design process

Swatching Triangles


Every designer has her/his own way of approaching a new project. I like to figure out all the numbers and sizes before I settle down to knit my first sample. I even write up the instructions. I get the fiddly stuff out of the way and then I have the pleasure of the knitting. After I knit then I get to fiddle again with numbers and editing before I move on to photography and formatting the document.


Naturally before I start with my spreadsheets and calculations, I do some swatching to figure out what gauge I’m working with and any particularities with the stitch pattern. For one of my current projects I’ve been exploring triangles.


I started with Nicky Epstein’s edging books for inspiration. There were several nice ideas that would probably be just fine for my design, but I thought I could push the idea a bit further. Then I thought a sawtooth edging on the bias might work but that seemed too obvious.


Finally I remembered the triangular earflaps on South American hats. Hmm, I think there’s potential there. Browsing through Andean Folk Knitting, I found what I was looking for, but it needed some tweaking. The top side of the triangle’s curving too much.


With a few extra decreases here and there … perfection.


The perfect triangles for the hem.


Now that I’ve finished the calculations, written the instructions and I’m knitting the sample, I’ve discovered that the smaller triangles I wanted to use on the sleeve just look a little whimpy. Back to the drawing board!

2 thoughts on “Swatching Triangles”

  1. Holli, I can’t imagine the day when I will be able to create a pattern. Just reading one is still a challenge for me. But I found this post fascinating – and – visually beautiful. I’ll leave the details to you – the expert – and just be satisfied to be a fan!

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