November 15, 2010

Variations on a leaf, a knitting design.

by Catherine Bayar

There is a saying that "variety is the spice of life". When I'm designing knitwear, variety means experimenting with color, texture and pattern. When I like how a pattern turns out the first time, I'll try that same motif in not only other yarns, but other sizes. Varying the knit gauge can completely reinvent that motif, letting me create several garments quickly, since I only have to remember how to knit that one pattern. 

Shrugs are simple to knit - just a rectangle and two sleeves, which have the leaf on the cuffs, though I  added a smaller dot pattern above just to keep things interesting.

See how the leaf motif changes when I stripe the yarns, even though the gauge is the same.

The shape is the same as the first shrug too, but adding contrasting sleeves makes it appear completely different.

In this version, the gauge goes way overscale - only two repeats cover the entire torso from hip to shoulder.

The sleeves have yet to be completed, but using the flow of the motif gives the front edge of this sweater a lovely wavy cut-away finish.

Taking the scale small produces a delicate effect, quite distinct from the chunkier patterns above.

The garment here has a vintage fitted look, by starting with medium needles at the bottom and going smaller as the garment progresses to the shoulders.

Finally, why only use the pattern vertically, when horizontal works as well?

In the case of this Mobius wrap, circling the body with these flowing shapes creates yet another take on leafy variety.  All these garments will be posted to my Etsy site, just as soon as I can get my niece to model them for me. Though I can still think of more variations of this pattern, it's time to turn a new leaf!

Catherine Bayar is spending the winter dreaming up ways to translate traditional Turkish handcrafts into modern works of art…read more here


  1. BRAVO Catherine :) Very pretty !!!

  2. Wonderful this leave themed post on the TAFA blog. The photographs are fantastic, you really get a sense of the delicate yet strong structure of knitworl. Lovely!

  3. Thank you both! I love how lace knit in chunky yarn looks - exactly, right Judith, delicate and strong. Getting photos right is challenging because they never do convey the texture and lovely weighty feel.

  4. So, when you start a knitting project, I imagine you kind of know what you will end up with, right? But, there does seem to be a surprise element here. Do you just stop when it "feels" right?

    I don't knit, but understand the basics of it. Working with patterns like the leaf really add interest to the design, but it must also make it a lot more challenging if you are not working from a pattern...

  5. Rachel, I frequently have no idea what I'll end up with. The fitted cardigan started as a wrap, but I had lots of that yarn, and it has a slinky, almost stretchy 'hand' that was more apparent as I knit, so 'it wanted' to be more than just a rectangle. I make things up as I go, with frequent changes - yes, as it feels right. The challenge is remembering how I did them so I can later write the pattern. It would help to keep notes. Discipline!


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