With summer just around the corner now is the perfect time to get to work on a beautiful and fun new piece for your wardrobe. The Rose Sorbet Tank by Krystalle Diaz is knit in our scrumptious Valley Yarns Longmeadow, a blend of cotton and microfiber that is ideal for warm-weather knits. This lovely and delicate tank starts as a top down shawl, so you get the beautiful centered lace panel, and is then joined in the round to complete the body of the piece. Top it off with a couple quick straps and you’ve got a super cute summer top!
We asked Krystalle to tell us a bit about herself and her work.
When did you learn to knit?
I learned to knit when I was 12, from a book I begged my mom to buy me from the fabric store. I had always admired knitting and wanted to learn, but something about that day- maybe the book cover featuring happy kids making these fantastic sweaters- made me actually want to sit down and learn! I convinced her to get me a crochet hook, a pair of knitting needles, the book, and a cheap ball of acrylic, and began a six month journey of frustration and constant giving up. Those six months include the time it took to read the book, get the guts to start, tear out my swatches, and repeat the cycle for about a month, a long break in between of stuffing everything into the corner of my bedroom, and getting it out again to suddenly find that everything “clicked”! I could cast on 20 stitches and knit the same number without accidentally decreasing or increasing for a full square, I could purl and knit, and I could increase and decrease! After that it was just a natural progression of trying new things to knit.
What prompted you to start designing?
I can’t ever follow directions. I don’t think I ever followed a pattern. My first garment was only loosely based off a shrug in a pattern book I have- I used the pattern to determine my cast on number, then promptly proceeded to ignore almost everything else. I still wear that dress every year, and except for some awkward bunching at the sleeves, which I did block out eventually, it is a beautiful and serviceable garment. I’m not sure how I got onto crazy things like lace and such- probably my love of shawl knitting.
Give us a glimpse into your design process, where/how do you find inspiration?
I’m always doodling designs in several sketchbooks. When I do decide to actually make on a reality, it typically starts with the yarn, then a gathering of a inspirational images, which can be anything from fashion photographs to nature photography, depending on the design. I will usually doodle several ideas on the sides of a page, then sketch the final concept and put notes on it. Then I swatch, keeping detailed notes on my computer, and eventually I will turn that swatch into a finished piece.
Tell us about your design aesthetic.
I never thought about it until now, but it’s quite feminine and classy. I love 80s, Victorian, and roaring 20s fashions especially, and emblems and inspirations from these constantly creep into my designs, whether in the stitch pattern or the silhouette. I think there may also be something of a seaside cottage look to the designs I’ve actually published and made available, too- something very nature-y but decidedly boutique-like.
What did you love about the Valley Yarn you worked with?
I have deliberately avoided working with plant fibers the entirety of my knitting and crochet repertoire, unless they are blended with silk or wool. So working with Longmeadow was a learning experience, since it is a microfiber and cotton blend. And much to my joy, I did not hate it! I was surprised by how soft it was, and that it did not hurt my hands as I knit with it. It had good stitch definition, which for me is always a plus, given my lace and cable obsession. The only real hurdle I had to conquer was blocking- I had to steam block my design to get it to even out and lay flat, but I did enjoy seeing the transformation take hold.
In bright beachy colors, like purple haze and willow, Valley Yarns Longmeadow is a wonderful yarn for light layers. Knit the Rose Sorbet Tank and wear it with a strappy sundress, or a cami and shorts and stay cool and stylish all summer long! Which color will you choose?