>You just never know from whence inspiration will come. The Cutaway Jacket designed for Caron International Yarns, now appearing in the January 2009 issue of CROCHET! magazine, is an example of what happens when an aging former radio announcer is asked to make a list of her all-time favorite recordings.
I couldn’t do it. Every and anything I hear that evokes an emotional or intellectual response has the chance of becoming a favorite. It all depends on time, place, context. Knowing it would be a hopeless task, I tried anyway to narrow down the list to a few. But rather than taking the easy way (admitting to the pop tunes that are currently pumping through my earbuds), I went back and flipped through my record collection to remind myself of the vintage music I actually owned.
Because, the same way a crochet designer has access to yarns, a disc jockey has access to music. I purchase for personal use only those yarns that I truly enjoy. Back then the same held true for recordings. What music did I admire so greatly that I shelled out bucks to own?
I unavoidably date myself when I mention that I started working in radio when we still put stylus to vinyl. Yes, I played records. Do you ever have gut-twisting nightmares concerning your job; the frustration dreams where time slows to a crawl, every little incident is magnified and you are swimming through molasses to avert impending catastrophe? My recurring radio dream, what had me waking up in a cold sweat at least once a week, was the horror of not being able to get to the air studio in time (due to monsters or locked doors) and hearing over the air monitors not a song off the current playlist, but the “psssst-pop, psssst-pop” of end groove. That was a sin a gazillion times worse than “dead air”, trust me.
I digress. So I am looking through my album collection which is quite limited due to having moved house too many times, having pitifully little storage space, and mostly having replaced records with the technologically new formats as they became standard and no longer owning a turntable. Aren’t downloads a trip? I’m constantly amazed that a two-inch memory stick or micro drive or hand-held player can hold as much or more music than I used to store in racks of records.
Most of my stuff was collected back before I made music my profession. I lingered over my original copy of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Wasn’t it fascinating fun trying to identify all the celebrities in the album cover collage? Did you know that there is an end groove after the last track that contains a 15 kHz tone, too high pitched for adults to hear but audible by dogs? According to the legend, John Lennon did that on purpose to piss off your pet. Hey, I did not make this up.
My biggest “OH, WOW!” moment was finding a recording of “Kites are Fun” by the 60’s vocal group The Free Design. The song has glorious multi-part harmonies, sunshine-pop lyrics and a childlike quality that makes me smile.
“See my kite, it’s green and white
Laughing in its distant flight
All that’s between us is a little yellow string
But we like each other more than anything
And we run along together through the field behind my house
And the little drops of rain caress our face and wash my blouse
And we’d like to be a zillion miles away from everyone
Cause Mom and Dad and Uncle Bill don’t realize
Kites are fun.”
Not long after this stroll down memory lane, I was asked by Caron to design something with their new Simply Soft Paints, a variegated yarn with short repeats of happy colors. No surprise, considering the music running around in my brain, that the result was this jacket.
The original concept was to use only one shape, a four-sided elongated diamond (kite) but that plan turned out to be unworkable. In order to make a garment that fit the body I had to add the triangles (kite bottoms) and sleeve wedges. Although the colors are not Sgt. Peppers day-glo, the overall effect with bold geometric motifs, contrast trim, button accents and cutaway shape put this design firmly in the realm of 60’s iconic-retro-pop-psychedelic-Peter Max-ish culture. More or less. Kudos to KJ Hay for the tech edit and assembly diagram, without which the pattern would have been totally incomprehensible.