A Design Breakthrough

“So I want to knit beadboard,” I said to a friend in my machine knitters group. Her eyes moved up and to the side like you do when you are trying to remember that math formula from ninth grade.

“You know, that white-painted wainscoting that you see in beach cottages? I want to knit that.”

Cottage Beadboard

The look of vague recollection inched across her face. “Hmmm,” she said.

These women are marvelous artists, churning out vibrant and textural fabrics from their basements and guest rooms, but they mostly focus on knit clothing like sweaters, winter wraps and fitted knit jackets a la St. John’s and Chanel.

Without them, I’d be trapped in my studio in a tangle of yarns, needles and strange looking mechanisms, and I’d NEVER have tracked down that obscure left mounting bracket. And heck, I could now knit cables and trendy, round holes into my fabrics.

But I realized I might be alone in my quest to knit architecture.

Okay. Never stopped me before.

I had already figured out how to knit shingles, so I pressed on.

It must have been three, maybe four monthly meetings later when I ambushed our speaker during the break. “Hey, here is what I am trying to do, and it just doesn’t look like beadboard yet,” I babbled as I waved my knit sample in front of her fanciful cardigan.

This renowned goddess of machine knitting nonchalantly said, “Have you tried doing this?” Chimes went off in my head. That was the solution, I could feel it.

So that night I did it for the first time. After the careful needle set up and transfer of stitches, I pushed the carriage back and forth and began to see knit beadboard appear below. And the sheen of the silky bamboo yarn was spot on for the look of semi-gloss paint. Shouts of “woo-hoo” carried throughout the house.

My Knit Sample

“I’ve knit beadboard!” I screamed. My husband Chuck just nodded his head in his quiet-guy equivalent to “You go girl!” while likely thinking, ‘What the heck is she up to now?’

Here is the result. The Knit Beadboard & Shingles Pillow, part of my Bicoastal Collection of color- and design-coordinated artisan pillows.

The Bicoastal Beadboard and Shingles Pillow by Kathy Barlow

Bicoastal Knit Beadboard and Shingles Designer Pillow

This is just the start…lots more knit architecture in my brain and sketchbooks.


What breakthrough have you made in your latest design project? Tell your story in the comments below!

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