Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Agate Vest

Susan wrote about how great this garment is. This picture captures the back detailing nicely, although it is a little bunchy at the waist which doesn't happen on the body.

I'm not a fan of the vest as a garment, but clearly I am in the minority! So I decided to design a vest that I would wear--and here it is. Something interesting going on on the back which fully compliments what is happening on the front. The back waist detail will enhance your back view and there is elastic hidden in the band which can be pulled up for greater waist definition if desired.

There is a design principle called Unity which just means that all elements go together in a coherent and cohesive way. It is my favorite Principle.

These are obviously before shots. Before snaps (in pocket). Before blocking. And apparently before working in all the ends!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Save the Easiest for Last

You would think that a scarf would be the easiest and quickest piece to design, right? In this case I must have discarded four or five ideas before this one started to grow.

I wanted something that would be easy (ish--you know I've always got to add something in!) but not boring. The thought of doing a plain old scarf just didn't seem right for this yarn. So I started knitting, without really knowing where I was going. I wanted to repeat the horizontal ribs, but that meant I needed to do some short rowing to get the narrower neck I like and the wider end I wanted. Then, I didn't like the flat end, so I had to figure out how to make the ends shaped. So this idea percolated for months and a lot of ripping was involved.

I finally got the scarf designed and knitted and then I had to figure out how to use my small mitered squares. I love things that have movement and I think these look like leaves. Mine are anchored onto the ribs, so they don't flop around.

One skein project. Of course the pattern will have specific directions, but once you get the rhythm of this, you'll find it fairly easy to see what to do. The mitered squares are great portable projects, or when you need a really quick something to knit. Again, instructions given, but once executed, easy to just whip them out.

This was the last piece I designed.
Stay tuned to find out how to get this pattern!

Design Revelations, I

The photo was supposed to be clear. I remain challenged as a photographer!

This is one of our half size dress forms wearing her version of the Silica Bodice at TNNA. She got to sit out in the front in the What's New! section showing off her style and this luscious yarn. Anything this size is cute, but I think this design is really a great one.

It is is based on my mental image of a cotton lawn bodice in the Textile Museum display at the Occidental Hotel in Buffalo, Wyoming. I would wear this with a pair of slacks and a shawl or jacket for a dressy-casual look.

As you follow the revelation of the designs for Powder River, you will note the eyelet lace used in everything. Alpaca is a warm fiber, so it seemed practical to give a little ventilation to everything. I also like the concept of mixing neutrals (the yarn) with a feminine detailing (eyelet lace). It works to give the neutral extra snap, and makes the feminine detail a little less "girly".

Monday, July 25, 2011

Design Finale

I realize that this is just the beginning for everyone else, but for me this is the end game. From here on it is all clean up. I have designed, knitted, written patterns, made changes, sewn on snaps, done drawings, etc. for the past six or seven months.

Powder River will release September 10 with a total of 12 different patterns: 5 garments, 2 home decor, and 5 accessories. Susan did the gloves and Beret and I've done everything else. Trust me, I've only knitted a couple of the one-skein projects! But I've knit a lot. My skeins have been knit multiple times as I worked out details, made gauge swatches, experimented, and finally made samples.

So from all-American fibers to a mill in Buffalo, Wyoming, to sample knitters around the US and in Ecuador, the Powder River Collection is getting ready for its debut. The pictures you see for the next couple of weeks are just snaps I took (hence not very good) because we still have to do a photo shoot. Enjoy. Whet your appetite. Get on track for this special, limited edition yarn.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

sustainability grant posted by Karen

Valerie and I found out several weeks ago that we had been selected as the recipient of a USDA-SBIR award. We worked hard on getting this grant written back in February and March and the news was exciting. This grant begins in September and is for a 24 month period. When the work is completed we will have a model "washing" system that can clean the wool, and most importantly pretreat the waste water. The hardest and dirtiest job we have is getting the wool clean, it uses alot of water and we all know our water is a precious resource. The system will be an environmentally friendly alternative and by-products such as wool grease and sludge will be pulled out and resold. The water will even pass through a water polishing greenhouse at the end. Mountain Meadow Wool is proud to claim environmental sustainability and useing reduce, reuse and recycle as part of our manufacturing process

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What to Knit?

All the Powder River designs are fabulous.  I like to think, which do I most want to knit and wear?  I'm always drawn to quick projects, but I think I'm with popular opinion that the Agate Vest is fantastic.  It seems like it could be worn for casual, office, even dressy with the right accessories.  It's flattering, functional and comfy.  What more can we ask? Oh yeah, a great knitting project!

In all the designs, the detail of the stitch pattern is intriguing, but it's the way Jill placed the patterning in the design that truly makes it wonderful: vertical lines to flatter as well as smaller bits at the lower back, neckline, shoulder.  It draws the eye and engages the brain.   To the knitter, it suggests that careful thought went into this design, that it's more than just the stitch pattern.  It certainly has caught my attention and caused me to think about how stitch patterning can be used in a subtle way.

Hmmm, great metaphor there.  I can always get the obvious, even quicker than most.  I'm much slower (like a slug) on getting the nuance and subtle hints.  Now there's some fodder for thought while knitting!