There is a KAL for Wenceslas going on here
Please join us…I’ll be checking in - offering advise and encouragement.

Wenceslas - 

featured in the Spring 2015 issue of Twist Collective.

Do you find that there are places in the world that hold an extraordinary fascination for you – a particular spot and occupies a romantic maybe even mythical place in your heart? For some people it might be a natural wonder such as Ayres Rock or the Grand Cannon, or man- made structures such as the Pyramids or the Eiffel Tower. High on my list are also cities; Paris, Buenos Aires, Prague and Istanbul.

I don’t know why I have a fascination for Prague but I think that it’s maybe because I grew up being a big fan of Queen and particularly “Bohemian Rhapsody” (did I just date myself?). As a kid I remember wanting to be Bohemian – when I didn’t even know what that meant.

I first visited Prague just after the fall of the Iron Curtain and I was thrilled to find that it was quite different from the rest of Europe at the time…that of course changed all too rapidly. I found the architecture spectacular and the vibe very cool. I have since learned from a Czech colleague of my husband that Prague escaped the damage sustained by other cities during the world wars. Then after WWII funds didn’t allow for the concrete redevelopments that many places underwent during the 60’s & 70’s. So it has managed to maintain many of its cobbled streets and dark fairy tale-like buildings.

Since that first trip I have been back a couple more times and I’m still in love with its architecture and decorative arts. On my last visit I was out just wandering around (I do that a lot) but maybe because it wasn’t my first visit I started taking photos of often overlooked details (I do that a lot too). My favourite one of these shots was of a grate covering I found on the street in Wenceslas Square. I have had this photo in my inspiration stash, meaning to use it as a springboard for designing patterning, ever since. I had made some rough sketches of ideas that it inspired but until last year I had not made swatches based on it.  Finally I did…and oh the possibilities!

When I work with an image like this sometimes the whole thing can be a little overwhelming. So I look for the smaller elements that make up the whole. I find it really helpful to take pieces of card (or a photo cropping tool) and block out most of the picture, narrowing your focus to these smaller areas…a little like a using your hands to frame a photo shot.  From that exploration I generated quite a few pattern ideas, lace patterning, yoke ideas and of course cables. Using my experience with cables I decided to tackle that one first (surprise!). One small element gradually took shape through swatching and refining to become a back yoke…. used for my Wenceslas cardigan. I then broke the yoke pattern down into smaller patterns that were used for the sleeves and then even smaller (half of the pattern on the sleeve) to flank the centre front opening.

Of course I still have all the other ideas from that one image sitting waiting in the wings, so watch this space….! 

                                         unleash the power of inspiration...

                                         unleash the power of inspiration...

Garment photos by Fanny LaFontaine-Jacob