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From Mama, With Love

April 28, 2014

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A guest post from Connie Chang Chinchio

I’m so excited to have the opportunity to talk about a recent indie designer collaboration I was lucky enough to be involved. It’s especially gratifying to be talking about it on one of my favorite knit blogs — given that Ysolda has been a champion of and innovator in the independent knit design world.

From Mama, With Love is a 5-designer collaboration of designers who also happen to have children we love to design and knit for. We are:

Tanis GrayKate GagnonMargaux HufnagelMelissa LaBarre and Connie Chang Chinchio

Collectively, we have published in a variety of traditional and independent channels; and have brought our experience to this little collection. We each sketched out our designs, sourced the yarns (many from small, indie dyers and mills), and photographed our creations on our own children. Kate, who designs the layout for Kelbourne Woolens/the Fibre Company patterns, undertook the huge task of framing our designs in an e-booklet format.

For me, it’s always fun to design garments with a collection in mind. I love thinking about how the different pieces fit together whether they’re linked by stitch pattern, yarn, or color. For my contributions, I wanted to highlight texture stitches. Since the yarns I used were all handdyed, nearly solids — the textures had to be subtle and not too busy, otherwise they might compete with the yarns too much. Sometimes I’m able to knit a design completely from my sketches, but more often than not, I find myself having to make modifications — some small, others not — while I’m knitting.

For From Mama, With Love, both circumstances happened. The Kyle vest is almost exactly as I envisoned it — a puffy vest knit in Dream in Color’s large-gauge, springy Groovy with small cables acting almost like quilted stitches. The Kearney Hat, on the other hand, started life as a modified bandana-style hat with a combination of cables and lace. But some preliminary swatching quickly revealed that the stitch pattern was getting lost in the color gradations of the yarn, Dragonfly Fibers’ Djinni sock yarn. It called out for something simpler — so I kept the idea of cables but confined it to the brim and decided to knit the rest of the hat in stockinette.

The collection is available as an e-booklet until October 1st; after which the patterns will be available individually.

Thanks for sharing your inspiration behind your designs in this super-cute collection, Connie. I know that when knitting for children a lot of people want to be sure that what they make is useful so it’s helpful to see what these designers want for their own kids. If you enjoyed this post look out for more in the blog tour – there’s a list of all of the posts on Connie’s blog. – Ysolda

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