Fragmented by Tressa Weidenaar
Posted on November 07 2020
Say hello to the Fragmented Cowl by Tressa Weidenaar! We are very excited to share this new cowl with you all. Knitted in Stone Wool Cormo, our super soft, worsted weight yarn, Fragmented features a unique lace pattern and a panel of stockinette, for just the right combination of relaxing and challenging knitting. About Fragmented Tressa writes,
When I first started to design knitting patterns, I saw a design submissions call from Stone Wool on Instagram. I went to the link and took a look at the mood board. I loved seeing that it was called “Urban Decay,” and the pictures really grabbed my attention. At first I didn’t think I could possibly submit as I was very new at designing and quickly rejected the idea of trying. But I couldn’t get the images out of my head and I felt like I had an idea that could fit in with the theme. To me Urban Decay is about nature taking back what is man made. We see it all over us and it’s hard to defeat. I kept seeing this in my mind and eventually thought I would try to design something that would go along with this. In my cowl I see the stockinette stitch as something ordered and neat which is what humanity is constantly trying to create. The portholes lace are symbolic of nature. I think of bushes and trees. In the design, these bushes or trees are slowing breaking into the order that was created in the stockinette side and bending the line that divides the two sections. I searched for a lace pattern with lots of holes and eventually stumbled upon the Portholes lace. When I swatched with it I loved how the double yarn over created a nice open hole. This fit my design idea perfectly and I started to put the design together. When I received the yarn from Stone Wool (American Cormo) I knew it would work perfectly for the texture I was looking for. Watching the piece come together in my hands was very fulfilling and I am thrilled to see my idea come to life in this design.
Learn more about Tressa in the interview below, and download the Fragmented Cowl here.
When and how did you learn to knit?
I learned to knit when I was in 4th grade. My family moved around a lot and at this particular point in my life we were living near my grandparents in Grand Rapids, Michigan. My grandma was an incredible knitter and always had a project in her hands. We regularly received mittens from her and a few sweaters. I remember spending a day at her house when she offered to show my brother and me how to knit. We both picked it up fairly quickly and would occasionally knit here and there as we grew up. I didn’t really pick it up again until after I finished college and helped knit a blanket for a friend of mine who was having a baby. I loved how soothing the process was and asked my mom to help me knit a sweater. After that, I was hooked!
My first project was most likely a scarf. I can’t really remember what it was that we made with my grandma but I think it was long and was all garter stitch. The first real project I finished was a sweater, knit in pieces, for my husband. I was pretty thrilled with it and have knit many sweaters since.
What keeps you inspired to pick up needles?
My brain never stops thinking about what new thing I can create with yarn. I almost always have three or four projects going at once because I’m constantly distracted by a new design that catches my eye. I love to watch the project growing and seeing the math work out to create a shape.
I also find that because I knit so much I will occasionally burn out and lose my energy to keep at it. I will usually turn to other creative outlets like weaving and sewing. After a few days or weeks of no knitting, I will feel recharged and jump back in where I left off.
What do you most like to work on these days?
I most like to work on sweaters. I like that it takes more time to complete and that I get an amazing garment when I’m done. I’ve knit sweaters for many members of my family and love seeing them wear what I made for them. I’m now working on a sweater design and am really enjoying the process. When all my calculations worked out (for the most part) and the sweater fit, I was thrilled!
Any mistakes you've learned from?
So much of knitting is about making mistakes. I regularly make mistakes when I’m knitting both patterns I think I know by heart, and new patterns. I recently tried to design a hat in fingering weight yarn and thought I had the math correct. I knit the hat and it came out way too small, small enough for a baby! I casted on again, and casted on the wrong number of stitches...twice! I think this has helped me to learn that the design process is not always going to work out the way I expect it to. I need to be patient and persevere. Maybe the next time I tackle the hat design it will work out the way I’m envisioning.
How does yarn inform your designs?
Yarn is such a big part of the design process. When I am looking at yarn, I usually find myself drawn to particular colors. I love to design colorwork pieces and like to put colors together. I also love to work with wool. I love to think about the fact that wool came from a sheep. A few years ago I learned how to weave in the Navajo style. I was first taught by an elder weaver who hand carded, spun, and dyed her own wool straight from her sheep. She taught me how to use a hip spindle and I love feeling the connection to these special animals when I work through the process. I think wool helps me to feel passion for my designs as I seek to create things that are functional and beautiful at the same time. I need to feel the yarns I’m working with and often let them sit for a while before I realize what I want to create with them.
What's the quirkiest thing you've ever knitted?
I knit a sock monkey for my daughter. It was knit in fingering weight yarn and in one piece. It took forever but resulted in a pretty cute toy. I also knit some clothes for it which makes it fun for my daughter to play with. I never finished the whole wardrobe but maybe someday when I have more time!