ConnieLene – KnitDesigner

Design Process

Knitting a Waistcoat in one piece

by on Mar.29, 2011, under Blog, Design Process

A waistcoat is a simple garment to create in one piece. Knit, sew in any ends, join shoulders, block, wear.

The aim of knitting a garment in one piece is to KNIT – BLOCK – WEAR, truly that is as it should be, ME: I often knit, photograph, gift or wear.

If you have never done this before – choose a waistcoat pattern – one without a repeat design on it. Stick to stocking stitch (stockinette stitch) or garter stitch as in my picture otherwise your first piece will require recalculation of the pattern stitches as well.

1. Recalculate the cast on stitches required by adding the front left, back and front right stitches together.

For example: Back – 80 stitches and each front 40 stitches.

Depending on the style and the person for whom you are creating the piece you might reduce a stitch at the sides to compensate for the fact there will be no side seam to sew so this piece will be ever so slightly wider, but we will stick to the basics here.

2. Use a circular needle and cast on the 160 stitches.

Knit first row as per the pattern – Place a marker at the positions after stitch 40 and again after stitch 120. The marker is slipped everytime you reach it.

3. Knit to the required length for the cast off for the underarm.

4. The pattern will tell you how many stitches to cast off. For example if the pattern required 4 stitches to be cast off for the front and the same at the back – then cast off 8 stitches at each armhole – 4 either side of the marker.

When the work is divided for the armholes – I divide my yarn into three sections (could be 2 balls with one of those balls being fed from the outside as well as the inside) so that I am doing the decreases on the two front edges and the armholes on the whole waistcoat. Continue with shaping required at the armholes as well as the front edge shaping.

You could choose to knit the fronts and the back separately from this point or do it as I do all sections together – which ever you prefer. I do prefer knitting them at the same time with an added benefit being you will always have the same number of rows when you cast off for the shoulders or do your 3 needle bind off.

I am sorry I don’t have an example of a waistcoat other than these two, both in garter stitch but with tuxedo points- one asymmetrical and the other with symmetrical points. Both were knitted in one piece, the only finishing the odd ends and a crochet trim. They were also created with many colours in simple undefined stripes. So of course this method of creating a garment is also a stash busting opportunity.

knittingmom asked the question – I been wanting to learn how to that kind of one piece knitting. But very intimidated by it!! thank you! Appreciate it very much. Really want to learn that method!

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Good Old Feather & Fan Stitch

by on Nov.11, 2010, under Blog, Design Process

I have been knitting for more than 50 years. Did you notice, I said that out loud. I have probably been knitting for more than 55 years, as the actual start date is lost in mists of time.

When I was a much younger knitter, Feather and Fan was used for baby things like shawls, matinee jackets and bonnets. I used feather and fan stitch when knitting for my own babies.

Since that time, until now that is, feather and fan stitch and I have not crossed needles and yarn together (or paths or swords).

Feather & Fan Waistcoat knit in one piece

I have rediscovered the beauty and the simplicity of this stitch pattern and am now designing pieces using it.

Funky Full length (opera) Fashionable Fingerless Gloves

I really love the effect of it with the variegated yarns above and now as you can see, I am knitting with a cream yarn looking at the affect of the stitch on the edges of the knitting.

But my circular needle on which is sitting my wrap all excited and ready to go – BROKE – and I do not have another spare 4.5mm circular needle. And yes, I know the wrap is being knitted in cream; I know it looks like baby stuff, but when it is finished, if ever, it will look like a gorgeous, warm, sexy, delicious, and feather light wrap and I am or was enjoying the wavy affect on the edges.

Feather & Fan wrap Work in Progress with Broken circular needle

BUT it is raining and the wind is blowing, and to purchase another such needle will mean adding lots of layers and walking about 20 mins along narrow Haarlem streets, across a draw bridge over a canal (the Spaarne) and along and along to the wool shop Kleinvak van der Raad where they do not mind my lack of Dutch and probably giggle at some of the yarns I buy to try. But that is okay.

And today I just do not feel like it. In short I am really and truely hacked off. I might have to open the wine!

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Crafternoon Tea with Grannyg – a fibrecraft podcast from New Zealand

by on Sep.29, 2010, under Blog, Design Process

I recently did a bit of a rave about Grannyg. She, that is Grannyg has a mission to save the world – one craft at a time, and she is doing very well at it, even on her own – she knits, spins, weaves, sews and bakes (I am told gloriously well). Oh, and she drinks coffee. I guess she must also drink tea given that the website is called Crafternoon Tea with Grannyg or maybe the name was a decision born to fill a rhyming need as Crafternoon Coffee with Grannyg does not work at all well.

