Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Creativity runs in the family...

My sister-in-law Ann Druce-Hoffman is a talented knitter.

She designed this new pattern for

Keep it up, Ann!

Interview taken from the website:

We recently interviewed Ann Druce-Hoffman, designer of the Ladies Jacquard Vest pattern, about her design process and the pattern itself.

Knit Picks: Can you describe your inspiration for the colorwork motif on the Ladies Jacquard Vest?

Ann Druce-Hoffman: I’ve always loved things with curlicue patterns—twenty years ago, I was doodling intricate spiral patterns all over my high school folders! For this vest, I looked at many examples of both historical and contemporary damask and jacquard fabric, and used Knit Picks designer Kerin Dimeler’s ideas as a starting point. Damask and jacquard motifs are everywhere right now—from fashion to home d├ęcor—so I didn’t have to look far for inspiration!

KP: When you design garments, do you have a particular person in mind who you picture wearing the garment, or is it just about the garment itself?

ADH: I definitely design with the wearer in mind. I’ve found that in knitting colorwork garments, just because you can doesn’t always mean you should! Often it takes a lot of swatching to find the right color combinations and motifs. Personally, I don’t like to knit something unless it will be used.

KP: What were the challenges or surprises you encountered when designing this particular garment?

ADH: Before designing this vest, I always steered clear of colorwork patterns that had yarn floats on the inside of the work that were more than 5 or 6 stitches. Or, I tried to catch the yarn every 5 or 6 stitches, with less than perfect results. When I began swatching my ideas for this design, I was thrilled that the long floats—up to 20 stitches, no less!—worked out fine. They “stuck” on the back just like they should. I feel like a whole new level of colorwork knitting has opened up for me!

KP: What was the best part of designing this vest?

ADH: The best part of designing it was seeing the end result! After trying and rejecting many ideas, it’s very satisfying to see the combination of garment shaping, motif design, and color selection come together successfully.

KP: Do you have any insights as to the body type that might look best in the vest?

ADH: Because the vest has an all-over motif pattern, I think that this vest can look good on all body types. Although the motif is fairly large, it has small components that contribute to the complicated overall look of the vest.

KP: Are there particular features of the way the pattern is written that you think makes it a satisfying knit?

ADH: I enjoy knitting most when it is both challenging and relaxing. I want to be able to watch TV and enjoy the repetitive, physically meditative aspects of knitting, but at the same time I want it to hold my interest and not get boring. Knitting colorwork in the round achieves this goal for me—steeks enable you to enjoy the color pattern emerging, and you can just keep knitting until you get to the top!

KP: What are your favorite things to design and why?

ADH: Not only do I love the process of knitting colorwork designs, but I love the final product. I’ve always been drawn to ethnic textiles, and I love how colorwork knitting can incorporate many different colors and patterns, but bring it all together within the confines of repeated motifs. I love the challenge of finding those colors and motifs that work well together.

KP: Do you knit with Palette in your personal projects? Do you have thoughts on Palette as a colorwork yarn?

ADH: I’m possibly Palette’s biggest fan. I love everything about it! I’ve made beautiful vests for my kids that meet their standards of comfort and also stand up to the rigors of preschool. Palette is also a great sock or hat yarn. Since Palette is inexpensive, it’s fun to be able to buy a bunch of different colors and experiment with new designs. Really, I could gush on and on.


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