Panels 1 – knitblocks 1

Can’t promise panels without beginning to think them up at least, so here comes first edition, feel free to join in with your own splendid ideas, please.

NO NO this is NOT what I’m talking about!

As mentioned I see two things happening in my knitting: simplifying shapes and designs even more, as in go back to drop shoulders rather than some form of set in type, and more of a one-size fits all instead of current measurements and a shaped waist, because let’s face it, it’s probably not coming back. Instead better drape and flow in the form of looser stitches. Handspun/handdyed yarns in garter or stockinette; for uniform yarns perhaps simple stitch combinations such as moss, brioche, and other repetitive variations on knit/purl to make it interesting.

And this is where panels come in. To find the desired amount of drape, samples must be knit. Make them bigger means perhaps you don’t have to unravel them, why not keep and stitch them up? Felt and see how that feels? This idea works up to the point of A: using strips of varying drape together and B. all that stitching which I clearly don’t adore… Yes, you can see I write my blog posts as a way of thinking out loud, not as the end product of thorough study. Time saved not unravelling + time spent sewing = not worth it?

This yarn calls for 4-4½ m needles. I knit quite loosely, so I’d normally pick 3½-4 or I’d consider the fabric holey and very stretchy. Well, this time I picked 5 and we’ll see how that turns out. 50% Cotton means it will shrink, right now I think it looks terrible.

Next question: Would anybody wear a garment like that or are all the strips destined for blankets and tote bags (not so good with loose knits)? Let’s find out! I write down stitch combinations in a grid that is visual in nature, imagine seeing the front of the fabric and the P’s as purl bumps, not instructions (because if you knit every second row from the back and read it literally, you’ll get them backwards) This is as far as I go with pattern making other than scribbled numbers on the margins of anything. Works a charm when you pick up your UFO two years later. (not)

strikkediagramMore elaborate methods of making interesting fabric (to make up for the simple shape of garments) could be: I get enough counting therapy (works like a kind of meditation if you disciplin yourself a bit) when I weave, so knitting is typically for being around other people now that my sciatica doesn’t need as much sitting as last year. No lace patterns for me, or anything that requires keeping track, so I don’t know when I’ll look deeply into this method, but I’d love to see the results from those of you who have. Such interesting textures to be found there.

Texture created by alternating stripes of one thread and double. All seed stitch, linen yarn, huge needles.
Texture created by alternating stripes of one thread and double. All seed stitch, linen yarn, huge needles.

So for now the plan is making A: random pattern patches in random yarns to be used wherever, (small handspun samples get a chance to shine) B: planned pattern strips or patches with a specific garment in mind to be constructed around them. This would work really well when you don’t have enough of one yarn to make a complete garment but are really fed up with various colour striping sequences as I have been for a while. Agan, handspun; spinning sweater quantities of one yarn is not happening any time soon.


Most likely is that panel designs will incorporate more weaving than knitting however, on further analysis of the situation – so many weave patterns to try. More on that later – much later in fact, as I’m in the middle of an endless piece of yardage in 30/2 cotton. (for the uninitiated that means many, many, many passes of the shuttle to weave just 10 cm) But then I did say in the first post that I’d spend all of the coming winter pursuing this topic, so don’t panic. Woven samples, reconstructed t-shirts, mending, embellishing, revisiting the topic of combining it all. Come and watch me fumble. 😉

leftover poncho samples
leftover poncho yarn samples

So many beautiful designs out there, so many clever people having done all this much much better before me, why reinvent hot water you ask? Because process. I can’t explain it, I love eye candy but I fall asleep following instructions.

Back in the late 80’s I designed some sweaters. With texture – and panels! So it seems I’ve circled right back. I sometimes wonder where I’d been if I’d just kept on track rather than spend 30 years on other weird life stuff which has also led nowhere in particular.  😉

I’ll keep adding to my Panels Pinterest board in search for inspiration (while I keep mucking about with my own weird scrap yarn ideas)

Easy access to the whole Panels debate, once it happens. I think we’ll be looking at some of those t-shirts next, but I have several posts in mind for those since I can’t do it all in one batch.

5 thoughts on “Panels 1 – knitblocks 1

  1. Would anybody wear such garments… Well personally no, because I mostly like plain things – my idea of perfect woollens at the moment are the cardigans and poncho sweater worn by the art gallery daughter in The Legacy (as its a Danish programme I’m hoping you might know who I mean).

    But a panelled poncho type sweater might be interesting?
    As woven garments I think these have more potential, but I’m not you! And I think we have very different taste, as well as radically different body shapes – I’m 5’7″, British pear shape, of pretty average weight, but with hefty thighs.

    1. I just had a bit of a giggle because perhaps you looked at my Pinterest board and thought those were the things I’d like to make. Nuh uh, noway. They’re more of a collection of different uses of panels, not a reflection of my taste!

  2. I’ve come back because I had a thought – you’ve diagrammed something similar above – a boxy jumper with very dropped, square shoulders, then more fitted sleeves, that would be great panelled.

    I have to think through these things for a while It seems!

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts – this is the kind of feedback I love to get, not just praise and validation (although those are nice too of course where they belong).

      You address a conundrum of my own – I too like to wear muted single colours and simple, classic lines on my own 5’2″ frame. But my eyes love an abundant palette and it’s so much more FUN to create things with stunning contrasts, inspired by mexican patterns or whatever. Spinning and dyeing yarns in just greys and rust, well, I think you know what I mean. Sweater after sweater in charcoal stockinette – they can look fantastic, but making one is quite boring. I love classic tweeds too, but in weaving I keep wanting to take detours and try things. I do the same when I cook, so apparently I can’t help it. 😉

      I originally decided on the panel theme because of the cutting up of old clothes – then it escalated. One option could be panels of texture, but the same colour on the one item. I’ve also considered, if my patchwork t-shirts become too embarrassing, to dye them and make the patchwork more a thing of seams, not colour.

      I haven’t seen the show you mentioned btw, although I’m aware that it exists.

      Anyway, it will be interesting to see where this goes. I didn’t want to spend a year in secret “developing a brand”, THEN write about it, it’s more fun to share along the way and just experiment. It’s after all very unlikely I’ll be starting an haute couture salon…

      1. I like the idea of panels of texture, and share your dislike of acres of stocking stitch – unless it’s colour work- I’m currently knitting a sleeveless sweater in stocking stitch on 3.5mm in the round. The rows are endless!

        I hope you keep enjoying experimenting, anyway!

Add a comment: