unleash the power of inspiration...

                                         unleash the power of inspiration...

Details are very important, so finding the perfect dainty button to work with the I-cord button loops (that form the closure) was a big consideration. Happily I have access to a wonderful button store that always has what I'm looking for. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee once described this store as feeling a little like being in the Harry Potter wand store; the owner knows just which buttons are meant for you. He listens to your thoughts and then hey presto knitter and perfect button are magically connected. The glass buttons I chose are vintage, bought by the button store owner when a designer from Montreal when she was retiring. I think they are a perfect marriage of line and shimmer, completing the overall romantic feel of Parapet.

For more years that I care to admit to I have taken photos of items that inspire me, even before digital cameras made it so easy and inexpensive to do so.  One of the wonderful things about having an archive of these shots is that over time I have been able to categorize the types of image that appeal to me most. If you could only see how many photos I have of magnolia flowers (documented each year it seems).

A low wall or railing to protect the edge of a platform, roof or bridge. Or a stylish gentle swing shape cardigan featuring zig-zag stitch patterning and a stand-up collar.

Photos credits  Garment: James Brittain,  Building / Structures : Fiona Ellis


featured in the Winter 2014 issue of Twist Collective.

​So one day when I was making a sub set of my photos I was struck by how often I am drawn to stair step type patterns. For somebody who loves asymmetry as much as I do I find it amusing that I am drawn to the even & mostly equal repetition of lines in stair step patterns. Although I do like photos of them that are taken off centre.

We often refer to the way we try to avoid the stair- step look in patterning that knitting produces. So t
hese types of patterns are a no-brainer because they work with the very nature of a knitted stitch.

But how do you keep the beauty of the repetition without it becoming boring and static?  One way is to set them on the diagonal, where the line then become a zig-zag. This makes them feel dynamic and active, something that I think of as being somewhat masculine in feel, especially when compared to how soft undulating lines produce a gentle feminine over all look. 

In my most recent design work I have been trying to incorporate techniques that we tend to find used more with woven fabric than with knit fabric. What I call dressmaker details; pleats, buttoned cuffs etc. So for Parapet I thought it would be fun to juxtapose the strong dynamic lines of a zig-zag pattern with soft feminine gathers. 

The gathers in the back give a fullness that leads to the slight swing shape, combined with the stand-up collar (also borrow from woven fabric construction) makes it feel more like a softly tailored jacket rather than a cardigan. The tiny gathers at the crown of the sleeve also give fullness to the cap while keeping the sleeve slim throughout the arm. The overall silhouette was drawn from empire line gowns which were fashionable at the turn of the 19th century - a style that I love. If you were to ask me why I based Parapet on this style I would probably have to confess that it’s probably because I watch lots of films based on Jane Austen books…especially if Colin Firth happens to be in them. Cough. Ahem. Cough.