Feb 18, 2007

Welcome to the Create-Along

I have always been a pretty crappy knit-alonger. I like the idea of the knit-along in theory. I love the community experience, and I value the knowledge that knitters are able to share when we make something together. It's the practice of the knit-along that gets me. I love to see cool variations of a project, but by the time I get around to knitting myself, I've seen the piece everywhere and lose interest, even if it is wonderful.

A swatch of stitch patterns for one of my designs.

I long to find blogs showcasing new and original pieces, and to find knitters who create projects that I haven't seen before or that put an interesting twist on a well-known theme. I came up with the idea of the create along (CAL) in the hopes that I could have the best of all worlds - the community spirit and shared wisdom and the originality.

The create along was also inspired by my desire to draw more people into designing. I think that a lot of knitters are intimidated by design if they haven't attempted it before. But the fact is you don't have to start by making a fitted sweater with set-in sleeves. If design intimidates you, you can start small. Play with a stitch pattern and see where it leads. You may start with a rectangular wrap or a baby sweater with minimal shaping. Begin inside your comfort zone and then move out as you feel more confident.

Remember that you don't have to re-invent the wheel. A lot of what designers do is to simply combine elements that they see elsewhere and like. They find a stitch pattern that works well with a particular yarn and apply it to a silhouette, adding details - perhaps a notched collar, or bell sleeves. All of these things have been done before, the designer simply has the vision to put them together.

My "studio" at Chez W. last year and the just ducky pillow plans.

Being the geeks that we are, Marnie and I get together and talk about knitwear design ad nauseum. Between the spin-outs, road trips, and slumber parties (aka "business trips to LA"), we have had a lot of opportunity to discuss process together. I am always amazed by the different ways that we choose to attack the same problems, and the ways in which our initial creative processes meet and diverge. I've learned a lot in the course of our knit blab sessions, and I find the process of design an ever-fascinating topic. So fascinating, in fact, that I think it's worth having an entire blog about.

So here's the idea: we'll take five yarns (yarns which Marnie and I happen to have in our stashes - yay! - stash-busting!) and see what our group of Create-Alongers can do with them. The yarns, and our plans to design something original are the common thread, much as the design itself is in the usual knit-along.

Here are the rules:

1. You must use Classic Elite Premiere, Rowan Calmer, Rowan Denim, Tahki Cotton Classic, or Rowan Kidsilk Haze as the main yarn in your design. It is fine to go outside these choices for accents, but one of these yarns should be the main ingredient.

2. Design something original. It can be anything you want - simple, complex, garment, decor, art, whatever.

3. Write about your creative process. This can be your thought process, the actual knitting, mistakes, accidental triumphs, brilliant problem-solving, etc. Feel free to pose questions that others can answer in the comments or give us a little tutorial on a technique or discuss a source of inspiration. As long as it's related to your process (or someone else's), it's fair game. Please keep it to process, though. It's fine to introduce yourself, but please do it in a post with knitting content.

4. Create as many FO's as you like from as many yarns as you want to use on the list.

5. Start now! We'll most likely run from now until September-ish. We'll see how it goes.

Marnie and I will try to get everyone's creative juices flowing early on with posts on our projects and processes. I will be starting with Classic Elite Premiere, and she's kicking it off with Rowan Calmer. To join, e-mail us at create along (at) gmail dot com with the subject line JOIN and we'll send you an invite to the blog, so that you can post.

Go team Premiere!


Lauren said...

Interesting yarn choices...

--Deb said...

You had me until you got to the yarn restrictions . . . I DO have a little Kidsilk Haze, but I've got other lace yarns I want to use next, and the others? I don't have, and I have enough yarn in my stash already! Great idea, but I guess I'll have to go be creative on my own with my non-officially-sanctioned yarn (grin).

Good luck, though, it sounds like fun!