My love affair with counterpane constructions began with the second sweater I ever made, The Starburst Sweater by Kristin Omdahl. Back then it was a pattern available on Knit Picks and I loved the flower motif on the back. I knit it up in a slightly obnoxious pink color and ended up with a very warm and cozy sweater that I loved. (As a side note, there are lots of things wrong with how I knit up this sweater, namely twisting my stitches and not checking my gauge. Not a fault at all with the pattern, totally a problem with me!)
It wasn't until years later and after making lots of hats from the top down that I learned to love the center-outwards construction and wondered how that could translate into clothing. I think it was while I was looking at a pretty circular lace shawl in A Gathering of Lace that it really hit me that a lace vest with a circular medallion would be pretty awesome. After that it didn't take long for me to conceptualize the design for my Aster Vest. I thought it was a pretty design, but I had no idea it would become my best seller or get so many positive comments. It was modeled in a fiber-arts fashion show (mostly because we needed a few more outfits) and much to my surprise the audience gasped when the model turned around the showed off the back.
As pretty as counterpane (or as I usually call them 'medallion') constructions are, they bring up a set of problems on their own. How does one deal with the multi-directional knitting? How do you make a square or circle conform to the human body? When making larger sizes, how do you compensate for the longer length as well as width since people get much wider before they get longer? It takes some creative shaping and designing and involves lots of math when it comes to making mutliple sizes. But I think it is worth the effort when you end up with a unique design. I will have more counterpane designs for you in the future, but just wanted to share my thoughts with you on the subject.