I have been loving the tropical prints that are in the shops at the moment and have fallen in love with a pair of trousers from Mango and so i decided to design a top to go with them. I wanted the top to be lightweight so I decided to use Rowan Panama as it is light to wear and gives a really good drape to the garment as I wanted the top to have a laid back feel. Because its a summer top I wanted to add some interest so I made the back of the top in two pieces which will overlap but gives the garment some movement. For the front I really wanted to improve my skills at designing fair isle patterns and so I have decided to create a palm tree to knit which will match the trousers.
For garments with different shaping I always like to create a paper pattern for them so that when I am knitting I can make sure that the shape is correct as I go along. For example, the bottom of the back is curved and so i used the pattern to make sure that the curve with nice and smooth instead of knitting an amount and having to undo it because I’ve increased to quickly or not enough.
When designing the palm tree I decided to use a mixture of Photoshop and Illustrator. There are loads of websites out there that show you how to create fair isles in excel or other specially designed knitwear programmes but I always find these different to understand. I have made a step by step below of how I worked it out which might be helpful to you.
1. Firstly, I picked an image of what I wanted (a palm tree)
2. I then put it into photoshop and made it smaller
3. Then I enaged the image to roughly 800% its orignal size. The aim is to get the image to pixilate so play around with this depending on your image.
4. I then create a grid in illustrator made up of squares to the size of the tension of yarn I am using. This will make sure that the image comes out the right size when you knit it.
5. I then put the image of the palm tree behind the grid and coloured in the squares to create the outline
6. After this I used the image as a guide and coloured in the rest of the squares
7. I printed it out and placed in on the pattern piece that I had made to make sure that it was the right size
8. Then begins the knitting !
I hope this is helpful to you and if you have any questions please comment and I’ll try and answer them.