Thursday, October 16, 2014

The making of Malabrigo Book 6

I've been working with Malabrigo as their Project/Designer Coordinator for... maybe two and a half (ish) years now. Running the Quickies and Freelance Pattern Project programs have been a lot of fun, but I was SUPER excited to spread my curatorial wings for Book 6. I thought it'd be fun to look back a bit at the process of putting together a book like this (and maybe my process for styling a largish project will come in handy for someone working on their own book or collection- I pretty much did the same thing with Doomsday Knits.) 

I started with a basic color story/concept. We wanted brights and bolds, and to combine them with neutrals (though the brights definitely dominated in the end- it's always interesting to see how these concepts kinda morph over time.) 

These were the palettes that I sent the designers to get their creative motors chuggin':

After perusing awhile, the designers got back to me with some ideas about what they'd like to do, and we narrowed it all down to the projects you see here. (Though several other designs ended up being moved and will show up in other books ;-) ) 

Next was the styling bit. (I was working on this at the same time as I was doing the styling for Doomsday Knits so it was kind of a shopping-crazed few months!) For me, this starts with taking lots of reference photos of the items that I can bring with me while I'm shopping (I actually had to turn these over to the tech editor before the shopping was finished, so it was pretty important to have the photos.) 

These pictures aren't always exactly flattering...

...but that's okay. The most important part is to accurately capture the color and proportions. 

Before I start shopping, I spend some time just doodling, looking at Pinterest, etc, and trying to get some basic ideas for how I want to style each item. The final outfits might not look anything like the sketches (depending on what I can find when I'm shopping) but it helps to have a place to start.

And then the "awful dressing room selfie" stage (I take photos as I try things on, so I can pick the best option out of quite a few without having to re-try anything.)

(I kind of regret that that cat shirt didn't make the cut.) Shopping with someone else's money is about as fun as you think it would be (which is to say, really fun, as long as you like shopping.) It's a bit harrowing when you know you have to get X amount of things out of Y amount of dollars... but I like a challenge. I found what I could in stores (TJ Maxx and Target both did me right) and then filled in the gaps online. It's much easier to find a specific piece that you need online, but there's no guarantee that it'll be cheap, so I try to leave that for the end when I know exactly how much I can afford to splurge. 

And we have outfits!

I no longer had the actual items in my possession, but I wanted to make sure it would all go together, so I had to do some rather embarrassing...improvisation (in retrospect I don't know why I didn't just photoshop them on instead of this mess, haha):

I wasn't able to make it to the photoshoot in Uruguay, so instead I sent the clothes off with new, detailed sketches, so the on-site stylist would know what went where. 

There were, unsurprisingly, some changes made the day of- you never know what's gonna fit when you're buying clothes and shoes for an unknown model half a world away. We got pretty lucky though, I think the only real substitutions were some shoes! Thank god for stretch denim, amiright? (But seriously, pro-tip, have the model bring some of her own stuff just in case. And remember that tall people often have longer feet.)

The Uruguay team took it from there, sourcing great models and a fantastic photographer, and trekking out to a lovely, lonely, windy beach for the shoot :-) They also assigned the names, did the layout, and some little darling decided to put my cowl on the cover which is pretty much blowing my mind. 

You should be able to find Malabrigo Book 6 in Cabo Polonio at LYSes that carry Malabrigo yarn- if they don't have it in stock, they can probably order one for ya ;-) You can also look at all the finished items on Ravelry. Right now, I'm on the styling phase of the next book I'll be doing with Malabrigo (to be shot next year, likely in the US which means I'll be there, woohoo! My inner control-freak is singing.) I don't want to give anything away, but I'll say that it has a more "natural" aesthetic and the styling has been particularly fun so far ;-)*

*Hm, I realize that sentence kind of makes it sound like the models are naked. Sorry to disappoint but that's not it, haha. Interesting concept though. Feel free to take that one ;-P


  1. Haha! SandnesGarn has done that concept already, with a knit collection, to pull focus away from the time we are in now. So they have lots of girls wearing nothing but knit sweaters walking in the snow...

    I am loving the insights to the designer work processes!

    1. Oh my. I just googled it. Lovely pictures, but dang that looks cold!

  2. They are beautiful patterns. I really wish they were available right away on Ravelry...and people didn't have to go buy the book.


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