Dec 19, 2015 :: by Leila Raabe
We're still swooning over Carrie Bostick Hoge's book, Swoon Maine. My copy is already showing signs of wear from being looked through over and over again. It's rare to queue an entire book of patterns, isn't it? And yet there are so many I just cannot wait to get started on.
This weekend we're featuring a two-part series on Swoon: Today, Carrie joins us to talk a bit about the project, itself.
Tomorrow, we'll highlight the patterns worked in Quince yarns. Carrie, along with designer friends Mary Jane Mucklestone, Cecily Glowik MacDonald, and yours truly, will talk a little more about the designs we each contributed to the project.
If you know Carrie's work, you're familiar with her unparalleled photography, always a treat for the eyes. She kindly shared with us the imagery used throughout both posts.
- How did the idea for this project first come about?
I first came up with the idea for Swoon Maine when I was sitting in my studio, looking out the window, daydreaming, instead of working on Anthology 3, as I intended to. All the yarns were lined up, and my ideas sketched out for this third book, but somehow I lacked the inspiration to swatch and then write the patterns. My second child, Sigrid, was only a few months old and though I was completely thrilled she had arrived at long last, I was overwhelmed and was having a hard time juggling work and two children. I’m sure my lack of sleep was related to my lack of focus!
I found that my heart wandered to a different type of book. I knew I wanted to work on Anthology 3 at some point but this wasn’t the time, and I decided to be kind to myself and switch gears. I think, actually, it was the photographer in me that wanted to work on a book that had more images, as Swoon does. The work just started to flow so much easier once I allowed myself the freedom to explore a different kind of project, and though the book took many twists and turns as it took shape, I knew I was on the right track when it was so much easier to be productive on this project.
- A book like this does seem like quite the undertaking to coordinate and execute—can you give us a small glimpse into the process behind a project like this, from start to completion?
It is a lot of project management and work, but so rewarding when it is finally done. The beginning of the process is all about color palette, yarn selection, and sketching out designs. Then the pattern writing begins, and the knitting, of course. I use a few talented knitters who help make some of the samples, so this is always an interesting process. I swatch all the details and then imagine the entire sweater in my head (and sketched out) and then I turn this into a written pattern. It takes a lot of concentration! I used to feel guilty that I didn’t knit all my own samples, but honestly, I’m a slow knitter—and a fussy knitter at that. I love to work on the samples when I can, but I no longer feel badly when I hire this out, as it is so great working with and learning from my sample knitters.
Once the pieces are finished, I find the models, choose the locations, and begin to schedule the photo shoots (and re-schedule, if I can, based on the weather). Though working on the photography is one of my favorite parts, I’m always relieved once the images are created, as this is when the book really begins to take shape. The patterns are tech edited, then laid out, and proofed. The front of Swoon took weeks of tinkering. I had thousands of images to work with! Then, off to the printer, and then out in the world, which is always a good feeling.
- What else is in the works for Madder?
Oh, I have a few fun projects planned...one of which is a zine I’m putting together for next year...stay tuned for more!
Thank you, Carrie! We're very excited to hear there is a zine in the works!
Come back to the blog tomorrow for part 2, where we discuss some of the many wonderful patterns in Swoon Maine.