Posted by: L | May 4, 2009

Nihon Vogue-Knitwear Design Process

I have ~ 2-weeks to the Nihon Vogue weekend session. I’m in a mild panic to get everything done. Deep breathes really are the order of the day and weeks to come. It’s all doable, but it’s a lot.

I’m just casting off Sweater 3. Yea!!! Well at least as much as I can until class. I’m just getting ready to cast on 4. I had to take some time to review the actual draft, my notes, the cable graph, etc.

For sweater #4 my process started with an image in my mind and then lots of sketching. This one had been sitting noodling in my head for quite some time so the normal process of doing a series of sketches (think multiple blocks on a sketch pad with ideas running across and down) did not happen.  I didn’t do as much swatching as I normally do either. One of those lucky design flukes and a library of past swatches helped me know what the fabric needed to be.

For me, the design process either starts from a goal to accomplish a certain look or type of pattern that I want to incorporate into a design or lots of swatching to see how the fiber and textures or combination of both work together. I could swatch for hours it seems. Sweater 5 evolved in this way.

I’ve documented the process of one of my designs from design drafts, notes, swatches, etc. below. The process appears linear, however it’s quite a bit of back and forth in the draft, swatching stages.  Sweater goals for the class-a V Neck, waist shaping (my choice) and set in sleeves.


Step 1: Sketch (final) & notes


Step 2/3: Draft out the silhouette. Tweak idea. Input idea on draft.


Step 2/3: Swatch a cable, stockinette stitch and 1×1 rib swatch. Tweak draft as needed.


Step 4/5: Graph out cable pattern


Step 4/5: Calculate sections of sweater based on swatch results


Step 6: Determine V Neck length and depth


Step 7: Draft sleeve and lay out pattern on sleeve.

Step 8: Cast on. Front and back body at cable. Keep notes.

Step 9: Write up pattern.

Step 10: Draft 1/25th draft in notebook with notes.

On another note, one of my key objectives during our summer break is to buckle down and re-write my notes into categories of Techniques, Formulas and Ratios. I had a light bulb moment this weekend. It means extra time, but I also think it will help me when I need to refer to a technique we worked on months ago.


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