My latest design "Opulent Cowl" was first inspired by this designer inspiration Pinterest page put together by Knitscene editor, Amy Palmer, for Knitscene Accessories, 2015. The board revolved around three themes to inspire designers: "LBD -- Little Black Dress", "Capitol Couture" and "Around the Home".
"Little Black Dress" caught me and took me to the internet...
Of course, I found Coco Chanel and Audrey Hepburn... too bad about the smoking... but keep that jewelry in mind...
Next, I did some searching for "little black dress accessories", and before very long I found something that I wanted to recreate...
|Photo Credit: Net-A-Porter, +Eleven Everything|
I do love this kind of high fashion spark... "Foil Print Merino Wool Snood" (then available at Net-A-Porter for $270)... it made me think of a cowl that was like a piece of jewelry...
It was obvious to me that the ribbing in that snood is fisherman's rib, and the gilded ribbing is two-color fisherman's rib. I had just seen an article on this kind of ribbing in Interweave Knits, Fall 2014. (BTW: There is a whole lot that I can write about fisherman's rib and its relationship to brioche, and how cool it is when worked with more than one color, but I will save that for another day.)
I pulled out that magazine and I began swatching (using two colors of worsted weight wool yarn). Then, I located some Berroco Captiva Metallic in bronze, and Schachenmayr Sun City in black and egg shell. I made this swatch:
I drew this sketch with two length options (one like a long necklace, and one, a smaller cowl that would stand up like a turtleneck or snood):
I included the swatch and the sketch in my proposal. About a month later, Amy Palmer sent an email that said that she "really liked" my cowl (Oh, happy day, I really love working with everyone Interweave!) Amy said that she thought that it would be "great for the Capitol Couture story", and that she would "like to play with untraditional yarns". Her first suggestion was a tape yarn that came in mostly soft colors and nothing near a metallic. I told her that I had my doubts, but that I would do my best to find a yarn as close as I could get to that, and do some swatching, ASAP...
Later that day, I went to Gosh Yarn It!, my LYS, to see what they had -- and they did not. However, the shop owner, Jill, had some very lovely ONline, Linie 346 Arona tape yarn in her personal stash and she kindly gave me a skein for my swatching. I wound off a small ball of lighter tones in order to have two colors, and then later I tried some spool ribbon from my local Jo-Ann's. Sad to say, but it just wasn't right.
I included this photo in my next email to Amy:
I wrote, "I am mostly back to where I was before the [latest] swatching. I would [still] like to use a metallic with a solid color."
There were a whole lot more back and forth emails with Amy. I am grateful for her relentless search to find just the right yarns. We decided on Prism Elise in 'antique' with violet and orchid shades of Prism Petite Madison (for more information see my Ravelry project page). Amy let me choose the length for the cowl. I think that both the lovely yarn, and my decision to go with a l-o-n-g length, eventually lead to a very opulent cowl, indeed.
My last photos are my own from right before I sent the cowl to Knitscene.
I love the piece and am looking forward to getting it back one day!
Opulent Cowl is just one of 33 beautiful new designs in Knitscene Accessories, 2015 which is available online and on newsstands everywhere.