Well Grannyg and I had a long talk a couple of weeks ago and today the podcast is up and ready so if you are at all curious about podcasts on crafts in, or to do with New Zealand and New Zealanders then do listen to it.

episode 36i – ConnieLene Johnston

Now I am Danish born, but I certainly sound like a New Zealander as you will hear. It is not so surprising as I have lived in New Zealand since December 28th 1948. Of course it is possible that it was the 29th, I just can’t quite recall, it being a wee while ago and at that time I was of an age where dates were not quite so important to me.

We established I have a long history with New Zealand including the craft / art / knitting world and as such am qualified to be interviewed, and what a fun interview that was. It did run on a bit, as it does when you are discussing stuff dear to your heart and it was great fun. Fortunately Grannyg being a very technically au fait granny, she has edited it a bit.

And if you think I laugh and sound like a smoker – believe me I am not and have never been. I spoke to Best Beloved about that and he reminded me that on the day I had a bad air day. What do you think of that – he noticed my bad air day, never ever notices my bad hair days. He was downstairs while Grannyg was interviewing me, or was that while we were talking about stuff we both love. No, it really was an interview.

Isn’t technology great – we spoke across the airwaves, and now I can, and I hope you do as well, we can listen to it over the airwaves – clear as day.

Sorry – I forgot say – we are living in Haarlem, in the Netherlands, In North Holland, which is why this was an interview via the ether. I am calmer about ether today you will note. We have been here in the Netherlands just over 2 years and will return to New Zealand late next year. In the meantime my Best Beloved is working, and I am designing and knitting, just filling in the days with yarn, ideas, colours and even patterns.

I hope these patterns and I probably have several hundred partially written or connie knithand notes that will become patterns. These here patterns are to be sold so I can continue my passion for yarns. I will quietly curl up my toes as the New Zealand pension is unlikely to be sufficient to cover my yarn needs.

Unique Boutique Knits – with my knit patterns

Please go look and then listen. It will help Grannyg with her quest and with luck it will also help me with mine – and please forward the link.

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A really great Question that I missed

by on Sep.29, 2010, under Blog, Design Process, Intarsia, Intarsia Book, Technical Information

There it is, I have been blithering on about communication and I missed a really great question from a lovely artist/designer on Facebook. Today I did something I have not done on Facebook before – I checked the tab “Just Others” and there was the question from May 2010.

The question was “Where can I learn more about your method of intarsia freeform knitting?”

Now that should have sprung out and said “Hey, Here I am”!!!, and I missed it.

There are books out there and much on the internet explaining Intarsia, but my free form Intarsia, there is no resource available as yet that I am aware of.

And so there is no single easy answer to the question, although I am working on an answer to it as I am putting together a book proposal.

For the design on the piece I consider the shape of the canvas, which might be a sweater or a cloak, or a jacket; and the person or exhibition for whom this piece is being created, and then I work to the idea or concept. In other pieces I might simply change the colours and yarn types as I feel, as I view what I am creating.

Very very basically, I sort yarns by colour, texture and weight (more or less as I don’t let the weight drive my work) and then I knit (play) always with the idea or concept in my mind or on the sketch.

The biggest hurdle for most knitters is to plan too much, and while I do plan, that is I have a canvas, which is the shape of the knitted piece, and concept and colour group, then I just knit.

I would love to run workshops on working with intarsia generally and including freeform work, or on “Playing with colour and yarn”. I hope I will have the opportunity to do that when I return to New Zealand.

I am working on a proposal for a book which will have basic knit designs, Instruction on working in the Intarsia method, a planned intarsia design for each knit design, as well as exercises to play with the yarns and colours and so go on to work on a free form intarsia design within the knitted design.

There is a lot work even in putting together a proposal as I am sure you all know, and of course I have to convince a publisher that it is worth their while.

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And brought her strings and knitting pins and other fancy stuff, oh

by on Sep.23, 2010, under Blog, Design Process

So the Magic of yarn and colour and shape continues.

My cowl is gorgeous – and today I thought this is so great it could be a ….. a ….. skirt. Oh damn, now I have said it, but it truely could. I am finishing the cowl as a cowl, and the pattern for a cowl and then I will create it as a skirt.

As you can see funny things are always happening in my brain.

And brought him strings and sealing wax and other fancy stuff, oh
And brought her yarn and and knitting pins and other fancy stuff, oh

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