Knightsbridge Collection Feature / Hawkes: evolution of a design

For the next couple of weeks we'll be profiling the designers featured in the Knightsbridge Collection with some insight into their process, tips + tricks about their garment or accessory, fun interviews, and other little tid-bits. We hope you enjoy getting to know the Kelbourne Woolens team and contributing designers. To view the full pattern line, check out the Knightsbridge Collection on Ravelry here. 

Today, we're delighted to have talented (and supremely interesting - melon farmer? Latin scholar? NASA employee?!) Hilary Smith Callis give us a little insight into the evolution of her gorgeous design, Hawkes.

HSC: When I start designing a new piece, sometimes the inspiration comes from a stitch pattern, sometimes it comes from something I’ve seen in a magazine, sometimes it comes from an idea I’ve pulled out of thin air...but most often, it’s a combination of all of those. This was certainly the case for Hawkes, my design for the Knightsbridge collection, and the design made such a drastic transformation from start to finish that I thought I’d share a little bit of my process and how I ultimately landed on the sweater that it became.

When the Knightsbridge call for submissions came out, I was struck by the beautiful mood board – lots of texture, interesting shapes, modern takes on old classics. I pulled out some random stash yarn and started swatching some of the really texturey patterns that had caught my eye the last time I’d looked through my Barbara Walkers. One that had particularly struck me was the Twin Rib (from Ms. Walker’s second Treasury). 

I fell hard for the deep ribbing and how it looked combined with garter stitch – and, as a bonus, it was a pattern that was simple to execute. This is always a plus when you know you’ll be adding shaping for multiple sizes. But then I realized that my stash yarn was 100% wool, and Knightsbridge (which was so new I didn’t have any on hand) contained llama and silk as well. The closest I could come up with was a slightly lighter weight camel/silk blend, which was not the same as Knightsbridge, but I wanted to make sure that a yarn with silk wouldn’t completely change the look of the stitch pattern.

Luckily, I still liked it.

Now, at the time of the Call, I was wearing a lot of open-fronted cardigans, so that was the first idea I sketched out. Thinking Twin Rib all over, simple raglan shaping, garter stitch cuffs, and a huge, cushy, garter stitch collar. Cozy!

But....meh. This was not a modern take on a timeless classic, and I just wasn’t feeling it. So I went back to the inspiration bank. I looked through my book of (literally) cut-and-pasted magazine inspiration and came across this lady from an article about a renovated loft in a home décor magazine – isn’t she cool? 

At first, I skipped right over her. Her top was so simple, no texture, and the colorblocking was what I’d cut out the picture for. That wasn’t really what I was looking for. But then I took a second look. What if, instead of colorblocking, I did some “texture-blocking”? Use one color, but do Stockinette stitch on the top and the Twin Rib on the bottom. The sweater could be a simple shape, maybe even boxier with some ease, move up the “blocking” on the body to meet that of the sleeves, and...

Yes. Much better. It was a winding road, but in the end, I’m thrilled with what Hawkes became!

Thanks, Hilary, for sharing your design process with us! 

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If you love this post on the Knightsbridge Collection, check out our other features here.