Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

You might remember from my introductory post on knit designing that I made reference to a book by well established designer Shannon Oakey called The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design. Well, Shannon just posted on her blog that is accepting sign ups for her online Designer 101 class! The sign up fee is $65 and the class runs for about a month. It looks like its a really great class and a wonderful opportunity to learn from and pick the brain of an accomplished designer. If you’re interested, hop on over to the knitgrrl [virtual] studio to sign up!

Also make sure you check out her TNNA giveaway! She’s giving away a great collection of knitting goodies including a Namaste bag, a collection of HiyaHiya needles, a selection of books and some hand-dyed yarn. Entering is super easy, so go check it out!


As I sat down to plan out what it was that I wanted to design to use the gorgeous yarn that inspired me in my last post, I tried to think about what kind of clothing might be seen in one of Mr. Lambert’s music videos. The first thing that popped into my head was some sort of corset or waist cincher.

This could pass for dragon scales...right?

But the tricky thing I also had to consider was the price of the yarn. I don’t mind paying more for high quality components, but I do want to make sure I can get as much mileage out of the yarn as possible. And that is when I remembered a stitch design I had been looking at just the night before on Knitting on the Net. You see, I also have a design in my head for dragon inspired shawl and was attempting to find a suitable pattern that could resemble dragon scales (more on that design in an upcoming post). For the F.Y.E. design, I thought, I could make the background color black and the diamond patterns in the green and purple Lambert yarn. So I ran with it.

The basic shape and concept for the waist cincher.

The next step was to begin sketching out my design ideas. I quickly doodled out the basic shape for my waist cincher. This design is somewhat reminiscent of another waist scarf pattern that is available for free (and we love free things!) called Bravado. It is a simple yet beautiful scarf that I highly recommend; I’ve been wanting to try it myself for awhile. But where that one is simply a scarf, I wanted this design to be slightly more sophisticated. I got the idea to have the wrap around ends attach via a buckle rather than a tied cord. And of course the shape itself is more a diamond than a triangle.

A breakdown of the design.

Next I started to break down how I was going to have to construct this design. Not having a tape measure on me, a friend of mine directed me to a highly amusing website of ways to measure things without a tape measure or ruler. Turns out an American dollar bill is 6 inches long, so I used it to get a rough idea of my measurements. (I’m sure I looked ridiculous sizing that bill up to my waist!) But I believe that I now have a fair idea of how to go about building my pattern. Looking at what yarns weights are available on Decadent Fiber‘s site, as well as taking a few tips off of the Bravado design, I have decided to go with DK weighted yarns. DK weight is sturdy enough for a belt like garment and yet isn’t too bulky to feel like an inter-tube around my waist!

Matching arm warmers to complete the look!

The waist cincher with the proposed tank top.

I’m extremely excited to start knitting this pattern to see how it comes out. I’m so excited that I actually came up with the idea to design two other articles of clothing to go with the waist cincher! I have envisioned a see through tank top to be worn with the cincher, perhaps in a grey or silver color. In addition to that, I hope to make a set of arm warmers that will be in the same black and green/purple colors of the cincher. I think all together it will make one rockin’ outfit. All it will be missing is a top hat!

My next step is to make a mock up of the design. As I’m still in Scotland and don’t feel like paying overseas shipping costs (and I don’t want to accidentally ruin the yarn), I plan on going out and getting a different, similar weight yarn to make my prototype once I finish the shawl I am currently working on. So stay tuned to see how my very first design turns out!

So did you find the Easter Egg I hid in the last post? For those who missed it, it was a link to a recording of Adam Lambert’s “Down the Rabbit Hole“. I have serious obsession with that man and, not surprisingly, his music was the origins of my inspiration for this design.

Now, I am frequently inspired by music. I have gotten ideas for stories, artwork, costumes, scripts, etc. from listening to the music of some of my favorite bands and singers. In this case, though, this idea came from a combination of both the music and a yarn. I was poking around Ravelry, looking for online yarn stores, when I discovered Decadent Fibers. These guys are amazing! They sell their own blends of yarn, is several different varieties and weights, all of which they hand dye. But the most unique part about them is that they dye all of their yarns to order! So your yarn is dyed specifically for you. (I imagine this helps them out with storage as well!) They have several beautiful, unique colorways to choose from or you can request your own blend of colors if you don’t see what you’re looking for.

From Decadent Yarns: "Adam Lambert "What Do You Want From Me?" an excitingly bizarre, pleasantly likeable charcoal, black and grasshopper."

I am certain these are people after my own heart: not only to they have an amazing variety of beautiful colorways, not only was it their yarn used to design the Dakota Wheat Shawl (one of my favorite shawls from the cover of The Prayer Shawl Companion (See all Knitting Craft Books)), but they have also designed a yarn inspired by Mr. Lambert! I absolutely adore the blend of greens and purples in this yarn. When saw it, I knew that just HAD to make something with this yarn! So I decided to design something specifically for it.

