Interview with Meghan Jones, Designer of the Pebble Beach Tunic, Creative Knitting, July 2011
Creative Knitting magazine, July 2011

 

The Pebble Beach Tunic, designed by the multitalented Meghan Jones, graces the cover of the July 2011 issue of Creative Knitting magazine. This stunning design is featured in Corntastic by Kollage. Meghan has so generously taken some time out of her busy schedule to discuss the inspiration behind this captivating design.

Kara: What inspired you to design this lovely piece that now graces the cover of the July issue?

Pebble Beach Proposal,
Creative Knitting, July 2011

Meghan: This design was inspired by the rocky beaches of the British Columbia Shuswap region that I visited every summer since childhood. I would often spend many hours at the edge of a small creek near Sicamous watching the water lap the stones and change their colors from pale beige to sparkling browns, reds and silver. The water theme for this issue immediately made me think of that bubbling creek and the way the ebb and flow of the water would create textures and patterns around the rocks.

Kara: What kind of skills do you think a knitter should have before they embark on this project?
Meghan: I think that a knitter should have a basic comprehension of short rows, how to work intarsia and have some practice working Kitchener’s stitch. They should also be interested in unconventional garment construction.


Kara: Can you explain why you used short rows, and how they enhance your design?

Kara: Your design is considered an experienced level project. This can sometimes intimidate knitters, even though they are probably ready to tackle a project such as this. What words of encouragement would you give someone wanting to make this piece?

Meghan: Many areas of this garment are very simple; there are large areas of stockinette stitch with a seed stitch border. The lace panel is only a four row repeat and all the increases and decreases use k2tog and ssk. The experienced rating comes from the intarsia and the Kitchener’s seam at the end.
Intarsia may seem intimidating at first. Once you work the lace panel for a few rows it is very simple to memorize, and since it always changes color at the same stitch, it becomes rather intuitive. If a knitter is worried about wrapping tension, I would recommend practicing braiding with the yarn you are going to knit with. The best thing to remember is that you don’t want to make the wrap so tight that it pinches the knitting, it should be just slightly tighter than the knitting itself.
The final seam is indeed a Kitchener’s seam which can also be intimidating; however, perfection once again comes down to tension and practice. The seam takes place right beside the back neckline border of the seed stitch and so any minor tension issues can be disguised by the seed stitch areas. If a knitter is nervous about this seam, I would recommend running a very thin (perhaps buttonhole thread) lifeline through each side. Then, if the grafting turns out perfectly, the lifeline can be removed. If the knitter wishes to redo the grafting, it is simple enough to undo and still have all the stitches ready to go. The only thing a knitter loses when redoing something is time, but I guarantee they’ll always gain experience.

Kara: I’d like to talk a little about the yarn you used. What was your experience working with Corntastic by Kollage?

Meghan: My local yarn shop has a great selection of Kollage and I was smitten with Corntastic in the color combination of the Smokey Quartz and Apatite. I found the yarn lovely to work with. It’s very smooth and shows the lace pattern very well, and the drape is to die for! I did not find it to split, which can often be a problem with yarns for warmer weather, and it blocks really well without stretching or dulling the sheen.
Corntastic by Kollage
Kara: When did you first learn how to knit, and do you have fond memories about how you were taught?

Meghan: I first learned to knit when I was pregnant with my first daughter Abigail about five and a half years ago. My husband was deployed to Iraq, and I was living in Edmonton AB Canada with my parents. It was the middle of January, and I was cold after having spent the last half a year in Texas with my husband. All I wanted to do was cuddle under a blanket and make something warm for my new baby. My mom taught me the basic knit and purl stitch, and I embarked upon a fingering weight stockinette sweater in acrylic. It took me several weeks and the most important thing I learned was that simple knitting was not my cup of tea. My second project was a cabled jacket pattern by Zoë Mellor and that was the beginning of this grand adventure I have been on for the past few years.

Kara: When it comes to designing, can you describe how you begin the process to generate ideas—do you sketch first, and then swatch, or vice versa?

Meghan: When I am designing, it usually starts in my mind with a design element that I am interested in using. This can be a certain yarn that I want to work with, a stitch pattern that I’m interested in or a certain silhouette. When the inspiration hits, I often mull it over for several days. I then completely “knit” the garment in my mind, working out the order and areas of color, stitch combinations, etc., and whether the garment will actually work in real life. After I finalize the garment in my mind, I sketch the design and insert all measurements and work a swatch.

 

Overview of  the design process

 

The final result: from paper to reality
Most recently, my designs have been influenced by scenes in nature, historical time periods or pieces of music. Not all my designs make it from my mind to paper, and the method of detailing every aspect of the process is still an essential part of my design practice.

Kara: When did you begin your design career and have your designs been published in other magazines/books?

Meghan: I do have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in fibers and textiles (specializing in weaving and natural dyes) and so in many ways I feel that I have always been a designer. However, it has only been recently that my perfect medium (knitting) has been discovered. About three years ago when my daughter, Abby, was 2, I was frustrated with the skill levels of many children’s knitting patterns; I found many of them too simple and boring. So of course I decided that the best way to proceed was just to do it myself! The first design I created was a cabled cardigan, and it was during this process, I became completely addicted. Shortly after I submitted this design to a national magazine, it was accepted. I have been designing ever since. In addition to Creative Knitting magazine, my designs have been published in Interweave Knits, Yarn ForwardKnit magazine and Petite Purls. I have had 11 patterns accepted into the Knitpicks IDP program, with another one in process. I also won a Landscape Design contest sponsored by Jimmy Beans Wool and have upcoming designs in Interweave Knits accessories 2011, Knit magazine and Knitcircus Fall 2011.

Kara: Do you have any special projects in the works, and how can readers find out more about you?

Meghan: I have recently released an ebook called Mixed Nuts: The Best of the Worsted, with 7 patterns for children available on Ravelry and Knitpicks. I hope to obtain a contract to publish a book in the future and at the moment you, can keep up with my knitting activities and patterns at www.littlenutmegproductions.blogspot.com I am also on Ravelry as anythingbutsnow.
I’d like to once again say thanks to Meghan for enlightening us about her Pebble Beach Tunic design. For more information about this and other projects in the July 2011 issue, and to view my new interactive video capturing the July highlights, visit creativeknittingmagazine.com.

 

Meghan: I knew that there had to be some shaping to accommodate the curves in a woman’s figure. The short rows were added to create the space for the bust line, and to allow the crossover to fit nicely over the bust without gaping or pulling. There are also two short rows at the very edge point where the buttonhole is to help the fabric turn the corner. This allows the lace pattern to be less distorted when the dress is buttoned closed.

2 Responses to Interview with Meghan Jones, Designer of the Pebble Beach Tunic, Creative Knitting, July 2011

  1. Laura Stevenson says:

    I like the way this one looks.

  2. Dee Kupka says:

    I like this very much… am planning on trying this out on my knitting machine.

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