Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Foggy Evening

For a while I'd been thinking about a lacy hoodie with some cables. I know, it sounds like a potential overload of too many elements. I'm always wary of a knitwear that sacrifices design elements for sheer show-off of technical complexity.

I put the idea aside since I'd not found any yarn that is a good fit for the idea. The thought of pure wool for summer wear makes me sweat. A heavy cotton and lace just seem like a recipe for endless stretching. When Elann offered this Limited Edition Coto-Merino, I was so excited. I figured this may just be the perfect yarn for the lace hoodie, It has the right weight (sport/light DK) and the color I imagined - light gray, and the right fiber combination of 70% cotton and 30% wool. Perfect. To top it all, the price was amazing - $1.98 each 50g ball. Really, you cannot find a better deal than this.

When I got the yarn in mail, I was delighted with the quality of the yarn.

I did some swatching for the cables, I added some lace to the cable stitches. After a little tweaking here and there I came up with a very easy lacy cable stitch. I wouldn't be surprise if there is already such a stitch existed in a stitch book. (BTW, that is one thing I'd love to get better at - designing lace stitches. I so admire designers that come up with really beautiful lace stitches.) For the design, I decided to alternate the lacy cable with a narrow lace column and purl sts in between as the basic overall fabric.

Yarn: Elann Limited Edition Coto-Merino
Needles: US #4

The construction of the hoodie couldn't be any simpler.
It was knitted top-down beginning at the hood. The hood itself was a basic retangular shape. Then the raglan sleeves. I have to say I love raglan so much. Not only is it so easy to figure out (compare to say the slightly more complex set-in sleeves,) I also found it to look the best on my wide shoulders. I can easily make all my sweaters with raglan sleeves and be happy.

Originally thinking of a regular length , I decided a tunic length will give it a bit more feminine touch to go with the lace. Somehow I always associate hoodies with more a "dude" look. It must be all the snowboard bros wearing them in a baggy fashion. And no, I don't wear hoodies when I board. I got called "dude" enough times on the slope that I'd actually bought myself a down jacket in a lovely apple green color.

Since the sweater already has too many elements in it, I scratched the idea of ribbing for the front edging and simply crocheted single chain st along the edges to give it a neater finish and blocked the sweater well.

I really like how the sweater turned out. It evolved from my rather fuzzy plan into something even better than what I'd expected. My plans always tend to be pretty fuzzy. They usually began with some general structure and stitch ideas and open to changes. In fact, I think about changing my ideas all the time when I make my own design. I consider that "process knitting." This is where I have different idea about "process knitter" from other knitters. I'd read in so many ravelry posts that people consider a process knitter as someone who loves the joy of starting a project more than finishing it. However, because of my study in painting, the idea that an artist is about "process" usually means he/she is in tune with what is happening on canvas at all time and he works by responding to the canvas at all time. That is not the same as starting many paintings for the pure joy of painting and not see any of them through. A Process oriented artist means the artist is not guided by a strict plan or a fully conceived idea (one may even venture to say nor by subject matter) but rather by visual responses to both the image on canvas and to the medium/material. Jackson Pollock is an example of process painter.

Speaking of the medium, the yarn did not disappoint at all. My only regret was that I didn't get more of it. I love it for a summer evening garment.

I name it Foggy Evening because the color reminds me of the common sight of fog rolling in at night in S.F. and Santa Cruz. Places that were so special in my life, and sadly I cannot live there any more. Not just because of my life path, but these places are not the same as they used to be. The dot com explosion had fundamentally changed the cities, and it's so painfully obvious for someone like me who left there 12 years ago and thought I'd move back there as soon as I finish my graduate school, but found it hard to return. It's sad to find that once you move away, you cannot afford to return both financially and mentally.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A New Dress

I just finished this dress. Every summer I knit one dress and it usually takes a while considering the extra length. It's my way to signal summer is here.
I called it the "tulip dress" because the inspiration was tulips, so I ended up not as upset about the frilled edges as I originally was.

Yarn: Cascade Ultra Pima
4 skeins of Syrah, 0.8 skeins of Orchid, and 0.25 skeins of Natural.
Needles: US #4

Alas, this was not knitted in one piece. The main color was knitted in one piece from top down. The light pink was knitted in 2 separate pieces then sewn on. The cream color was knitted separately too. Then the shoulder straps, which was knitted sideway with short-rows.