Artwork That Became A Book: Michele’s Mood Boards

Note from Sandi: Walking into the book editors's offices is always a fun break in the day–they tend to have interesting bits and bobs that belong to upcoming books–or books that might be upcoming books if we accept the author's proposal. One day, I walked back there and saw the most amazing things: several large boards that looked like a talented giant's journal pages. The boards were covered with knitted samples, seashells, handmade papers, photographs, sketches, leaves, feathers, and I-can't-even-describe-what-all. They were riveting, the kind of thing that makes you want to sit down and study them, so you can see each and every little wondrous treasure. I found out that those boards, with all their tiny treasures carefully and artfully laid out, were actually a book proposal–a proposal that later became Michele Rose Orne's book Inspired to Knit. As I read through the book, I realized that I wanted to ask Michele to share her original proposal artwork with you…and she graciously agreed to do so.


Boards That Became a Book
by Michele Rose Orne

One of the things I learned when I wrote Inspired to Knit was that it is impossible to stuff 360 pages worth of information into 160 pages worth of space!  Fortunately for me, Sandi has graciously allowed me to be a “guest-blogger” for a day to give you a bit more info on the behind the scenes makings of my designs and my book!  Thanks Sandi!

I have always loved reading the behind the scenes stories of other designers, artists, and creative folks in general.  The idea to share my own personal design process evolved after I submitted a series of my own “mood boards” to Interweave, presenting a somewhat different book idea altogether.  As a designer for the garment industry for many years, I used these kinds of mood or “story boards” when I would “pitch” ideas for a “line” of sweaters to retail buyers.  Though common in the garment industry, this type of presentation was apparently an anomaly in the world of handknitting!  So when 15 color-saturated, elaborate boards filled with swatches, sketches and other images arrived at the Interweave offices, they created a bit of a stir!  Even for non-designer types, I always believe that just about everyone can be inspired when presented with a colorful, visual presentation!  
The main thing that creating these boards allows me to do is to gather my thoughts and then focus in on several possible outcomes for any given theme.  Rather than plowing through a pile of magazines or torn out scraps of “stuff”, I can gather common colors or design elements into a little story.  This allows for more possible designs to emerge within a given “flavor”, rather than committing to just one idea right from the get-go. 
You can build your own mood boards to see your own preferences in color or silhouette emerging.  Just as Sandi’s recent exercise in creating a color wheel out of her stash colors led her to realize certain things about her preferences in color, by building a mood board, you might realize that you tend be drawn to certain ranges of colors and certain types of garment shapes.  You can then translate these “personal trends” into your own designs or use them to personalize published patterns!  
I am attaching photos of a couple of my original mood boards that went to Interweave.  Mine are put together mostly by color themes.  There are loads of “tear sheets” from magazines on my boards.  Although, we’re not copying things here folks – just drawing inspiration from them.) You may recognize some of the swatches on the original boards that ended up becoming projects in the book or went on to be in Knits magazine.  Sources of inspiration abound everywhere!! 
I feel very strongly that each and every knitter has the potential to become their own designer.  My book was a means of sharing just a small glimpse into my own personal design process, in the hopes of inspiring each of you to “think outside the box” a bit!  The desire to knit, in and of itself, implies a creative spirit.  If you are creative enough to want to knit, I bet that you have the creative spark to come up with your own designs.  I just think that most knitters don’t possess knowledge of how to collect their ideas and then turn them into a garment.  The 4 workshops in my book start to touch on this process of designing your own knits.  I am hoping to go into greater detail, for you budding designers out there, either online or possibly in a future book (?!)  Meanwhile, I know you all can find loads of inspiration all around you.  Have fun channeling this creative energy into your own mood boards and swatches and hopefully maybe even trying your hand at creating your own unique design!
I hope you are inspired!
Best Wishes –


Read an excerpt from Inspired to Knit about how to create your own mood boards
then join our online Mood Board Project & KnitAlong. And if you want to purchase your own copy of the book Inspired to Knit, you can do that, too! But please remember to support your local yarn shop–check with them to see if they have a copy before you order online!

Check out the Michele Rose Orne patterns in our Knitting Daily store: Equinox Yoke Pullover, Bianca's Jacket, Clementine Shawlette, Cobweb Lace Stole, Molly Ringwald, Poinsettia, Composed Mitts

Sandi Wiseheart is the editor of Knitting Daily. Packing trumps knitting right now, unfortunately, but I'm valiantly trying to have the Camisa, worked in String of Pearls yarn from Muench (prettypretty not to mention sparklysparkly!) done before I leave for Canada. (Canada countdown? 12 days till we get there!)

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