Design 101: Walk-through

Happy New Year Designers!

I hope you all got the chance to think about and lay out what you wanted to design for your dishcloth over the holiday. Designing is a LOT of work and a LOT of trial and error. I know you will all get to your goals, just be patient and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

notepad-593363For those of you who might still be stuck, I’m writing this post to walk you through how I designed the two dishcloths for the Knitting 101 and Crochet 101 projects. Going back to the beginning, What Do I Need? I really did start with a graph paper pad and a pencil. These two were fairly simple, so I didn’t use anything else this time.

guageOnce I had those, I grabbed my yarn. Because I KNEW this was going to be a dishcloth for kitchen use, I KNEW what kind of yarn I needed. I used the gauge that was printed on the tag for the yarn skein. You might remember the gauge from my entry  Getting Started: Do The Math was 18 stitches x 24 rows for 4 inches of knitting and 13 single crochet x 14 rows for 4 inches of crochet.

guage-linesI set up my grid just like in the post The Fun Part and even though I didn’t end up using that grid for this, I don’t consider it a waste, because I will recycle it for another project. I wound up staring at it for a bit, thinking about what I would need for each lesson. I knew that I wanted to introduce two or three basic stitches for each project and I had to figure out the best way to incorporate each stitch into a dishcloth.

open-crochetFor crochet, I knew that chains, single crochet and double crochet are the most common stitches used and are a good place for beginners to start, because they are fairly straight forward. Many other stitches build off these, so without them, the crocheters would be lost. That settled me on a simple textured stripe that switched from single to double crochet. It seemed too boring, but picking a variegated (multicolored) yarn helps to give the piece a visual interest that might not be there if I had used a solid color.

open-knitFor knit, I knew that casting on and binding off were a MUST no matter what stitch I chose, but introducing both the knit and purl stitches would be a good starting point. I took the opportunity to sneak in the garter stitch and ribbing as well to give our knitters an extra boost so they would be on the same pattern level as the crocheters when we move on. Designing the pattern in a box formation also will help knitters when they move on to textured squares eventually.

As a designer, it’s important to think not only about your stitching and how the texture will function, but ALSO how the color(s) will effect the work. A beautiful design in ugly colors becomes an ugly design. Keep in mind too, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” I have made some patterns in SERIOUSLY questionable colors, but as long as the owner of the item is happy with it, I am too. Remember to think about WHO you’re designing for. If it’s a gift, the recipient is the one who needs to love it, not you. If it’s for you, make sure you LOVE it.

Design really is as simple as that. In the coming year, we’ll be working on some color work that will allow you to make more complicated pieces come to life. For right now, keep working on the dishcloth. Get outside, go people watching, Google ideas, or get on Pintrest to get inspired and let your imagination do the hard work.

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