Today I am so excited to share that “All You Knit is Love” is now available to download on Ravelry! This sweater pattern was originally designed for The Fiber Factor Knitting Design Contest Challenge #2 “Knit Inside the Box”. We were challenged to design a boxy sweater that incorporated creative colorwork, using up to 8 colors. I thought it would be fun to revisit this design and give you a behind the scenes look at my creative process and inspiration. Hope you enjoy!
When we first got this challenge I was a little overwhelmed with possibility because I LOVE colorwork. If you are familiar with my designs you know that I use colorwork quite frequently, and just love color in general! Because of that, I wanted to experiment with some new techniques that I had not seen done and had never tried out before, and really push myself to be creative.
My first idea was to create a heart argyle pattern using cables. I hadn’t seen it done before in knitting the way I was envisioning it, so I thought it would be fun to try out. Off to swatching I went, and after much trial and error, I figured out a technique I was happy with. Basically there are 2 single cables, and when they cross, there’s an intarsia heart behind them. It’s kindof like you’re knitting love into your sweater, and I loved the idea of that!
The other inspiration I had for this sweater was to use big block letters to create a bold statement message, a popular trend at the time. I had seen this image of a storefront in Barcelona that I had previously posted about, and it stuck with me – the perfect phrase would be “All You Knit is Love”! I thought it would be fun to play with colorwork inside the letters, and was also very inspired by the trend of bright pastel colors. I had seen images of artwork by pip & pop in one of my trend reports at work, and I was obsessed with the color scheme and wanted to use a similar palette for my design. Fun fact – even though I designed this sweater in 2013, I am still loving pastels! They really stuck with me
I had also seen this sweater at Urban Outfitters and loved the idea of creating a similar ombre effect for this challenge. Now that was the challenging part, because we weren’t offered color changing yarns for this challenge. Hmmm….but onto the next step, choosing colors!
Skacel provided us with these awesome swatch cards to choose our desired colors, which they would normally offer to their wholesale clients. It’s not always that we would get the actual yarns to look at and play with, sometimes it was just pictures of the colors, so this was especially nice for this challenge. You could actually take a small cutting of the yarn off the page and place it next to another one – this was beyond helpful in creating my pastel rainbow of colors!
So I ordered my yarn and hoped for the best. Much to my delight, the colors were beautiful and went really well together!
Now to figure out how to create the ombre effect I was hoping for. I charted out the block letters and was playing with ideas. My first idea was to have a stippling effect where the colors changed – kind of speckled and fair isle looking. This indeed turned out to look more like fair isle than ombre so I tried again.
I had seen some knitted designs where the yarn was held double with the same color, then held together with the transition color, then to double of the transition color. This technique really seemed to be the most successful in creating a smooth gradient. I hadn’t planned to double ply my yarn with this design though, so I thought, what if I un-plied the yarn to half the plies, did that with the transition color, and then held them together and knitted them?! I tried this out and indeed it worked. Now, this isn’t the easiest or most practical thing to do, but it was a creative solution to the problem and it looked great!
In case you’re wondering what the inside of this sweater looks like…here it is! Needless to say, finishing this chart felt like a HUGE accomplishment! I had a lot of fun, however, watching it take form The heart argyle or “heart-gyle” as I like to call it 😉 became a theme in this pattern, which I incorporated into the front, back, and a fun elbow patch!
I also enjoyed adding this mesh lace shoulder insert for some fun and flirtiness Now, I have to admit, when I finished this design, I was like yeah, there’s a lot going on, and the judges confirmed that worry! I honestly did just have so many ideas and wanted to use THEM ALL. While I do love all of the bells and whistles and think they ended up working together in a special way, the great thing is that because this is a knitting pattern, you can customize it however you want!
I think it would be fun to have a plain stockinette front with just the words to speak for themselves in the back, to use the heart argyle pattern all over the front and back, or to make the the entire sweater in stockinette and just have a fun pop color of mesh lace at the shoulder inserts. It’s really like you’re getting 3 sweaters in 1 as there’s so many ways you can knit this sweater! You could even knit the shoulder inserts in stockinette in the base sweater color for a more toned down look.
I’ve posted about this sweater a few times on Instagram recently and the message was clear – you want to knit this design! I appologize for not getting it out sooner, I honestly didn’t realize so many people would want to knit it! I am thrilled that you do and CAN’T WAIT to see how you interpret it! The pattern is now available on Ravelry for download here:
This past December, I had the honor of traveling out to Ft. Collins, Colorado (home of Interweave Knitting) to film two knitting courses for their online learning platform, Craft University. I am so grateful to have had this amazing opportunity to teach! I wanted to give you a peek behind the scenes, because I thought it would be fun for you to learn more about what went into creating these courses
I was in Ft. Collins for a week, and while there I taught a “Learn to Knit” Course, where I teach all the knitting basics from choosing yarn and needles to how to cast on, how to knit different stitch patterns, and finally how to knit your very own customized hat and glove set! I also taught a “Learn to Knit Cables” Class where I teach all about cables, and we knit a super cute mug cozy and cowl together. These courses will be running at different times throughout the year, so make sure to sign up for my newsletter to find out when they will be available!
The first step in this process was months of preparation. First, I had to create an extensive outline for each course, outlining what topics would be covered, what the key learning points would be for each and every video, an estimate of how long each video would be, what items I would need on set for each video, and exactly what I would say. This part took a while!
