Over the past 11 days, I’ve been working on a project for the Initiate Knit Design workshop run by Aroha Knits. Even though I have already published a few of my own patterns, I decided to sign up for this workshop (it’s free!) to see what more I could learn and to push me outside of my comfort zone a little bit. I’d been tossing an idea around in my head for a while, to design a cable pattern that looked like a climbing knot. I learned to rock climb as a child, and one of my favorite parts was practicing tying the retrace eight and stopper knots so much that I could soon tie them blindfolded (I don’t recommend rock climbing blindfolded though).
The first part of the workshop is about sparking your creativity. This step was no problem for me, as I have a wealth of ideas and I already knew which one I wanted to work on for this workshop. The real fun started in step three, where we had to swatch. It was during this step that I realized making a cable pattern out of a retrace eight and stopper was too complicated, and I wanted this to be a fairly simple and accessible cable. So I decided to just do a simple figure eight, which looks like this:
When I first learned to tie these knots I used a length of bright orange nylon cord, and so I wanted to use a yarn that reminded me of that rope. I had a ball of orange Berroco Remix in my stash, but Remix is a cotton/silk/linen/nylon/acrylic blend and very drapey, so not well-suited for cables (I love this yarn for drapey summer cardigans though!). Luckily I was in the process of moving and was going through all my yarn, and I found a ball of Heaven’s Hand Wool Classic in a similar orangey-coral color. This yarn is sadly discontinued, but it’s a sturdy 100% wool worsted weight, so it would be perfect for a small, cabled cowl.
After swatching with the Wool Classic and ripping it out twice, I finally managed to make a cable I was happy with. The start of the figure eight is still a little funky, but I was very pleased with the top of the knot where I grafted two cables together on top of the center cable.
After swatching, I just had to write the full pattern and knit up a sample! Now my sample is blocking and I am formatting the pattern to get it ready for publishing.
I really enjoyed this workshop, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to start designing or even for beginning designers who still have a lot to learn (like me!). It really helped push me to take on a challenge like this cable. The community involved in the project is so supportive and kind, and Frenchie is so knowledgeable and engaging. I learned a lot about making my patterns understandable and accessible to knitters of all skill levels, and I think my designs will benefit from an Aroha Knits inspired revamp of my formatting (more on that in the coming weeks!) If you are thinking about starting to design knitwear, I highly recommend taking Frenchie’s workshop next time it is offered!