However, because the yarn is on the pricey side (it starts around $30 per skein, but completely understandable for hand dyed to order fiber) I decided I needed a design that wouldn’t use too much yarn, but still show case the gorgeous colors all while keeping true to the edgy glam rock aesthetic that Adam Lambert is known for.

And so, the idea for my design “F.Y.E.” was born! Stay tuned for a peek into how I’ve started designing the construction. Meanwhile, you can keep yourself entertained with this:

Fun! So do I. But I haven’t found a specific website or blog that really covers the design process very well. As such, that was one of my goals with this blog: to track my own design process in hopes that other aspiring designers might find some inspiration. I should state, there are of course lots of books on the subject. I’ve been eyeing Shannon Okey’s The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design myself; its available in hardcopy, PDF, and eReader formats. But as I’m attempting to get started with this craft business venture on a shoe string budget, I’m flying by the seat of my pants for now!

First things first: the basics. If you’re like me, you’ve been knitting for at least a little while now and understand some basic things about knitting, such as the basic stitches, casting on and binding off, and of course, gauging. Hopefully you’ve picked up some basic ideas on how certain garments are constructed.

The easiest way I have found to learn about construction is to simply read through other people’s Ravelry.compatterns. I highly recommend joining Ravelry; this is a community for knitters and crocheters with wonderful tools to organize your yarn stash, your library, as well as a huge pool of premade patterns ready to be cast on! Many you need to purchase, but there are loads of patterns available for free. Knitty is a great webzine that publishes beautiful, free patterns quarterly for all proficiencies of knitters. Looking through these patterns can also give you ideas for your own designs (but please don’t just rip off other people’s patterns!). Another article I have found with some great references on shawl construction is here: Designing Lace Shawls.

I wish my pen was that nice...

Next, I definitely recommend getting your hands on a sketch pad, pencil, and good eraser. Also a measuring tape! If you get an idea for a design, it really helps to draw it out so that you can start to see what kinds of construction details you’re going to need to plan. If you plan on designing any type of close fit clothing, you’ll need to have measurements to make it fit correctly: that’s what the tape measure is for. Having those measurements also helps you get an idea of how many stitches you’ll need to accomplish your effects. Check out this page for more on that concept: eHow: How to Design Knit Patterns.

Something else that will be of immense aid will be a stitch encyclopedia. These are exactly what they sound like: a complication of different types of knitting stitches to achieve different effects. Once again, there are loads of books that you can buy. But for the shoe string budget, the internet always provides! I have been using Knitting on the Net and

Finally, last but most certainly not least, you’ll need some inspiration. Inspiration can come from anywhere! You could be inspired by a certain yarn, another pattern, a certain stitch. You could be inspired by your environment, a poem, a song. Really, the possibilities are endless!

So from here on out, I’ll be tracking each of my own design ideas (what inspired me, how I started designing it, resources I used, etc.) to give other aspiring designers insight into the process. Hopefully, I’ll also be successful with my designs! So stay tuned and follow me down the rabbit hole!

Do you have any recommendations for pages that can help the aspiring designer? Leave a link in the comments!

Welcome to Archer’s Knits and Crafts! Thank you for stopping by!

The blog is a little bare right now, but my goals for this blog is to document my own adventures in knitting and crafting as I endeavor to learn how to design my own projects, tackle challenging and fun patterns by other designers, and just teach myself in general more exciting and new things. It is my hope that this blog can inspire other people in their own crafting and to try something they may not have thought of before.

Knitgrrl 2 by Shannon Oakey

Knitgrrl 2 by Shannon Oakey

A little bit about me: I’ve been knitting for about two years now. I found a beautiful pattern on a great website,, called the Shipwreck Shawl and decided that I wanted to learn how to make it. So I went out, purchased a knitting book designed for younger girls learning to knit called Knitgrrl 2 (See all Children’s Crafts & Hobbies Books) and some yarn, and taught myself how to knit the Full-of-holes scarf pattern contained within.

I’ve recently developed an adoration for lace knitting. I love the challenge as it is very easy for me to get bored with repetitive patterns. My favorite pattern of late has been the Freya Shawl by Renate Haeckler.

My newest challenge I have set for myself, as I mentioned, is to learn to design my own patterns. As I approach the end of my dissertation for my masters, which means I will once again be thrust into the real world of working and bill payments, I have been looking for something that I could make and sell for some extra cash on the side. From my research, it seems patterns sell better than knitted items, though I’m going to try to do both and perhaps some other crafts that I make along the way.

So please join me in my journey into the world of small business and crafting. Life is an adventure and this looks to be a fun new chapter!