Design Process

My design process is like a flow chart, full of questions that can always lead back to the beginning, if the swatch just doesn't work out the way I want it to.

Take for example the design I am working on this week.

First: Idea to Sketch- It started as an idea for a sweetheart short-sleeved top that buttons with tiny buttons. I sketched the top first. Now I don't always sketch first, but with this one I did.

Second: Imagine woman- If I start with a sketch, then I immediately start imagining what kind of woman (child or man- but in this case, woman) would wear this top. Is she young or old or does that not matter. Does she live in the city or suburbs? Is she chic or classic? Is she vegetarian or a meat and potatoes woman? I even go so far to name her. Please meet Paige, she's feminine and classic, loves to eat Greek, and her favorite season is the summer. I go into this fantasy land, manly to pick out colors for her. See every woman is not like me, and may not like colors I like. I have to imagine someone else to break myself from constantly choosing blue and teal.

Third: Fabric to yarn: What kind of drape do I want? Well, here it was easy to pick. I wanted something super light and really drapy. So I knew, I couldn't use cotton, it would be too heavy. Silk smells in the summer. So either linen or soy. I went with Bamboo.

Last: Stitches- the hardest part of this top. I knew I wanted to do motifs, but since I didn't start with a swatch, I had the worst time picking one. How I started was to randomly choose motifs to crochet then start picking my favorites once they are crocheted.
These are the 4 I started with.
I knew A was out immediately, it was too similar to another design I am working on. So then I was equally torn between B, C, and D.

Next I threw them into Photoshop, to see what patterns they develop. Some boring swatches can be become gorgeous when they combine together.

Like swatch C. It looks lovely all combined. But for this top and yarn, I was just really worried it would hang weird since its so open.

Now I'm down to B and D.
Both patterns are fine. B is big and lacy, D is denser and classic.

So now steps in the engineer, who relives the designer for a bit. Which swatch will be easy to size up and down. Which swatch will be easier to describe. Those didn't help, so now in walks the crocheter.
For me in this design, it came down to picking which one I would want to crochet the most. And it was clear. I like B the best. It is going to drape nice, hold together, and be fun to crochet.
And without you knowing it, you guys helped calm the "designer" in me still fretting over if I chose the right swatch and if I should swatch more. A good design for me has to be fun to crochet, otherwise why bother, right? So while writing this, that little voice in my head kept saying- yes, yes, that's the one. That's the top. Stop fretting and start crocheting!


Karen said...

Interesting -- thanks for the insight into your process. Can't wait to see the finished product.

Amy O'Neill Houck said...

So great to read your process--I'm much more of a "gut instinct" person, and, not surprisingly, before reading your whole post, I saw the 4 swatches, and immediately said "B!"

I *love* how you play around with the swatch in photoshop, such a great idea--do you layer it over the sketch too?

Robyn said...

I'm glad you said you liked B too. It puts me more at ease. I don't always trust my gut reaction.

SAM said...

Fascinating design process. I am much less structured yet the other half of my brain wants some organization. I love choice B and think it will look great in your design!