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Guest Post: Knitwear Designer, Brenda Castiel

March 21, 2012

Today I am pleased to bring you a guest post from internationally published knitwear designer, Brenda Castiel.  I tested her Garden Party Cardi pattern for her  and couldn’t have been more delighted with the pattern and working with Brenda was such a joy.  Be sure to check her out on Ravelry!

So, without further adieu…

 

Brenda Castiel Designs

I’ve been a knitter, on and off, since my teens. I learned from a grainy black and white Paton’s booklet. Since I’m self taught, I have gotten used to figuring things out on my own. Sometimes that’s a good thing, and sometimes not!

I first got the idea to start designing when KnitPicks (Knitpicks.com) started their Independent Design Program in spring of 2010. I thought to myself, “They’re just starting out, so maybe they won’t be too fussy about what they accept.”  I’m not saying that’s true, but that’s what I thought. That gave me the push to get started.

So I submitted a design – for a toddler/child sweater with an embroidered pocket – and it was accepted! I was off and running. I just started figuring out for myself what I needed. I then began submitting to magazines like Interweave KNITS, Knit Simple, Creative Knitting, and YARN magazine inAustralia– everywhere I could think of, really. I wasn’t ready to self-publish because I didn’t want to have to pay for professional photography and editing before I even knew if anyone would want to buy my patterns.

Increasingly, more of my patterns got accepted, including one crazy period when I had 6 sweaters to knit in 8 weeks. That was bad!

No cooking, housework or laundry got done. My hubby was patient with me, luckily, as I sat and knitted all day long and refused to even go out to a movie.

I get my inspiration in several different ways: it can be a dress in a store window, wallpaper, or advertising graphics. It can be a stitch pattern that I see in one item and then I use it in a different way.

For example the lace trim that I used in my Garden Party Cardi, came from a tea cozy.   I decided on a seamless, raglan style because it’s easy to knit and generally fits well. With an attached button band, there’s actually no sewing at all required.

Another design, the Carole Landis Top, was inspired by the call for submissions from the indie dyer company The Sanguine Gryphon (now disbanded and re-formed as 2 separate companies).  They had the theme of a film noir mystery and wanted a sweater for each of the characters in the story. So I designed the sweater with a specific fictional character in mind.

This top is knit in the round, sleeveless, with lace trim and optional beading. It’s one of my favorites.

Recently I have been published in Interweave KNITS (the Quixote Scarf) and I just sent off 2 items to Vogue Knitting!  Very excited about that, as they are the pinnacle of knitting magazines, for me.  I really feel that I’m on my way.

My patterns are found here:

http://www.ravelry.com/designers/brenda-castiel

You can read more about my design work at my blog here:  http://www.knitandtravelandsuch.blogspot.com/

Please follow me as brendacastiel on Twitter.

For all the blog readers, I have a special discount code. Just enter DISCOUNT40 at checkout for a whopping 40% off!

Thanks for looking.

 

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Many thanks to Brenda for writing here at The Knit Life!  Now go download a pattern.  Or two.  Go on now.  -Dusty

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 28, 2012 6:15 pm

    I’ve been wanting to make my own patterns for awhile now. Are there any good tutorials that you have used in designing or is it mostly doing math and winging it?

  2. Brenda C permalink
    April 2, 2012 5:15 pm

    Reply: I learned mostly by reading a lot of patterns and seeing how they are constructed.
    Some sources I found useful – Knitty http://knitty.com/ISSUEspring08/FEATspr08TBP.html on grading patterns, The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Design, and Marnie Maclean has some great tutorials on her blog. e.g. http://www.marniemaclean.com/words/2007/06/using_excel_to.html#more

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