#WIPWednesday: Thoughtful Cable Seeks Perfect Yarn


As I mentioned last week, I am still pretty heavily in “sketch-and-swatch” mode, trying to finalize the remainder of Spring/Summer 2019 designs, and thinking about moving forward into early fall. Somewhat unusually for me, I’m trying to edit a little earlier in the process this year, and really get to a) a sane number of things and b) a really resolved place about each design for this batch of things sooner rather than later. This is mostly for practical reasons: the reality is that I will not be knitting all of these samples myself, because I am not an octopus (sadly?), and I’m trying to prevent “three sweater February” from becoming “three sweater and five accessory May and June” because I failed to appropriately batch when I did which design tasks to enable me to get projects off for sample knitting in a timely manner. Everybody works differently, but I tend to be happiest and sanest from a workflow perspective when I do most of the decision-making up front, and can just enjoy the knitting, so I’m trying to make that happen more of the time.

Currently, I’ve got two Fall 2019 sweaters for third-party publishers that are due the next few months, so I’m putting the finishing touches on grading those patterns and getting them out to sample knitters. I’m still finishing the proposal I was working on last week for a different Fall 2019 collection, so I’ve been working on a couple of sweater ideas and a hat for that one. And I’m working on adding a manageable number of spring/summer garments and accessories to my self-publishing queue: a lightweight pullover for sometime in early summer, and a light-to-medium-weight cardigan for late spring, a rectangular shawl, and an expanded set of samples for a cowl pattern I designed for a retreat earlier this year. There might also be a triangular shawl? But, tbd.

So, what’s the hold up? (Other than that that’s a long list of things?) I’m spending a lot of time trying to find the perfect yarn for these two spring-summer sweaters. I’d like it to be a wool blend, because I’m not great with purely plant-based fibers, nor do I think they’re amazing for the kind of knitting I like to do, and at least one of them wants to be in a fingering weight. So far, we’ve got a lot of choices, right? But neither wants to be variegated (or at least not very), because of the stitch patterning involved, and neither wants to be particularly round and unyielding, because I’d like the fingering weight in particular to be something you could knit on slightly larger needles and get some bloom and fill to the swatch once you’ve blocked it. It needs some texture but not tooooooo much texture, and for structural reasons for these kinds of sweaters, it probably can’t be all or nearly-all super wash merino. I think I’m getting it figured out, but there’s been a lot of back and forth, and a slightly greater percentage of false starts than usual.

Often, because of the nature of how I work with yarn partners, I start with a yarn, and start dreaming up ideas that will work in that yarn. These two projects are a bit more open ended, and there’s some great fun in that, because I’m getting to ask the question about what the perfect thing to use to make the thing is, rather than asking, as I usually do, what the perfect thing-to-be-made-from-the-thing is. It’s a good chance to practice my yarn detective skills, and to try to, once again, stretch my thinking-like-a-fashion-designer muscles to think about the kinds of textiles I’m trying to create for the kinds of garments I want to make and wear.

What are you working on this week? Any yarns catch your eye? Got any suggestions for me?