If you’re getting sick of seeing these photos and hearing me ramble on about my latest design, I’m sorry. It’s just that I’m really, really excited about it! The TEJEDA sweater is my first ever garment design that I’m truly happy with — many earlier garments got frogged relentlessly — so I guess it’s worth celebrating. (Not that I need anything to celebrate to drink wine on a beach.) Anyway, today I share some bits and pieces about how this design came to be.
ME DURING SUNSET ON THE BEACH, WEARING THE FIRST VERSION OF THE TEJEDA SWEATER
Since the early beginnings of Chain Twenty, I dreamed of designing, knitting and selling chunky sweaters. There’s something about chunky sweaters that I just can’t resist when shopping. Not good for my wallet, but oh so good for my comfort during Fall and Winter (or during sunsets on the beach). Chunky sweaters are quick to knit up as well, so I figured it would make the perfect first-sweater-design-project. Or actually second, or third, or fourth, I don’t even know, because I’ve tried lighter weight garments as well and that wasn’t a good choice time-investment-wise.
Anyway, I had quite a lot of leftover Topinambur yarn from my SALOBRE blanket design and U/Knit Lab and I decided to make the most use out of that by collaborating again. So, they send me some gorgeous blue Topinambur to turn TEJEDA into a color block sweater. Fun fact, btw: Topinambur is a merino wool from SPAIN. Olé!
I had a very simple design in mind. On the one hand because that is the logical thing to do when you’re a beginner garment designer, but on the other hand also because that’s just what I love when it comes to fashion. TEJEDA had to be oversized, without difficult shaping, and (almost) completely in stockinette stitch. I didn’t want it to have a dropped shoulder, because I find that tends to look weird and bulky with too heavy a fabric. So I adopted a shoulder shape design like that of my Long Island sweater. To make TEJEDA look a bit more interesting than a regular sweatshirt, I wanted it to have a statement, half-turtleneck collar, that stands up on its own.
Looking back, I should’ve done all my calculations beforehand, but instead, I wrote down all the details of the design while I was knitting it. I got super, super lucky that it worked out almost completely with the first try (something that didn’t happen with my previous designs). The collar was the only thing I had to redo several times (and still got a bit tweaked in the final pattern). Naturally, since that’s the most eye catching part of the sweater, it just had to be perfect.
And finally, after more than half a year of letting this design marinate in my head, in my sketchbook, and on the needles, it was there. All done and exactly how I envisioned it. I think now I truly get how exciting and addictive designing knitwear really is. Writing up the pattern in its final form is, however, not my favorite part of all of this. Making some seemingly simple tweaks to the pattern required me to reknit some parts or draw them out on squared paper entirely.
And when it was finally done, many of my potential testers asked for different sizes, while I wasn’t planning on getting my hands dirty with grading yet. However, they were right, and — so I figured — I have to learn how to grade patterns anyway, so why not now? I researched it online, got incredibly inspired and motivated for new garment designs, and graded the pattern in a day and a half. And it wasn’t that bad. At least, I hope so, because my test knitters are testing it as we speak, and I’m here praying they don’t get into trouble. 😉
This first TEJEDA sweater, in its perfectly yet-not-completely-perfect state, is now for sale in my Etsy shop. I’ve priced it accordingly, aka it’s cheap, because it’s the first of its kind. A little over a month from now, I’ll release the pattern, just in time for the colder weather. And soon after, I’ll start selling hand knitted TEJEDA sweaters out of my own hand dyed yarn! For those interested, I’ll probably also list some pre-order yarn kits for it, like I did for The Weekender sweater. (In case you missed it, I’m co-hosting a KAL for that pattern).
I hope you guys are looking forward to the release of this pattern / sweater / yarn kit as much as I am! If so, make sure to sign up for my newsletter, so you don’t miss out on any updates. And now I feel like going to the beach in a cozy sweater with a bottle of wine. >< Bye!