Pattern previews for Laine Issue 8
Take a deeper look into some of the designs fearured in Laine 8.
Marjorie Martin - Lakka
Marjorie Martin’s Lakka cardigan is every bobble lover’s dream! The circular yoke cardigan is worked sideways starting from the right front and finishing at the left front. The ingenuity of the garment makes it hard to believe that Marjorie has designed only a handful of garments thus far. She shared with us the long process from the initial idea to the beautiful cardigan seen on the pages of our issue 8. Here’s what Marjorie told us.
What inspired you to design Lakka?
I find it very interesting to trace the history of a design. What was the very first idea? How did the design take shape after that? A project often needs a long maturation time as the inspiration always comes from multiple sources and the path to a finished design is everything but linear. Lakka was at the back of my mind in its primitive form for about 3 years before I sent my submission to Laine.
Back then I was gathering clothes for my soon-to-be-born child, and I found the cutest little cardigan that had belonged to his father 33 years earlier and had been knitted by his great-grandmother. It was a short-row cardigan worked sideways in simple garter stitch, and I had never seen that kind of a construction before. After making some research I found a few similar patterns, picked up my needles and knitted three of those cardigans in a row. I kept thinking, “Why not create a pattern for adults as well, using this construction?” The proportions wouldn’t be exactly the same but everything could be calculated. I knew I would use stockinette stitch instead of garter stitch and also that this particular construction made it possible to adorn the yoke by using a cable stitch all around the shoulders. Then, I pushed this idea to the back of my mind and forgot about it.
At this stage Lakka was miles away from an actual design, because all I had were just my ideas about the techniques and constructions I would use. To make it a full-fledged design I needed to combine my ideas about the structure and its possibilities with my imagination to find the soul of the garment. Last year, when I saw the mood board for the Laine submission call, I immediately decided that this was the inspirational push I had been looking for. It made me travel through the silent and poetic landscapes of Northern Scandinavia. The mood board gave me the idea to propose something delicate, drawing inspiration from nature. My first idea was to incorporate little lilies of the valley blossoming through the snow in the spring. I had to find a cable stitch pattern to create little crown-like shapes running from left to right and right to left all around the yoke. Finally I found the perfect elegant vintage stitch pattern with bobbles and cables called Nosegay. Originally the design was meant to be called Bouquet, but as I was knitting the sample the bobbles reminded me more of little berries than flowers, and that’s how Bouquet became Lakka (Finnish for ‘cloudberry’).
How similar is the finished design to your original idea?
Even if you’ve done all the calculations and made sure everything works in theory, it still always feels like magic when you start knitting. It was a pure joy to knit the sample because it turned out more beautiful than I could have possibly imagined! Before I picked up my needles to knit the actual sample, I made a lot of swatches and I did all the maths for all the sizes twice! I chose to make the cardigan quite loose with lots of positive ease to make it extra comfy. Originally I had envisioned that the sleeves wouldn’t be as wide, but in the end I love the balloon sleeves!
What did you learn when designing Lakka?
Lakka was my third sweater pattern ever, so it really taught me a lot about designing and writing a pattern. Before this experience everything that goes on behind the scenes of a pattern-editing process for a magazine publication was a total mystery for me. It was a long journey with lots of different phases but I was never alone so I never freaked out! The most enriching part for me was to work together as a team. At first, I had to write the very first draft of the pattern following the Laine Style sheet. For that step, I was constantly in contact with Sini giving me advice. Then the pattern was tech edited by Heli Rajavaara so I exchanged a lot of messages with her. Rewriting the pattern was the most interesting and challenging part of the process. And last but not least, there was the testing part organised and overseen by Tiia. 16 experienced knitters from all around the word volunteered for testing the pattern and they were the best, active and caring group of testers ever. It was such a relief to see that the different sizes fit the testers well and that they were happy with their finished knits. After that I sent out the very last draft of the pattern and my job was done at this point. All in all, what I really learnt is to work together as a team and I’ve enjoyed this aspect of the collaboration so much. It feels hard to work alone again with my self-published patterns!
What does this particular design tell about you as a designer?
