I learned to knit in my sophomore year of college (somewhere in the mid-90s). After a few years of knitting every stitch through the back loop, as I had been taught, this was pointed out to me by a more experienced knitter and the world changed. Well, at least my knitting did.
Throughout the early 2000s, I clung to every word of every pattern I knit. The concept of altering patterns to flatter me, suit my style, amuse myself, or evince some sort of creativity was foreign to me. I even sought out the exact yarn the pattern called for in fear of choosing the “wrong” yarn.
Little by little, as I cranked out project after project, I realized that I never wore anything I knit! Why? Because it all looked awful on me. I was fairly thin (I didn’t have a kid back then) and none of my measurements were disproportionate to any other but all my sweaters either hung like sacks or accented all the wrong things. Then it dawned on me. I didn’t have to follow the pattern. There were no knitting police looking over my shoulder and telling me I couldn’t change the rate of decreases or knit the hips of one size and the bust of another. Or that I must knit the size that exactly corresponded to my measurements. Ease had been a foreign concept to me and negative ease, even more so. As it turns out, ease is (in my opinion) one of the most important variables when choosing what to knit. Neat.
Lots more and better knitting followed and I began to improvise a few things: a shark costume for a stuffed turtle, a Fendi bag for a doll, a Tricolour cowl neck sweater for another doll. Nothing ground breaking certainly, and I never considered myself a designer. I wasn’t a designer. I was a knitter.
In 2011, I responded to a search for a test knitter. The person doing the searching was Kathleen Lawton-Trask and she was writing a book, Silver Screen Knits, to be released in two volumes. Frequent test knitting turned into pattern tech editing, tech editing turned into copy editing, copy editing turned into … designing? I helped Kathleen rework a skirt design that wasn’t producing the desired shape. Together, we ended up with the Joan Crawford Trumpet Skirt, published in Silver Screen Knits, Volume One. I still didn’t consider myself a designer. Then Kathleen sort of forced my hand and convinced me to design a sweater for Volume Two. Then another. And another. Then she suggested I submit a design to Knitty.com. Sure, why not. Worst case is that it gets rejected and I move on.
It didn’t get rejected.
Guess I’m a designer.
Find me on Ravelry.