Recently I worked on a project that drew on my technical knitting skills and my knowledge of garment construction and pattern writing in new ways.
I was put in touch with Elly Arif, an MA designer at the London College of Fashion preparing for her final show. Elly was creating a menswear collection that drew on ideas emerging from the London riots and concepts of hierarchy for which she wanted over-sized knitwear. The challenge was that she wanted the pieces to have distortions so that they could be draped, pulled and pieces of the garment overlap.
So off I set with a bundle of sample yarns - all cotton - to experiment and produce a selection of bulgy swatches for Elly to look at.
For distortions where the curve ran vertically I used increases and decreases but the more horizontal/pouchy one's required short row shaping and developing an understanding of how different curves behaved in the chosen yarns.
Once I'd come up with some basic shapes and techniques that gave the effects Elly wanted, she provided me with sketches and measurements to work from.
Sketches like this were my "patterns". From my swatches I worked out the stitch and row counts, etc to work to the measurements of Elly's pattern toiles and then used what I'd learnt from the tests to reproduce the distortions from the sketches.
It was an interesting process but not as arduous as it sounds. Because I had come up with methods for the distortions I was able to adapt them to different sizes and even create asymmetric curves as I went.
Once I'd worked out the basic processes, I created a basic jumper pattern for the main yarn for the collection, so other knitters could come on board although I created four pieces including a jacket with a curved hem an asymmetric front closure.
But until I received the show photos here I never saw the final effect because I deliver the pieces ready to make up and I was out of the country for the show. But now I can share here as my first foray into the world of the catwalk (well since I was a v little girl modelling a party dress at a local fashion show...).