I was intrigued when I saw the call for submissions for Knitting in the Sun in mid-2008, so I went to work and worked up 3 design submissions. I was very lucky and excited when 2 of the 3 submissions were selected for the book.
Originally, the working title for Alishan was “Summer Nights Hoodie” (name explanation in this post). I got the inspiration for the design after a trip to the fabric store, where I was fondling some laser-cut velvets and silky sheers. I wanted an airy look, while I thought the garment would look cool with an illusion-ish center panel that kind of looked like a tank.
The swatch that I submitted was worked in a fingering weight alpaca yarn from my stash. In the end, Kristi and I settled on Kidlin Lace by Louet. Although I am mildly allergic to mohair, I didn’t think the small mohair content on this project would be a problem, since I had worked with mohair in the the past. Little did I know of the horrid 6+ months of torture that I was about to endure thanks to my wonderful immune system.
I’ve always had allergies, but I never had them as badly as I did in the Summer and Fall of 2008, where it was grossly debilitating, even on tons of allergy drugs. I was not able to sleep or function — my head and chest were so clogged that I wanted to rip them out, and my eyes were so swollen and red that I dared not go into public until absolutely necessary, or when I thought I’d pull out my hair with cabin fever. If you’re a regular blog reader, you’ll probably recall the gross pictures and posts about my swollen and bleeding eyes.
The horrid allergy attacks made knitting Alishan almost impossible. My head and nose were so stuffed up that I couldn’t think, and even if I could manage any knitting, mohair or not, I could not see since my eyes were so swollen and running like a waterfall. Luckily, Kristi gave me an extension on my deadline and I managed to send it in by the extension date. Now that I have more designing experience and have found some good sample knitters in the last few months, I think in the future, I will play it safe and have sample knitters work any garment that requires mohair. (The positive update on the allergies is that I am currently awaiting a medical lab to concoct a custom formula for me to be able to receive allergy injections. )
While working up Alishan, I had to deviate from the original sketch a little bit (especially around the neckline) in order to fit it to the wider neckline that I wanted to achieve. After I finished with it, even though I was happy about it, I really put it out of my mind, especially since it unfortunately reminded me of my allergy hell. Then to my utter surprise, in the promotional materials for the book, Kristi is shown wearing my garment.
I don’t have the garments for the book in my possession, but the agreement is that after 1 year of the publication date, the garments will be returned to the designers.