September 22nd, 2015

Design Inspiration with Fiona Ellis – a study of lines

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For the blog post this month I’m not going to be exactly “changing tack” but hoping to show you another way that I look at the lines formed by cables. If you have read my blog posts in previous months then you already know about my photo collection. This month I want to show you some photos that I have taken which I think show how a simple line or lines can become really interesting.

Design inspiration for Fiona Ellis, WEBS 2015 Designer in Residence. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Firstly here is a definition of how line is seen as a design principle- taken from an exhibition at the Cooper Hewitt Museum that I saw earlier this year.

Design inspiration for Fiona Ellis, WEBS 2015 Designer in Residence. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

When I spot an example of interesting lines I try to move around the subject and take several photos from different angles trying to get shots that play with the way that the lines interact with each other. Here are just a few of them. Do you notice that the carpet pattern (bottom right) combines some of the same combinations of lines as the railway tracks? (by the way it was a dis-used track- I don’t want you to think I was risking my safety to get the shot). The photo in the top left corner is about parallel lines, I love how the spacing between each changes throughout the image.

Design inspiration for Fiona Ellis, WEBS 2015 Designer in Residence - Changing Tack pullover. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Spending some time out in Vancouver by the ocean I started looking at the patterns “drawn” by vessels moving across the water. Now I must admit these observations didn’t become much more than a kernel of an idea. So rather than coming up with my own cable pattern, or re-inventing the wheel, I went back to one of my all time favourite already established cables. This is the smaller one used in Changing Tack. I love how this one zigs back & forth with each cord moving at a slightly different speed to allow them to cross over each other. It reminds me of watching a yacht tack into the wind. Not moving in a straight direct line from A to B, but zig-zaging, all the while aiming towards a specific point. This is where this sweater got its name.

If you have been following my work you will know that I love asymmetry. I know that it doesn’t appeal to everybody and that in some people it can cause him or her to shudder – I’ve seen it happen. But I couldn’t let my year as Designer in Residence go by without including an asymmetric design. So I decided that it needed to be an exercise in subtle asymmetry, one that might even tempt those lovers of symmetry.

Design inspiration for Fiona Ellis, WEBS 2015 Designer in Residence - Changing Tack pullover. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Changing Tack has the patterning arranged so that an even number of small cables is divided, but not in half (symmetrically), rather three placed on once side of the larger cable and just one on the other side. Then I played with the larger cable, changing another tired and true pattern, changing it so that it is no longer symmetrical about the horizontal axis, the upper section does not mirror what happens in the previous rows. I hope that these playful tweaks give just the air of asymmetry without being wildly so. By the way if even this challenges your love of pure symmetry you can always work the pattern by placing two small cables either side of the larger one and mirroring the lower (or upper) section of the larger cable.

I can’t wait to show you what I’m working on for the November pattern release!

Sara

Sara

Marketing Coordinator at WEBS - America's Yarn Store
Sara learned to knit and crochet as a child and added spinning and weaving to her skills after being hired at WEBS in 2006. While crochet is her #1 love, she is also very fond of her husband and their 2 daughters.
Sara

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