Lakka is a great example of how I always try to combine an exciting process to a lovely end product. What I try to do as a designer is to create a nice finished object that is comfortable and easy to wear. However, I also want to go through the entire process, making sure that the knitting itself will be a pleasant experience. For Lakka, because of its unusual construction, every part (back, front, sleeves) are knitted at the same time. It’s intrinsically repetitive, so I tried to ensure that each row is different from the others. On some rows you just have some short rows in stockinette. On another row you have bobbles but no short rows. On the row after that you have cables and short rows, and so on. I like to pay attention to every last detail, and for Lakka, I tried to cover the tracks on how it’s done by having no seams to sew thanks to the provisional cast-on.
What's your favourite thing about Lakka?
I love the texture and the effect of the bobbles, it’s nice to look but also to feel and touch.
How about choosing yarn, what kind of a yarn would you recommend when choosing yarn for Lakka?
Any toothy yarn that gives you the correct gauge would be good, but I think non-superwash wool is great for Lakka because of the stitch definition in the cables and bobbles. I would recommend a light yarn with fluffiness, either one strand of DK weight yarn or a fingering held together with a lace weight mohair to add some texture.
Julie Dubreux - Pasvik Wrap
One of the 11 designs to be featured in issue 8 is the Pasvik wrap, designed by the talented, colourful French knitwear designer Julie Dubreux. Pasvik is warm, practical and versatile – unbuttoned, it is a simple wrap or a couch blanket, buttoned up you can wear it as a shrug or a cardigan. Here’s what Julie told us about creating this design and the inspiration behind it:
What inspired you to design Pasvik?
I love calls for submissions with a specific theme and a mood board: these apparent constraints are such a big source of inspiration for me. I remember the Laine Team had posted about northern landscapes and atmosphere. Northern Scandinavia, to me, means quiet wilderness, fir trees, clear skies and polar lights. I wanted these elements to be included in my design as a way of paying homage to the beauty of Northern Finland.
The name Pasvik came a little later when I showed my design to my Norwegian friends to ask them if they were interested in test knitting this pattern for me. My friend Lotte had the most enthusiastic reaction and told me she definitely had to knit this wrap because it reminded her so much of the village where her brother lives. She sent me pictures and it felt so right to name the wrap Pasvik after this Norwegian village located in the Sápmi region.
How similar is the finished design to your original idea?
It is not always the case but this time my first sketch and the finished design are exactly the same in every way: the fir tree placement, the huge borealis, the symmetrical construction, the added-on ribbing and buttonholes.
I always think about feasibility when I sketch a design idea, so I can actually knit what I sketch. I love this part of designing – the challenge of coming up with the best way to turn an idea into actual knitwear. What construction will I use, how will I shape this piece, what fabric and texture will work best ? This is a very exciting part of the designing process.
What did you learn when designing Pasvik?
When knitting my prototype, I had to rework the purl stitch motif for my borealis curves to look smoother. Extra purl stitches that made the motif look better on paper looked out of place in real life. I got to practice creating Gansey-style textured motifs and explore Gansey traditions, which was fascinating.
How does the design reflect your design aesthetic?
I’m inspired by the shapes and proportions I see on the catwalk, and I often have couture designs in the back of my mind when I design knitwear, and I think it shows in Pasvik.
The Pasvik wrap is both casual and glam. It can be worn at a beach barbecue night or on a red carpet. This is true of most my designs – they are very wearable, casual everyday pieces, but they also have a je-ne-sais-quoi that can be triggered with a bit of attitude ! You can look like a shy girl or a cheeky vamp in my designs – it’s up to you !
What's your favourite way of wearing the wrap?
I am particularly fond of wearing Pasvik as a shrug as I think it showcases the beauty of the textured motif best, and it is particularly comfortable too.
Personally I cannot wait to be wearing it as a huge scarf / cowl and tie it up close around my neck over my winter coat when the weather gets really cold.
How about choosing yarn, what kind of a yarn would you recommend?
Pasvik is meant to be knit in an airy woolen-spun yarn that will give the fabric structure and lots of loft without being too heavy. And of course you need good stitch definition as well.
I chose to work with De Rerum Natura Gilliatt because carded merino is light and airy and very soft to the touch in spite of its rustic look.