Archive for May 2007

A few of you asked what is expected of a submission, so I thought I’d share an old one to illustrate. You don’t have to do it this way, but I found this pretty effective in the past.

Although one sketch is sufficient, I find it helpful to see a rendition of a flat garment as well as on a body. Nobody needs to be an artist here – many fashion designers use what is called a ‘croquis’, and trace an existing drawing or schematic which they can ‘dress’ afterwards (see the link below). If drawing is particularly difficult, a schematic with some details drawn in is very helpful in communicating ideas across.

I should add that although some don’t mind pages from magazines, I really don’t like them at all.

The swatch should incorporate a design detail or two. It doesn’t really matter which, but it’s nice to see how shaping (for example) will be incorporated into the design.

When it comes to the text, I prefer describing the garment over waxing allegorically about the inspiration. Take a look at the back of a sewing pattern to see what I mean – they use standard terms such as ‘close fitted’, loose fitting’ and these mean very specific things. It’s fine to talk about the inspiration, but do make sure that your garment is to be constructed is very clear.

Don’t forget to mention what yarn you used in your swatch and which needles. Adding the proposed finished sizes is a nice touch and a detailed schematic is even better.

I hope that was helpful. Feel free to add a note in the comments if you have additional questions or if there’s something I can clear up.

Professional-looking fashion sketches (Threads #105, February/March 2003)

Back of a sewing pattern envelope
(scroll down)

Ease chart on Vogue Patterns’ Tech Center.

I can’t think straight today. Ever have one of those days when you’re so out of it, writing the simplest sentence takes all your focus? Honestly, I’ve been staring at this screen gap mouthed for the past 5 minutes…

I’ll make an effort to make a bit of sense, now.

So. I really wanted to show off the shoulder for the Notre Dame de Grace pullover. I had a bit of fun with it, because I meant for the NDG sweater to be a simple, casual sweater and so decided to use an exposed three needle bind off. I worked a couple of short rows, not bothering to hide the wrap since it was garter stitch. It looked pretty, so those stitches went and parked on their holder.

I moved on to the other side. It looked fine, but it didn’t match (I just realized that I could just take a picture of the wrong side instead of launching into a boring explanation of how it looked. See? Totally spaced out.). Thankfully, I was a little more quick witted that day and was able to match the shoulders.

I find things like that so satisfying. It was the same with sewing – matching the pattern at the seams was always thrilling.

Incidentally, this swatch was knit in Cabana instead of Andean Alpaca Regal and the gauge is spot on. Just in case anybody out there questions the sanity of an alpaca sweater in a summer issue…

My birthday’s coming up, but since I’ll miss it on account of TNNA, Mars and princess surprised me last weekend with an impromptu party and a new camera. Princess inherited the old one and here’s one of her first portraits. Isn’t it fab? She’s only 10.

I am so proud of her.


Get your needles out: JCA is looking for spring/summer designs for the upcoming 2008 season. The deadline is June 15th and we’re looking for garments and accessories for men, women and children. We’d love to see some crochet, too.

Interested? Drop me a comment and I’ll email you the mailing address.

Since there is an unprecedented amount of viewers here today (thanks to Stephanie – can I take you up on that beer if I end up in T.O.?), I think it’s a good time to talk about binding off.

Some knitters know and use oodles of techniques for casting on and binding off (Montse Stanley list 40 COs and 19 BOs on her Knitter’s Handbook), but I only use a few on a regular basis. Like just about everybody, I use the long tail cast on the most. However, I only ever use the chain bind off on edges which will be invisible (shoulders, back neck, etc…) For visible edges, I mostly use a sewn bind off which emulates the long tail cast one: it looks better (IMHO) and is more flexible that the chain BO.

For some reason, I thought that I learned this from Ms. Stanley, and that’s what I told Stephanie. Turns out that this is not so – Knitter’s Handbook shows the right to left method while I usually work from left to right.Today, I’ll demonstrate the latter and will save the former for another day.

