Knitwear Workshop Designs: Duets & Inspirations

Upcoming & Past Events

  • Duets & Inspirations: Virtual Book Launch
    Wed, Mar 31
    Virtual Book Launch
    An exclusive online event celebrating the launch of Shirley Paden’s second book. Meet the design mavericks who helped bring Duets to life.

So what exactly is a DAL?

I have been teaching hand knit garment design for quite a few years and believe that anyone with the desire to design a hand knit garment with a custom fit can do it; even the newest knitters!  I set out to prove that theory by holding a series of Design-A-Longs (DAL) over a period of 6 years.   This year I plan to launch a new type of DAL. This Dal is going to be bigger, better, higher stakes, and more interactive than this industry has ever seen. But First… What is DAL??


Two months after Knitwear Design Workshop was released, and unbeknownst to me, as luck would have it, one of my students started an online group for people to come together to knit and discuss my designs.  You can imagine my joy and surprise when I received an invitation to join.  Since it was newly forming, the direction that it would take was open and the moderator welcomed my input.  it was a perfect platform for launching a worldwide event.  I wanted to invite knitters and aspiring designers to join me online for what I was calling a Design-A-Long (DAL).  People had heard of Knit-A-Longs (KALs) where everyone worked on the same project together.  So exactly what is a DAL?  I can only describe it as a cross between a Design Workshop and a Design Boot Camp, where everyone works through the four steps of my Design Process and creates their own masterpieces. 


The journey to our first DAL started with the Ravelry group We Love Shirley Paden (WLSP) founded by Tracey Rivers in 2008. In conjunction with the release of my book, Knitwear Design Workshop, we decided WLSP would be an ideal setting for the industry’s first Design-A-Long. I wanted the atmosphere to be a cross between that of an intense Design Workshop and a fun Design Camp.  My goal was to walk each student step-by-step through The Design Process in an interactive, online format.


Image by Wynand van Poortvliet

The DAL followed the 4 steps of my design process.


Step 1.jpg

The Thought Process



In this phase, everyone completed a rough sketch of their design.


Step 2.jpg

As the students began posting photos of their swatches, everyone became very inspired and began cheering one another on.  We could feel the enthusiasm turn up another notch. 

The Fabric Selection Process


Step 3.jpg

The Planning Process

This is always the most difficult and most important step where everyone draws their schematics and overlays the stitch pattern charts.    If the schematic measurements are not accurate the garment will not fit properly.  A successful garment design means that it is a perfect fit for the wearer’s body.  To get the ball rolling I posted sample schematics on my website.  We asked two students who had been through the previous DAL to post their schematics as examples for the group.


Step 4.jpg

 The Construction Process 

This is when the design comes to life on your needles. 

Step 5.jpg

Watching an entire DAL unfold is nothing short of amazing.  Seeing new designers plan and complete their garments is incredible.  Surveying the entire event is an absolute joy!   

Image by Wynand van Poortvliet

My final words to that first DAL group express the thoughts and feelings that I would like everyone to take away from each DAL experience.  “Continue to believe in the power of your creativity and you will be surprised at the wonderful things that will happen!” 


Virtual Hand-knit Garment Design Class
Created by Shirley Paden on as a video companion to Knitwear Design Workshop.


Knitwear Design Workshop includes:

·       Lessons on how to design double-tapered, single-tapered, and reverse-tapered garments with

        sleeves or sleeves caps that fit.

·       How to best use a stitch pattern to achieve the perfect look.

·       A clearer understanding of commercial pattern instructions.

·       Ways to improve your attention to detail with a meaningful test swatch.

·       Stronger knowledge of proper body or garment measurements.

·       And much more!



When I’m designing I try to showcase the subtleties and versatility of hand-made artwork. “Remember, a clothing designer is an artist. As Michelangelo explained that he could see David inside the block of marble, we see the garment in the ball of yarn. It is the same creative process.” Here, through photos, you get a glimpse of my Travel & Lecture series with retreats and conferences shown in Europe, on both coasts of the US, and in Canada. The overriding objective remains to keep the antique cloth making art of hand knitting alive. Then, in the spirit of excellence chronicled on the16th and 17th-century European knitting guilds, I endeavor to pass along the expert skills needed for designing and constructing hand knit clothing.


Santa Rosa Design Retreat Weekend


Los Angeles Weekend Retreat


Lecture & Lace Class At AFAM New York City


Danish Needlework Fair In Denmark


Book Signing - New York


Book Signing - Long Beach


Book Photo Shoot


Coming Soon New Gallery
Garment design


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