Connie Chang Chinchio: Inspired by the Details

A note from Sandi:

This week, we have two new knitting goodies to celebrate: the book Inspired to Knit by Michele Rose Orne, and the new Fall 2008 issue of Knitscene magazine. I thought it might be interesting to ask three Knitscene designers what had inspired them to design and knit their pieces for this issue.

Our final guest poster of the week is Connie Chang Chinchio, designer of the Riding to Avalon hoodie:

I was tickled when I saw that the editors at Knitscene named my hoodie for the Fall/Winter issue the Riding to Avalon hoodie because I was an avid reader of historical fantasy fiction when I was a kid.  Hoodies for me have always evoked cloaks somehow – whether it's the gossamer hood attached to Princess Leia's white Star Wars gown or the elven robes Arwen wears in the Lord of the Rings – there's something utilitarian yet beautiful about them.  For this design, the first element that jumped in my mind was an asymmetrical neckline extending into a hood in a patterned stitch.  I matched that with long sleeve cuffs in the same stitch, closed by buttons like those that fasten the front neck.

This sweater is also the first time I've designed something in the round (at least up to the armholes).  I usually like seams in my garments because I think it gives them stability and structure – especially in drapier, heavier yarns like silk, cotton, or alpaca.  But since the Swirl was 85% merino, I felt it had enough memory to work well in an in-the-round design.  And I must admit that it was nice eliminating some of the seaming that's usually required! 

Since my background is in science, I tend to prefer casual, comfortable clothing.  My design aesthetic  follows that preference and veers towards the simple rather than the ornate.  I like feminine delicate pieces, but pared down to their most basic expression.  Lace is my first love.  It can make a full sized garment feel as light as air, but I also like finely etched texture patterns worked over a small scale.  I think I still fall into the trap of designing what I like to wear, which when taken to its most extreme end, would mean that I would be putting out only stockinette cardigans in ultra-fine gauge yarn.  I enjoy working with small gauge yarns the most because I feel they offer a lot of versatility in terms of fit and design possibilities, but I am starting to appreciate the challenge and art of designing in heavier gauges.  Plus, everyone needs a quick project once in a while!

I am obsessed with knitwear design.  I find myself constantly thinking about it when my mind wanders.  There's something about the color, texture, variety, and beauty of yarn and the fabric it makes that never ceases to fascinate me.  When I'm not knitting, I work in environmental science research studying air pollution.  I keep a blog at 

See more photos of Riding to Avalon (and 32 other great projects in the Fall 2008 Preview of Knitscene magazine!

New to the Free Pattern Library: Seafoam Towels by Ann Budd

Back in the summer of 2001, Ann Budd designed a wonderful set of hand towels using thick, thirsty chenille yarn and an easy all-over lace pattern. These towels, which Ann named the Seafoam Towels, have been one of our most popular and most-asked for patterns over the years after the Summer 2001 issue of Knits sold out. But now, for your summer knitting pleasure: They're Baaaaaack!

Download your copy of the Seafoam Towels and voila! No more agonizing over what to knit your mother-in-law for the holidays. (My own family might find a few of these under their Christmas trees!)

Sandi Wiseheart is the editor of Knitting Daily.

 What's on Sandi's needles? The Camisa, from Knitscene Fall 2006! I finished the Drawstring Raglan, and now I have swatched and cast on for a new summer top, in sparkly, wonderful yarn (String of Pearls from Muench). I'm done with the back waistband, and am now working the back skirt panel. Stay tuned for photos!

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