Academia Design Process: Part 1

Design Process Series: See the original swatch in the background?

First comes the idea...

Inspiration comes from many different sources.  Sometimes, I am inspired by something I see on the street, in a movie, on a magazine cover on the newsstands, or even at the museum within a painting or sculpture.  Inspiration can also come from practicality - Me: "Gosh, I really would love a cardigan in xyz color to go with that great top..."  Often, I am inspired by the mood boards sent out by magazines and publications; which was the case for Academia, a sweater vest I designed for Twist Collective.

For this project, I was inspired specifically by text on one of the mood boards for Twist Collective's Fall 2011 collection.  One of the themes mentioned "bookworm" and immediately I thought of sweater vests.  But, what of them?  What kind of sweater vest?  A ribbed one or cabled one?  I think those are pretty standard.  But, what about something a bit more adventurous to knit?  At this point, I have to mention that I had already been working on designing some fair-isle mittens so fair-isle was on my mind.  I spent over a week researching and reading about the Fair Isles and the history of the stranded color-work we have come to call fair-isle.  So, what popped into my mind was this image of the Duke of Windsor wearing a fair-isle sweater with a dog in his arms.  Yes, this was it.  A fair-isle vest it would be.

Inspiration

Then comes refinement...

What would the color-work pattern be?  Would it be lots of X's & O's like on the Prince's jumper?  An all-over fair-isle design?  I thought the color scheme in the painting was a bit muted for my taste.  I studied the pattern and color choices carefully, but muted colors aren't really my style nor did the pattern itself really appeal to my aesthetics. 

With those considerations in mind, I combined a series of fair-isle patterns including an argyle segment to create a motif that would be the eye-catcher of the garment.  I sketched out the idea, plotted the pattern on a grid with OpenSourceCalc, and then added an illustrated schematic with garment measurements.  I then knitted two swatches with yarn I had in my stash.  I scanned the swatches, bundled my sketches and illustrations together as a PDF document, and sent it off to the editors of Twist Collective...  and then waited.

screen shot of my actual submission page