template that she placed over the strips to review the design. When you have something you like, you can photograph it or record it in some other way.
Another cut out template, this time of the garment silhouette and trying different sized stripes.
The start of the design for a cushion, using squares and stripes.
Next steps: trying out the design in a knitted sample. The colours were changed slightly for the finished item, to use more of the orange colour (which was otherwise an expensive single stripe of duplicate stitch embroidery).
The colour palette for the Daydreamer collection. All of them are featured in the striped throw.
The finished collection looking as rich and sumptuous as the original story board. You can see the finished cushion design with its final colourway in the top row, second from right. As it was lockdown, the collection was photographed in Chloe's home - and she was the model!
I watched a fabulous video of Erika Knight and her daughter and collaborator, Arabella Harris, talking about Pebble Island yarn - the first fully traceable yarn. It comes from one flock of between 6,000 and 7,000 sheep on Pebble Island in the Falklands Archipelago. The flock is raised sustainably, the sheep grazing on grass, low vegetation and seaweed. They are hand-sheared and are not mulesed, a cruel practice of animal husbandry. Rowan has brought the entire clipping to produce the Pebble Island range; the natural wool is very white and very soft.
I love the colours in the range: slightly eroded, like the sorts of bleaching of colours that you get in coastal areas from the combination of sun, sea and wind. There are ten colours in the range, inspired by the flora and fauna of Pebble Island, which includes a penguin sanctuary. I was seduced into buying one of each colour after watching the video.
City Country Coast Collection
Images from fruity knitting podcast ep. 129 accessed 30 January 2023
Some of the inspirations and samples for Texture, a book of knitting patterns by Erika Knight, drawing on colours, patterns, textures in rural and urban landscapes.
These samples especially appealed to me - the worn away colours and textures, the little wrap with the muted colour palette.
The Collection of garments drawing on the patterns and colours of the inspiration pieces.
Creating Designs using Samples and Scraps
Images from fruity knitting podcast ep. 129 accessed 30 January 2023
This was a really interesting part of the podcast, where Erika showed one of the techniques she uses in workshops to encourage creative design using samples and scraps. Some of the samples are photocopied, so you can have repeats. The houndstooth check on the dummy is fabric and the knitted sample is playing with scale, recreating the houndstooth in a much larger size. Erika recommends trying samples on a dummy (or a real person) to see how the pattern falls on a body - you want to adjust the layout with some patterns.
Knitted intarsia motifs and fair isle samples are introduced to try out pattern designs and inspire new creative ideas and journeys. She discussed the idea of visible mistakes and whether to leave them or not and suggested that "mistakes" might prompt new creative directions. Many of her designs may appear unfinished with loose ends, exposed seams and asymmetric designs (and lots of pockets). She uses embroidery to embellish knitting and emphasise mark making.