Guest Blogger – Kathy North

Have you ever wondered how some designers come up with their ideas? What inspires them? Me too!

Today I asked Kathy North, a Classic Elite Yarns contributor to tell us a little about her 2 designs (Abelona and Nahara) in our newest book Sunny Day and her inspiration. Here is her behind the scenes story:

It's a Sunny Day!

When the call for spring/summer designs was received, my mind started dreaming up ideas. Having recently completed the most challenging piece of my life so far (Maxime) I thought this time around it would be a "breeze" to design a sleeveless garment (well, not exactly a "breeze" ... there is a lot of work involved in creating designs for six sizes.) The first idea that kept recurring was a "smock top" featuring a lace pattern above an openwork mesh section that would feel lightweight and cool on a summer day, as expressed in this rough sketch:

Searching through a favorite stitch dictionary and some vintage pattern booklets in my collection, I selected the interesting 'Lacy Chain' panel pattern for the bodice and decided to combine it with a simple openwork mesh fabric that was spotted in a photograph of a vintage shawl. I worked up swatches and put together a sample of the idea in a design submission:


Was I ever surprised and delighted at the result: it's one thing to be happy about having a design accepted, but it's even more exciting to see one's finished garment appear as a cover girl!

Abelona is knit in CEY's newest yarn Cerro, an oh-so-soft blend of cotton and alpaca that was a dream to work with. Its fine quality translated beautifully into the lace-patterned vision for this garment, which is worked in two directions. The front and back bodice pieces are worked separately and seamed at the shoulders and sides, then turned upside down where stitches are picked up and worked in the round to form the lacy mesh body.

The second design in Sunny Day is a crocheted tunic. This idea began with a lacy flower motif:

My initial sketch was for a tank top featuring a line of motifs down the front, bordered with single crochet rib on the sides.

I worked up a rough sample of the idea for the submission:

Again, to my surprise it was accepted. Credit for the tunic goes to Susan Mills, CEY Creative Director, who asked if the tank top idea could be lengthened. Another challenge presented but eventually accomplished!

Thanks in part to the availability of a Christmas gift to myself (a mannequin nicknamed "Molly") I was able to work out the idea satisfactorily, incorporating side shaping within the ribbed sections by working the crochet stitches lengthwise in graduated heights. This tunic is crocheted in one of my favorite CEY yarns, the high-quality mercerized Egyptian cotton Provence.  Since I've had the good fortune of working with this yarn in previous designs (Ambu, Fresh Air Bag, RidgelineKerchief) the crocheting in this cool blue shade sped right along.

When I placed the finished garment on "Molly" I was rather amazed that it turned out exactly as envisioned:

The tunic appears as Nahara in the Sunny Day booklet. My first inkling that the pattern had been publicly revealed were messages from Ravelrymembers commenting positively on the design. Even DM remarked on how beautiful Nahara looks in the garden setting in the fashion photograph:

Thanks again to Classic Elite Yarns for the opportunity to contribute to their excellent pattern collections (and especially for making Abelonaa cover girl.) The release of Sunny Day certainly made the sun shine for this designer!

Some of Kathy’s previous designs:
From left to right: Maxime, Ambu, Fresh Air Bag and Ridgeline Kerchief  


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