Designing Fraser

I’ve been working on a new pattern for a sheep fleece for my Knit your own sheep kits.  The concept for an aran pattern has been bubbling around in my brain for some time, and at last, it has taken woolly form. I thought I’d share with you how a design comes in to being.

First, as I said, is the concept, which evoloves from a general idea to a specific pattern of stitches.  Some of this is subconcious – I have a feeling for what I want to create but no concrete idea.  I look at pictures, leaf through stitch dictionaries and wait for the ‘cake to bake’.

Then I knit a test swatch to see how the design will look in the yarn I have in mind, – in this case a lovely autumnal orange.  This also tells me what the tension of the pattern will be and how many stitches I will need.

Then comes the maths – how to fit all the stitches onto a fleece shape.  I usually start at the end – The bottom of the fleece has decreased stitches to fit the sheep and the pattern has to fit these. With a cable pattern this involves leaving enough areas of plain knitting between the cables to use for the decreases, without cutting into the cables themselves.

Then, with a rough plan in place, it’s time to start work on knitting up a sample.  Cable knitting takes a long time and writing down every row as you knit it takes even longer! (Yes, I do have a Hello Kitty notebook!)

After that its just a case of making a few adjustments and writing up the pattern, slowly and carefully, not making any mistakes to confuse future customers.

Fraser will be ready to say hello in a few weeks….

Check out what other crafty folks have been up to, over on Handmade Monday..


About madebyewe

Hello, and welcome to my blog, where I talk about the ups and downs of running a crafty business, knitting and life. I learnt to knit when I was a child in the 1970s. I think my Mum taught me, though it may have been one of my Nans. Both Nans were great crafters and my Mum knitted, when she had time. My childhood was full of wearing Mum's warm and cosy handknit jumpers to school and playing with yarn by the fire, making presents for my family and clothes for my toys. When I grew up, I started a business designing children's handknitted jumpers. Now I spend some of my time desgining gardens, as well as designing knitting. The garden design business is well established; the knitting design business is just starting out. I love the rhythmic quality of knitting, the feel of woolly yarn in my hands and the way a project grows beneath my fingers. It is relaxing and productive at the same time. I especially love vintage knitted toys and the quirky simplicity of the patterns. They were often made in times of austerity, when money and supplies were short, but the desire to create something fun inspite of this, shines through. I am a supporter of the Campaign for Wool, supporting the British wool industry, and using British yarn for my kits. Where would we be without fields of fluffy sheep to admire? Baa Humbug to acrylic!
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20 Responses to Designing Fraser

  1. Jill says:

    Fraser looks good – look forward to saying hello to him soon


  2. Claire Hoey says:

    I love the colour of Frasers fleece – just perfect for Autumn. I am hoping that I will be able to get the hang of cable – I have done a very simple sample piece to see if I can do it. I can’t get my head around how you design these patterns – so much time! I can’t wait to add Fraser to my little flock.
    Claire x

  3. Wendy says:

    I love the colour of that yarn – definitely autumnal. I’m not a knitter but as a one-time sewing pattern-designer I do sympathise with all that maths!! Not my favourite bit either.

  4. redneedle says:

    Fraser looks suitably impressed with his lovely cable sweater. Fascinating insight into your creative skills, always interesting to see how a project comes to life, thank you for sharing

  5. mcrafts says:

    Great post. It’s good to read what goes on in the background to things. Loving Fraser!

  6. Fascinating to follow that process through – the maths looks quite complicated to a non-knitter! Fraser is very cute, BTW!

    Alison x

  7. Jenny says:

    He looks lovely and cosy already – and what a great colour! I think I’m going to be tempted to buy my own Fraser soon, or add it to my Xmas list. I certainly take it for granted when I’m working from a pattern, that some poor soul has had to work out all the maths – so thank you! x

    • madebyewe says:

      thanks and here is my comment for your blog, which I couldn’t get to post – it’s a bad computer day
      Wow – you’re a beginner at this? You’ve obviously got the knack, I love that cushion

  8. Can’t wait to meet Fraser in the flesh so to speak. lol. It all sounds good stuff.

  9. Planet Penny says:

    Fraser is gorgeous! from another sheep fan!

  10. Fraser is adorable, I used to love sheep when I was little, I had posters, pencils, figures, teddies, stickers, stamps you name it I had it! Shame I didnt have Fraser to add to my collection back in the day!

  11. RosMadeMe says:

    I love Fraser’s sweater… he looks set up for the Winter!

  12. Fraser looks so cozy in his autumnal sweater, really cute.

    Jan x

  13. mummiafelice says:

    Hehe he looks lovely! Nice and cosy in his sweater too!

    Thanks for linking up to #handmadethursday 🙂

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