knitwear design

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In my last blog post I shared design inspiration and storyboards for my Chalet Collection knit pillow project. (see them here) After a year in the works the pillows have come to life! They were a resounding success at their debut at the Chandler 4 Corners showroom at the AmericasMart Gift, Rug, and Home Shows in Atlanta last week.

The pillows are knit of the softest wool (like your favorite old ski sweater but not itchy) and backed with cotton velveteen. Some are also hand-embroidered. The pillow inserts are filled with down. A Norwegian style pewter button is sewn to each corner for a distinctive touch. (Do you think the button adds to or detracts from the overall effect?)

Evoking winter’s romance with their traditional alpine motifs, the pillows will start being shipped in November – just in time for the first snowfall! For information about ordering pillows contact Chandler 4 Corners. Or stop by the Chandler 4 Corners booth at the New York International Gift Show next month.

There are twenty-one Chalet Collection pillows. These are some of my faves. Which do you like?

To see more of my portfolio click here. To connect with Poppy Gall Design Studio on facebook click here.

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I’ve been working on an exciting and hush-hush design project for the last year and I’m now finally able to reveal it!  When the owner of Chandler 4 Corners (who has known me since Mountain Ladies & Ewe days) decided to add a knit pillow collection to his already wildly successful hand-hooked wool pillow business, we got to talking. Although I don’t know much about the home furnishings business, I do know a thing or two about knitting and how to get things made, so our collaboration was a no-brainer.

Chandler 4 Corners’ pillows designed by Laura Megroz are well known for their folk artsy motifs of bears and moose and Labrador retrievers. My knit designs would need to complement Laura’s, yet not duplicate her themes.

The first step in the process was to craft the story and to define the collection’s themes and look. Designing pillows both nostalgic and fresh would be paramount to its success. My creative juices really started flowing during a hut-to-hut ski trip in the Alps.

It was then that I decided to focus on alpine-inspired designs influenced by the traditional motifs and colors of vintage ski sweaters, and to incorporate patterns true to mountain traditions into the pillows. It would be a coup if they were equally at home in a hand-hewn chalet AND a light-filled Scandinavian-modern mountain retreat.

I usually start my design process with storyboards – images and colors that spark my creativity and give credibility to my ideas. Storyboards are a good tool for allowing clients to get a visual look at what’s inside my head. The storyboards below are from my first presentation to Chandler 4 Corners and give you a peak at the design process.


The Chalet Collection was introduced last week at AmericasMart Gift, Rug, and Home Show in Atlanta. Next stop: the New York International Gift Show August 17-21. Look for future blog posts highlighting The Chalet Collection. In the meantime you may follow Poppy Gall Design Studio on facebook by clicking here.

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It’s always fun for me to see product that I’ve designed come to market. It usually takes over a year from when the product is conceived to when the consumer is able to purchase it. Often I’ve forgotten completely about the work I’ve done until I see it when I walk into a shop or flip through a catalog, as I did with the recent Sundance Catalog which showcases some of my knit designs. These mitten and hats are hand knit, crocheted and embroidered by Nepali women in the Kathmandu valley.

To see more from my on-line portfolio click here.


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We have a winner! Kathleen from the Fashion Incubator blog (check it out!) won my 2nd Anniversary Thank You & Give-Away. A pair of hand knit mittens from Lost Horizons is on the way to her. The mittens, designed by me, are hand knit in Nepal in a woman’s co-operative and can be found at many natural food co-ops around the country (unfortunately the company doesn’t have a website).

Kathleen writes, “I would like to see more of the design process. The real life side of it that laymen don’t understand or know exists. In sum, the boring paperwork, project management of execution. This would be invaluable to any aspiring designer.”

I received similar comments from other readers. I will do more of this. I’ll just need to think ahead, keep my inspiration boards and take photos as projects progress.

I start working on a design project sometimes up to 18 months before the collection arrives in stores. That’s how long it takes to design, make prototypes (usually 2 rounds), to weave and dye the fabrics or yarns, make salesman samples, take orders from retailers at trade shows, make and ship the item from the factory and then send it on to the retail store – whew!

Alas, I’m not able to show product that isn’t in the market yet. I’ve almost forgotten about the stuff I’ve designed by the time it hits the store floor.

Another of Kathleen’s comments: “By all means, be more commercial. By that I mean, flog the products from your job. Let us know about them.” As soon as I am able, I promise I will post more of my work with links to where you can find it here and on my facebook page.

