Of knitwear and things

Shortbread recipe from here

Thank you everyone for the positive response to the new collection! I'm still catching up on emails, if I havent gotten back to you yet, I will before the update!!! In the meantime I would like to give you some virtual peach shortbread. It's good, I promise!

Let's talk knitwear!
I'm glad you guys are excited about the sweaters! Me too! I've been wanting to do knitwear FOREVER! I love knits and that's pretty much what I wear when I'm not wearing my sweats(don't you judge me). I wanted to make cozy, simple knitwear with unique details - just like my clothing! It took me awhile to figure out all the quirks of machine knitting. While it is faster than hand knitting, it's still very time consuming. Each piece requires alot of hand manipulation and my machine is manually operated. Since I've noticed alot of curiosity about the knits, I thought I would post a little more about the knit making process; from fiber to final product.

Every sweater starts with yarn. I thought it was hard sourcing good, organic fabrics; yarn is waaaay...harder to find. Once I did find some that passed all the tests(ethical growing + manufacturing, softness, weight, drape etc...), the color selection was way limited! I ended up dying my own colors with low impact dyes. I used to dye alot of raw fiber -way back in the day- but never anything that required such consistency. It took me quite a few tries to get the same colors and heathered effect in each dye lots. Don't worry, I won't bore you with that, back to yarns. I decided on a superfine Organic Merino wool and an organic colorgrown cotton. The cotton is grown and manufactured in the US. The Merino wool is from a family farm in New Zealand, everything about this company(from treatment of their animals to processing and manufacturing)met my highest expectations. It's also the softest merino I've ever felt.

Above: winding/prepping yarn for dying. Below: coned yarn

Designing the sweater.....Or SWATCH, SWATCH, SWATCH, SWATCH.....

The next step is to knit a swatch, swatches help you figure out your gauge(how many stitches high and how many wide per in.). They make sizing possible.

Knitting the sweater

There are two ways to make a sweater......
Cut-and-sew vs. Fully fashioned

Cut-and-sew sweaters are literally that. A large piece of yardage is knit and then a big machine stamps out pattern pieces which are then sewn together. 99% of commercial sweaters are manufactured this way.

Fully fashioned knitwear is made from pre-shaped pieces that are knit on the machine to certain specifications. There are no cut edges; everything is bound off on the machine and then linked together. The neckline and armholes need the most shaping and are therefore the most time consuming to knit. Besides creating a higher quality product there is also less(or no)wasted material when compared with cut-and-sew.

Everything from the FW collection is fully-fashioned. Garment pieces are knit to the specifications of my original patterns. I don't really feel comfortable going into all my techniques here as most of them took me quite awhile to develop.

Finished necklines and hems

Once all that boring technical stuff is done...and 10-12 hours of knitting later; I have a sweater that looks like this:

....and that's what goes into a sweater! Are you sleeping yet?

With the FW collection I really wanted to go a bit outside my comfort zone. I did alot of new and different things, some of which were firsts for me. I just wish I'd had more time to put it all together. I definitely wanted to experiment more and there were quite a few designs that I ran out time to make for the shoot...maybe later in the season...