Photo from Jackie Egginton Dreamstime.com
Designers are often asked where they get their ideas from. Most often they quote their sources as fashion, vintage knitting, art, landscape and a variety of other visual inspirations. I often work from the yarn and my sewing background has been a big influence as well. I love stitch dictionaries and I spend a lot of time swatching using traditional stitch patterns as well as playing with them and making changes. I think people are really asking how do we get from the idea to a real knitted item because they are overwhelmed by the possibilities when they review the suggested sources. The sheer vastness of the available options limit their ability to make a single choice.
One of the other ways I develop an idea is to pick a technique (just one!) and read all of my technique books on that topic. Next I start swatching in an appropriate yarn and I play with what ever ideas pop up. If I wander too far from the targeted technique and have a great idea I note that one down for future experimentation and then I go back to my chosen technique. Essentially I force my brain to go down one path and generate idea's. It keeps me focused and gives me specific problems that I have to develop solutions for.
Krugle co-founder and CEO Steve Larsen says there's a reason that early-stage companies produce innovation: the financial and time constraints they operate under force people to come up with new solutions."These constraints breed creativity," says Larsen.
So give it a try and let me know how the constraint technique works for you.