I spent much of the weekend at Sivia Harding's lace design workshop, put on by the West Coast Knitters' Guild. I love knitting lace, so the chance to learn more about the design process to jump-start me into designing my own shawls was too good to pass up.
The workshop concept sounds deceptively simple: come prepared with stitch dictionaries and figure out how best to fill the triangle shape with appropriate stitch patterns. It's harder than it sounds, but Sivia made it seem, not quite easy, but reasonably straight-forward, with lots of places to make artistic design decisions.
Sivia has some wonderful designs and brought some of her shawls for us to admire and deconstruct, using them as teaching examples. She gave us ideas on how to start the shawls, various ways of finishing them, how to modify stitch patterns to fit nicely into the triangle shape, when and how to fudge stitch patterns to make the entire pattern easier to understand and knit, and lots of other tips. Everyone ended up with charts and swatches, and undoubtedly lots more ideas than they started with. Now all I have to do is finish the design I started (I want to change a couple of things), complete the charts, and start knitting!