Rhombus Lamina has been an interesting design; it was initially planned to become a shawl, but ended being a cape. There were several factors that influenced that transition. If I were to describe the design process as a mathematical problem, it would go like this:
Create a design that will use only basic skills. Use a specific mutli-color yarn (ie Katia Azteca) in two different colorways. Do not use a one-piece shape such as a disk, a square, a rectangle or a triangle.
The variables here are: the size, actual shape and how the different colors could be combined. I knew I didn’t not want to do stranded, stripes, slipped stitches or double knitting, so I was left with one option regarding the colors: intarsia. I wanted something large, but had no specific restrictions on how big or how small. And the shape… the rhombus came as an idea that was influenced by the work I was doing at the time for the Polyiamond logo.
Having an instance for all the basic variables, I set out to create a few sample sketches; mainly variations on how colors could be placed and combined. For the first time when designing, I asked a few friends and family on their thoughts on each idea. Based on their feedback, I dismissed some sketches and kept some others. I knew that the final result would depend a lot on how the two different colorways would combine with one another. So I decided to start with the sketch I liked the most, work the colors as I had in mind, see how work progresses, and then decide what to do. That is how I ended up combining two different sketches into the final piece.
By the time the first idea had reach half-way, the piece was so large, I realised that the final piece would be too large to be a shawl. At that point I didn’t know what could eventually be done with it, so I simply pressed on and worked on the intended shape.
When it was finally done, I experimented; modelling and wearing it in any way I could think. Among the really absurd and funny ones, was the winner: worn over the shoulders, fastened in the front, as a cape. It was practical, it made sense and was pretty.
I added three buttons in the front and then looked at it some more. Something was missing. It looked a little boring. Also that lower corner was being lumpy and visually lost in all that large piece. “It needs some weight” I thought and decided to add two stuffed balls. I avoided pom-poms for the simple reason that they get destroyed easily; and this outwear piece would need some hardy stuff on it.
It is surprising how well this shape works as a cape, how it allows freedom of movement without the need for sleeves or sleeve openings. My mother (who is also modelling it), completely fell in love with it. Something tells me that she will monopolize it this coming fall!
Rhombus Lamina appears in the latest Knitty First Fall issue.