Thank you everyone for all of your thoughtful comments and for your subscriptions. I really enjoy hearing your thoughts and ideas and you’ve introduced me to all sorts of new things – you keep me going!

This is my concept sketch for the mittens Kathleen won. Sometimes I like to get away from my computer and sketch by hand as I’ve done here. My drawing skills have become sloppy because I use a computer all the time, so spending some time hand sketching keeps me limber.


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Tasked with designing a lightweight wool knit sweater hoodie, I started out by playing with simple stripes. I then randomly broke the stripes up into small squares and rectangles altering them into something interesting and playful, yet maintaining their simplicity.

The blue/green colorway wears well with jeans thanks to the navy and chocolate in the pattern. The Lipstick and natural colors pop on a chocolate background on the other version.

To see more of Poppy Gall Design Studio portfolio click here.

©Poppy Gall 2011


©Poppy Gall 2011

To learn about day-to-day activity in my studio like” Poppy Gall Design facebook page.


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For me, one of the best things about blogging are the tidbits that readers share. Kat O’Sullivan’s upscale, stop-dead-in-your-tracks, recycled elf sweaters and coats was one such tip! (Thanks Pen!)

Design, color and sewing machine wizard O’Sullivan pieces together vintage sweaters into amazing one-of-a-kind wearable art garments. A visit to her etsy shop will make you lust after one of her creations.

She playfully describes her pieces using words like pixie, elf, dream, circus, gypsy, butterfly, festival and rainbow. She describes herself this way, “(I’m) a free-spirited hitchhiking girl who has spent most of her life bumbling about the planet in search of senseless adventure and community. I try to infuse my work with the bohemian spirit in which I live my life. I reckon I have vagabonded through close to 100 countries. I’ve spent years on the festival trail, following the Dead, mermaid parading, moshing, granfallooning, standing on my head in India, and just staring at the campfire. I have hitchhiked to Timbuktu, Kathmandu, Kalamazoo, and pretty close to Xanadu too…”

I’m inspired by Kat to do something with all my old stained, too short, holey sweaters, but I know that whatever I come up with will pale in comparison to her bohemian gypsy couture!


Katwise Pixie


katwise coat

katwise faerie

katwise infinity

katwise hat

To see more Knitting inspirations click here.

To become an interactive part of Poppy Gall Design Studio on facebook click here.


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On the far end of the fashion spectrum – the runway end – I’ve been spotting extraordinary knitwear for the last couple of seasons. These garments defy definition; they are architectural and sculptural, and are knit with a high level of skill and artistic vision. They resemble woolly armor.

I find them fascinating and absurdly un-wearable (for my lifestyle at least). But my fingers itch to pick up a pair of jumbo knitting needles and a luscious skein of yarn and to start knitting outside the box.



To see more knitting inspiration click here

To become an interactive part of Poppy Gall Design Studio on facebook click here.


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Design Inspiration – Cielo Pessione
While searching for design inspiration for a knitwear project, I discovered Italian fiber artist Cielo Pessione.
Distinctive collars and necklaces, hats and bags flow from her knitting needles and crochet hook.
I love the way she interweaves silk, linen, lurex, leather, felt, raffia, buttons, pearls, plastic, glass, crystal, bones, feathers, wood and found objects into her imaginative one-of-a-kind and limited edition accessories and garments.

While searching for design inspiration for a knitwear project, I discovered Italian fiber artist Cielo Pessione and her one-of-a-kind and limited edition wearable art pieces.

Distinctive collars and necklaces, hats and bags flow from Pessione’s knitting needles and crochet hook.

I love the way she interweaves silk, linen, lurex, leather, felt, raffia, buttons, pearls, plastic, glass, crystal, bones, feathers, wood and found objects into her imaginative jewelry and accessories.

medusa orange

medusa orange

wool, silk, mother of pearl


morning dew

collar morning dew

raw linen, silk, cotton, glass, crystal, african glass, mother of pearl, vintage fabric


red carousel

collar red carousel

cotton, vintage fabric, plastic, Venetian glass



pectoral Bissier

cotton, silk, mother of pearl, shell, vintage fabric



collar Processionaria

wool, felt, vintage button


coat grey pink

coat gray pink

cotton, vintage fabric, stones



reptile Masai

cotton, plastic, stone



hat Calliactis

silk, polyester, cotton, pearls

To see more knitwear design and my knitwear click here.


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