Aleks Byrd Illustration

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From Vienna to Budapest to Wool

I was excited at the challenge to design an item that could have shop retailer appeal. My knitwear designs up till now have been designed as a patterns that would appeal to a knitter. For me, I think that most of my designs and ideas could work both ways.  Well, my plan is to be able to offer each pattern as a pattern for knitters and hopefully a ready-made (most likely machine knit) version for the non-knitter to buy. Anyway, it gave me an opportunity  to dig through my vast library of photos from my travels to find something that would inspire me. I found myself back in Vienna and Budapest, places with excellent food and gorgeous tiled roofs.

Found Fingless Mittens-3.jpg

I fell in love with the colours and flow of the patterns. They are just striking! Each panel connects to the other with lines flowing into another or overlapping geometric shapes. I was excited to try to translate that into something that could be knit. So I took out some grid paper along with coloured pencils and let me imagination run wild.

Sometimes what you create on paper is amazing but a little daunting or complicated to knit. Well time to try and see what happens. I rarely get something "knit-able" the first time. However, it is nice to not restrict myself with "rules" of row colours and floats when sketching/ starting. It allows for ideas just to be put on paper freely and organically before beginning modifications.

It takes many attempts and modifications to make something work. It also means being willing to compromise- something that is sometimes very difficult for me to accept. This design was certainly a difficult one. I really loved my original sketch/ chart and was hard to let it go when it became clear it was going too be challenging to knit both by hand and machine (too many colours in a row and long floats).  So I took some time away from it, went for some walks in the country and slept on it. Then I was able to come back to it with some solutions. I'm actually quite pleased with how it came out, after much cutting of paper, smoothing pattern joins, and figuring out colour blending stripes. The main challenge was finding a way to keep the chevrons with their changing colours through colour blending stripes. It breaks up the chevron more than I originally had intended, but I think it still works and more importantly it can be knit! The fact that I was using colours that could simulate a gradient helped with the need to use colour blending stripes. I spent time colouring different versions of each half of the pattern, the lower geometric shapes and the upper chevrons, then trying to figure out how they could meet seamlessly with out too much space in between. 

 Yarn is  T  he Little Grey Sheep' s Hampshire 4ply

Yarn is The Little Grey Sheep's Hampshire 4ply

Now that the pattern has been finalized and swatches made its time to actually knitting what it will ultimately become... fingerless gloves!

Found Fingless Mittens-2.jpg