Once I had the course outlines down, the next step was reaching out to a few yarn and knitting needle companies for support on the materials end of creating these courses. I needed A LOT of yarn and A LOT of knitting needles since I had to knit lots of samples and swatches! I am very grateful to Lion Brand Yarn for providing their lovely “Lion’s Pride Woolspun” in a variety of colors to teach with for both of these courses, and Susan Bates for providing knitting needles, stitch holders, and cable needles for the courses. Knit Picks also provided yarn for a show and tell video that we made showing various types of yarns, and provided their super cool Chart Keeper that I used during my cables course so we could read through the cable chart together.
Even though I’ve made a lot of you tube tutorials, I’ve never done that much planning and preparation, so this was a new experience. For example, when I was teaching my Bra Top Tutorial, I just knitted the bra top off camera, and stopped every so often to film what I was doing at places where I wanted to show special techniques. When you are on TV, or for a course like this where everything has to be filmed in a condensed amount of time, you have to knit everything ahead of time in steps. For example, when I was teaching the hat, I had to knit it at 3 stages – after the ribbing portion was finished and we were ready to knit the main part of the hat, at the point where we were ready to start decreasing for the crown of the hat, and up to the last few rows of the hat so that we could finish the hat together.
As you can see below, each item was knit up to 2 or 3 points in the pattern so that when teaching in the video, I could seamlessly move from demonstrating one technique to the next without stopping to knit up to the next point (which, as you know, could take hours!). And in case you’re wondering, yes, that’s my cat’s paw in the photos. She has to make her way into every photo! 😉
After all of the knitting was done, the next step was to put together Girly Knits patterns for each of the new designs I was teaching, and writing up multiple course handouts for the students to reference during the course. I just love teaching knitting and get so excited about someone learning for the first time, so I had a lot of fun with this.
Then the last step was…OUTFITS! Even though it wasn’t required that I change outfits for each video, I uh sortof ummm, insisted that I did. I’m a fashion designer, what can I say! There was a total of 10 segments, plus a few extra videos that we made for marketing purposes, so I planned accordingly I tried to mostly wear items that I had knitted or store bought knits that I liked, but threw in some of my favorite everyday clothes in there as well.
And then of course the very very last step was getting a gel manicure right before I flew out so that my nails would look nice and pretty for their close ups! I got purple because, you know, it’s my favorite color and I can’t help but always picking it for like, everything. A lot of people on set asked me if I had intentionally chosen this color to match my knitting but I didn’t – I just always have purple everything!
I flew out there on a Monday, and the first day was just for me to unpack and get acquainted with the set. This was my first time doing anything like this (aside from being a guest on Knitting Daily TV), so it was really nice to have a chance to set myself up for the next morning and get organized rather than jump right in. They had a green room set up for me with a little welcome sign and plenty of space to put all of my things, so I felt right at home.
The next morning, the first course of action was getting beautified, woohoo! Interweave has a fabulous makeup artist Keegan, who actually specializes in doing bridal makeup! I loved that because I’m a super girly girl – I’m all about the full coverage, hot pink lips, and false eyelashes – she totally got me and we were insta-friends! She also airbrushed my face which was a first for me and super fun! And in case you’re wondering who did my hair, I can take credit for that – all of the years of practice curling my hair for shows with my dance troupe have paid off 😉
Next step…filming! I was definitely nervous as first because I’m so used to making videos on my own at home with no one watching – I often will film the same thing multiple times because I totally lose track of what I’m talking about, say a word that makes no sense at all, or make a weird face (which I have the control to edit out at least!) This was very different because there were quite a few people watching, I had to release control over how it was edited, and we did most segments in one take. If I made a a flub or mistake, I just corrected it and kept going! And that’s totally fine, I think it comes off more natural that way anyway
I have this irrational fear that once the camera is on and people are watching I suddenly won’t be able to make coherent sentences, but I actually find the opposite to be true. Despite my fear of speaking in front of people and being shy, I love being on camera! Once we did the first segment I felt totally at ease and in the zone. It was interesting because the talent coordinator was telling me how some people are used to teaching to real people at workshops so they don’t feel comfortable talking to a camera, but since I have mostly taught knitting to cameras, I realized I was pretty in my element there!
Below is a candid moment with Lindsay, the producer, and Garrett the camera man trying on one of my hats – the Large size is perfect for a man! And he didn’t mind the purple, haha.
Filming on this set was really neat because as you might be able to tell from the photos, there were multiple cameras on me at all times, including one above me to get close in shots of me knitting. So I could just do my thing while Garrett made sure to get close up shots of whatever I was talking about or doing. Lindsay was in the control room watching all 3 camera angles to make sure that everything was shot nicely and that everything I was saying and doing was clear for the students. We made a great team!
In addition to teaching the courses, we made a fun you tube video of me showing how to make a mini garter stitch bow that you can pin in your hair. Here is Garrett below getting some “interesting” angles for this video! The finished video is now on you tube and you can check it out here!
Lastly, Interweave had their in house photographer take some up close photos of me demonstrating casting on, knitting, and purling for the students to reference after watching the videos. The photos came out really neat!
After 3 straight days of filming I was pretty spent, but as you can probably tell, we had a lot of fun and I was doing what I loved so it didn’t feel like much work as all After the last day of filming, the talent coordinator Jill (who is to credit for taking most of these behind the scenes photos, thanks Jill!) took me out for a night on the town in Ft. Collins! They have an adorable downtown where we did beer tasting at a local brewery, had a delicious dinner, and got to enjoy the festive holiday decor.
I hope you enjoyed getting a peek behind what goes into filming an online knitting course, and if you have any more questions about the process, ask away! If you are interested in learning how to knit, I hope you will join me in my “Learn to Knit” course which starts on April 15th! If you already know how to knit but know someone who would like to learn, I would love if you shared this course with them, it’s a lot of fun! And make sure to be on the lookout for my upcoming course, “Learn to Knit Cables”