Deep Stash Thoughts is a series of posts explaining profession design processes and tools, and how you can use them to get great results in your knitting, sewing, and other creative endeavors. DST posts appear on Fridays when I don't have f.o.s to share.
In the last post, I wrote about how to set design goals and make a mood board. Today, I'll cover how to use your mood board to create a design language.
"Design Language" is a funny term that you hear a lot in professional design environments (e.g. "the design language for this collection is embroidered florals in bold colors, with antique metallic finishes on all hardware, and translucent layered looks").
Defining design language includes identifying the most important elements, looking at how the elements relate to one another, and assessing how they express the over-all mood or theme of a design.
So why is this important for knitters?
The temptation to wear all your new favorite knitted things together, at the same time, without regard for how they look together, is very real. It's a great way to mortify teenage children and/or publicly identify yourself as the kind of crazy knitter that other humans want to slowly back away from.
With a teensy bit of planning and the help of your mood board, you can easily avoid the all-the-knits-at-once-fashion-faux-pas by defining your design language and planning accordingly.
Step 1: Identify your most important design elements. Think about things like silhouette, texture, pattern, material, fit, color, and finish for trims.
Here are my design elements for Fall and Winter knitting (my Autumn Sweater Project):
Silhouettes & Fit: Fitted sweaters and vests with some negative ease for layering. Long outer layers with positive ease. Knee-high socks. Shallow triangular scarves and shawls. Fingerless mitts.
Textures: Stockinette and Garter.
Pattern: Stripes for socks and accessories, no all-over patterns on garments.
Material: Wool. Mostly DK weight, handspun used as accents.
Key Neutral colors: Light Grey, Dark Grey, Dark Brown
Accent colors: Gold, Red-Orange, Hot Pink, Peacock Blue, Indigo, Plum.
Trims: Limited use of trims, with natural and muted finishes wherever possible.
Wear it with: Linen smock dresses, layered over long-sleeved tees and leggings, with clogs.
Step 2: Compare and contrast
Once you have your elements defined, you have a design road map. You can use you map to weed out your wardrobe, identify gaps, and easily make decisions about what to knit next.
Falling in love with a new pattern? Check to see if its design elements match your design language.
If it's not a good match, you can adjust unifying elements like color and material, or prepare to wear it on its own.
Next time: Create your own range plan, and make a croquis!