As a side note: Montse Stanley calls this the ‘Stem Stitch Bind Off’ and I’ve also seen this technique referred to as ‘cast on cast off’ and ‘sewn bind off’. I find this confusing, so will refer to it as ‘Long tail Bind Off’ from now on).

Moving on…

First things first: whether I’m casting on or binding off, I measure the long tail by wrapping the yarn around my needle about 10 times, then doubling the yarn until the number of stitches have been approximated. I then add a few inches for weaving in (if this was a garment piece and I was casting on, I’d also add enough to sew up one side).

Thread the yarn thought a tapestry needle and insert into the second stitch from the front.

Insert into the first stitch from the back…

… and drop the first stitch off the needle.

Continue as such until all the stitches have been bound off.

Stay tuned for the right to left method!

The cover’s finally on Amazon!

I’ve been a fan of Lucy Neatby’s work for years and I’m more than a little star struck around her. Last month, she came to Montreal to teach a workshop and while I couldn’t attend, we did spend a day gallery and yarn store hopping. She also agreed to answer a bunch of questions…

1. Childhood ambition?
I do distinctly remember at the age of 8 or 10 being very desirous of being a boy! I’m not sure it was what could truely be described as an ambition though. As a teenager I hoped to take part in the Whitbread Round the World Yacht race, now I’d settle for the opportunity to cruise around the world under sail, no point in rushing, you’d miss all the interesting bits.

2. Best/worst weather (choose one)?
I love ‘bad’ weather. (Probably an essential requirement for a Nova Scotian resident.) I absolutely enjoyed our record breaking snow storm a couple of years ago. I like to ‘pull up the drawbridge’, suspend normal life and hunker down at home. But this kind of weather is so much fun when stuck at an airport. High winds and gales always make feel glad not to be at sea on such a night.

3. Favorite food?
Only one? That’s tough. I’d don’t like rhubarb or baked beans (especially together) but anything else is fine with me. I incline to ethnic foods if I had to narrow it down but my mother’s steak and kidney pies and puddings were always a treat.

4. Current book?
Narrow Dog to Carcassonne, a travel journal of the trials of taking a whippet on a barge across the English Channel and through the French canal system.

5. Guilty pleasure?
I have to admit to a weakness for four suit Spider solitaire and lately Sudoku puzzles. Total time wasters but they seem to soothe the brain!

6. One quirk?
Me? I’m quite normal…I do adore colour, clothes and shoes designed for children seem to appeal to me than grown up things!

7. Something you’ve never done that most people have:
I’ve never owned or lived with a dog.

8. Favorite drink:
Tea, black China teas by preference.

9. oddest job you’ve had:
Directing shipping traffic in the English Channel from a redundant trawler. This was roughly like standing in the middle of the 401 highway waving a flag.
We had to make VHF radio contact with each ship and if they didn’t respond we would have to attract their attention with white explosive flare, that usually provoked a speedy response.

10. last song you listened to (on purpose, not on the radio)
Joel Plaskett Emergency, Nowhere With You. I’ve been on quite a music kick since I discovered Ipods.

11. cities/towns/villages you’ve lived in, in chronological order:
Runcton, W.Sussex, UK
Rudgeway, Glocestershire, UK
Compton Dando, Somerset
Aldershot, Hampshire, UK
Emsworth, W. Sussex, UK
The Wirral, Birkenhead, Merseyside, UK
Haverfordwest, Dyfed, Wales
Dartmouth, NS, Canada

12. Teenage ambition?
See #1

13. Movie you’d most like to be a character in:
Harry Potter… Mrs. Weasley or a professor at Hogwarts.

More Lucy

Her website, where one can not only obtain yarn custom dyed to Lucy’s specifications and her fantastic patterns, but also her dvds; I recommend these highly whether or not you’ve had the opportunity to attend one of her workshops, and for all skill levels. Oh, and don’t forget the books!

For those who seek instant gratification, her patterns are also available for download on The Knitting Vault.