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Penny: A collaboration

June 20, 2019

One of the questions Emily and I are asked most often is : how does your business work as a partnership? It seems that many people find the creative process impossible to imagine as a collaboration, but Em and I? Nearly a decade in, we can’t imagine it any other way!

When we did our first book, 9 Months of Knitting, the designs were mostly easy to identify as something Emily designed or something I designed. But now? Our design process has only become more collaborative over time; now sometimes even Emily and I forget ‘who thought it first’!

Some of our pattern designs start with a swatch or a sketch, some begin with a baby-sized knit, and others with a bit of text describing the idea in words. Read more on design origins here. In some cases, the originator of the idea will take it and run with it, but sometimes it takes outside eyes to perceive what is really magical about the idea, and develop it. Penny was one such design.

Nina is wearing the regular length Penny sweater in SweetGeorgia Superwash DK in ‘grapefruit’

Emily knit up the original idea for the Penny sweater, whipping up a teeny size for little Max. We both loved the idea of an all-over lace design, and were charmed by the way this particular lace sort of rippled away from the central double twist, and worked well with the v-neck.

The original teeny sample (in the vibrant SweetGeorgia Superwash DK in ‘blood orange’) is something like the finished sweater… but I tweaked it a bit!

With that in mind, I took over the design, swatching the lace a few different ways, grading the pattern, and eventually knitting up not one, but two kiddie samples, (neither of which are exactly to pattern, because sometimes it takes 4 tries to get it JUST right!). Once I had finished all of the pattern writing etc, we also decided cropped sweaters are so hot right now so we had to add a cropped and speckled sample too!

This swatch led to the final iteration of the lace panel. We both loved the textured nature of it.
This prototype I knit up for Jones is almost to pattern… but not quite. After making this, I changed the rate of decrease in the yoke, and the lace on the sleeve too. This one is knit up in SweetGeorgia Superwash DK in the warm and delicious ‘auburn’.

We finally arrived at the right combination of lace panels and flattering v-neck shaping. Penny was born of a genuinely collaborative process! Each step of the way we would photograph, discuss, and brainstorm the next adjustment to try. Working together allows us to get fresh eyes on any situation, which often results in a brilliant suggestion for something else to try or a detail that might make it all work!

Working as a creative on your own can be difficult! I’m sure the way we do it wouldn’t work for everyone, but for Emily and I, working collaboratively is exciting and productive.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Anya permalink
    June 20, 2019 11:21 pm

    I would love a pattern for the proto-Penny with proportionally larger lace motifs that you knit for Max. :)

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