The Queen of the Waves, Sketches in Wool by Alice Starmore

Design Process

The Hiort Project Diary began with the intention of taking you along on a journey while Jade and I create a collection of costumes and designs. Over the next few months we will begin showing the progress of a particular costume in development. You can see the very first experimental piece for this costume in the image above, and you can read about it in our Sketches in Wool section. Before we begin to document the costume development further we thought it would be worthwhile to give an overview of some of my working methods by looking at a few finished pieces and showing how they began.

This section shows how the swatch is an all-important step for realising every design idea.

Every knitting design begins with an idea: this idea can be roughly sketched, finely painted or it can dance around in the mind’s eye, but in order to become a reality it must be processed through swatching. This is true not only for the designer but also for the knitter who wants to knit the design from the pattern instructions. For a designer, swatching is a crucial step for detailed experimentation with materials and garment ideas, as well as for creating and honing patterns, textures and working with colour. Swatches are the fundamental building blocks that lead to the final piece.

Design In Miniature takes a quick look into our swatch chest for commercial designs. Complex Costume Swatches shows the developmental swatches that went on to become the Mountain Hare, Sea Anemone and Lapwing costumes in Glamourie. Lastly, the Made To Measure page looks at the Raven developmental swatches and shows how the curving shapes and feathers required detailed measurements for the complex fitted costume, and then shows how essential elements of this costume were further used to create patternable designs.