Wednesday, August 09, 2006

An Adventure in Knitwear Design

lamb's ear baby jacket

Last week, I got paid for writing a knitting pattern for this cute little sweater. Appalachian Baby Design sells this organic cotton Lamb's Ear Jacket as a ready-made item, and they wanted to add kits for knitters to their line of products. Ironically, the designer they paid in the first place provided a hand-knit sample; their production expert redesigned it for machine knitting; and last month I redesigned the machine knit sample and wrote hand knitting directions.

I'm not entirely sure what's going on with the company these days, but their Web site still describes them thus:

Appalachian By Design, the non-profit development and marketing company that markets Appalachian Baby Design, has devoted itself to making machine knitting a sustainable, home-based industry for women in rural Appalachia.

I've done work for them in the past, and found them a little "lethargic" in the check-cutting department. This time, I offered to take payment in product, and I was delighted to get over 10 pounds of white sport weight New Zealand wool yarn. I plan to dye this myself, and expect it could make about 40 pairs of Fair Isle socks, or heaven knows what else. It promises to keep me busy for years.

I was so excited about this wool that I found myself agreeing to other projects. That is why I am currently knitting garter stitch baby blanket in the same organic cotton. I'm ashamed to be "designing" something so boring, but it seems there are many happy knitters who make garter stitch scarf after garter stitch scarf. This kit is intended for people too timid to try a simple baby sweater. I was never a timid knitter, but by the time I started knitting, I had years of sewing experience under my belt, and, swaggering teenager that I was, I thought I could make anything out of fiber. At any rate, it is quite soft and pretty, and perhaps people will like it.

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