The Challenge of Constantly Creating

comments (2) September 27th, 2008     

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AlexSudalnik Alexander Sudalnik, contributor
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LEARN THE BASICS: The Knitting Lab at the Fashion Institute of Technology, NYC.
READ UP: What Im reading now.
Inspired knit 1.
Inspired knit 2.
EXPERIMENT: My knitting workstation.
Knitwear inspiration.
Inspired knit 3.
LEARN THE BASICS: The Knitting Lab at the Fashion Institute of Technology, NYC.

LEARN THE BASICS: The Knitting Lab at the Fashion Institute of Technology, NYC.

Photo: Alex Sudalnik


"Make it KNITWEAR!"

This was a common refrain of my British (residing in Italy) knitwear design teacher. She was constantly pushing us to think about knitwear and how we could translate absolutely anything that we'd see into a knit design and/or fabric.

For example, if I were to look at the photo of sand above and wanted to create a piece of knitwear inspired by it, I might think about the texture of the grains, the indentations, the colors, or the patterns of the tire marks, etc. Then I could take those ideas and see how I could translate them into knitwear. Pictured above are some examples of how I might do this.

After months of being encouraged to think like this and to perceive like this, there was no turning back! Today, everything I see sparks an idea, and now figuring out how to translate that into my field of design is not only challenging but also fun and rewarding.

The ability to constantly create new ideas must come with the task of deciding on which of those ideas to pursue further. While narrowing down options and making decisions is tough, it pushes you to focus your development and articulate it into a specific idea or perspective.

The combined abilities of using your imagination to create options and then making decisions on those options allows you to be in control of what you're creating. It's a design philosophy applicable to any field. Here are my tips on how to get started:

LEARN THE BASICS! You've got to know the basics cold. For knitting these could be:

  • how to knit by hand and machine
  • the four basic stitches: knit, purl, tuck (yarn over), and miss (slip)
  • the three basic knit fabric structures: jersey, reverse jersey, and rib

For sewing, the basics would include:

  • how to operate a sewing machine
  • knowledge of seams, etc.

When the basics of any field are established, you can only build upon them. Learn them, use them, know them.

READ UP! Read books, magazines, articles, blogs—anything and everything. Expose yourself to new ideas and viewpoints. Keep up to date with what's happening in your chosen field—get on the forefront! The New York Times website and Flickr are resources I always use to stay current on what's happening and to find inspiring photos.

In general, I like high-quality images and easy-to-read fonts for books, magazines, blogs, etc. When purchasing expensive books, make sure the photographs are large and clear and the paper quality high. This will help you to get the most out of your book, in inspiration and life span.

EXPERIMENT! When I want to experiment with knitting, I pick an idea that intrigues me. Then, using my knowledge of the basics, I grab my knitting needles and yarn and start playing with color, stitches, and shape. You've got to try out unconventional materials, colors, textures, ideas, and techniques. Don't be afraid to mess up or make something ugly—you've got the ability to make it again.

Using these three tips trains you to create solutions to your problems. Knowing the basics allows you to apply them. Reading up allows you to see how other people find solutions to problems. Experimenting allows you to find solutions to your own problems (and create happy accidents). The three together keep you constantly creating--and what's better than that!

posted in: design, inspiration

Comments (2)

gracie_girl writes: How fun to get to experiment with all that yarn! I'll try not to be envious!!
Posted: 2:17 pm on February 10th
rsudaln writes: I liked your perspective on learning the basics. I have found that to be true in my field of computers and also in bicycling. Knowing the basics also gives you confidence and stabilty to experiment.

Posted: 1:34 pm on October 11th
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