Saturday, March 30, 2013

Little Walk

Today, a warm and cloudy day, we walked to the lake from our house.  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Not Much Of A Spring Break

So I had knitted many lace projects, however, coming up with my own lace stitches always seemed like such an untenable challenge. I mean I could do a few simple ones that probably already existed in some pattern book, like the border on my Handspun Shawl #1, BUT, nothing more complex than that.

Charting colorwork is very straight forward to me.  Being someone who draws a lot, coming up with a design for colorwork is do-able and fairly quick for me.  Charting cables feels pretty intuitive as well.  But lace!! I simply cannot wrap my head around it because I cannot see the result by looking at the grids. That's a big problem for me. I make everything, including knitting, by visualizing in my head or on paper or on screen, how things will look. By not being able to see that, I feel lost with making lace stitches. I really respect people who are well-versed in coming up with their own lace stitches.

Last week was spring break for me.  Instead of a relaxing week, I decided to tackle this daunting task that I always wanted to learn - coming up with my own more complex lace border for a shawl. And of course being the kind of crazy (and lazy) person that I am, instead of doing some reading on the subject, I decided to just dive in and do it.

I first drafted a chart, and went on knitting it.  I thought as long as I have decreases that matched up to the  number of yo's, I'd come up with some kind of lace pattern. Wrong. I mean sure it was kinda lacey looking, but in reality, it looked more like a knitted piece with a lot of unorganized holes in it.

After coupla swatches, I realized the easiest way for me is to design it as I knit, so I could visualize it as I go.  Then charted out each row as I finished that row.  I don't know how real lace designers do their designing, but this process worked much better for me.  Then I revised the stitch with the next version, and the next version.  Total I knitted 3 swatches, but I ripped back quite a few times in between.

With the final design, I went ahead and made a crescent shape shawl.

The yarn was originally Lana Gatto Mignon in pure white. Then I over-dyed it after completion. Last time I did over-dyeing, it was with "Thinking of Waves" and the dye job came out uneven. I suspected it was due to the fact I forgot to wash the shawl first with soap to rid of spinning oil. So I made sure I rinsed the shawl well before I mixed up the dye. It dyed up very evenly this time.

I love the brownish purple color. I love this shawl. I love challenges.

I definitely still cannot just design lace stitches by charting it out, and I can't say I understand fully how to design lace stitches, and I honestly still don't have a full grip even on how this one worked out the way it worked out. But, I'm getting slightly more comfortable with it, I think. It's definitely something that will take a lot more swatching than colorwork or cables. Although I still don't really see myself as a lace shawl designer, I sure am proud about coming up with this stitch because I'd overcome a big challenge.

I didn't exactly have a relaxing spring break. I didn't do much except being a bit frustrated looking at my lace chart. I also wrapped up some test knitting and began to work with tech editor on the ginkgo patterns.  I'm not complaining because I do love designing and I'm so grateful of all the wonderful testers that helped me out, but all these are still "work." Not truly a spring break. Ultimately, what I enjoy the most is a relax evening, doing mindless knitting in front of TV, watching some British detective show on Netflix, and not worrying about taking notes of my knitting, or checking notes, or counting stitches, or feeling embarrassed about mistakes on the pattern sent to testers, and trying to figure where the mistake was, etc.

This week returning to teaching, I don't feel well-rested at all, and that's a total bummer because I really need some relaxing time. So I think a mindless knitting, not for pattern, is in order this weekend. 


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

This Wednesday Morning

Yarn: Knit One Crochet Too Camelino
& Handdyed fingering weight yarn
Needles: US 7 and US 2

Finally! I wrote the pattern after one whole year since I knitted the first version.  It is called "This Wednesday Morning." and now available via Ravelry.

After dropping a few pounds since I made the first one, I had to remake the sweater one size smaller for better fit.

Also, I wanted to see if there was a better way of working textured stitches on the neck that shift beginning of round every 2 rounds because the way the textured stitches are. There was. I ended up knitting with wrong side facing for the neck section.

For cuffs that used the same textured stitches, instead of continuing to shift beginning of round, I alternated shifting forward and backward on every other round.

I had planned all along to make buttons myself for this sweater.  My colleague/friend had agreed to help me with making ceramics buttons. But I ended up with painting my own wooden button out of laziness. I found some wooden thingy from Michael's in the scrapbook section (scrapbook is something I never do and somehow it just does not appeal to me at all.. anyhow..) Paul drilled the holes and I painted the buttons in acrylic and covered with 3D ModPodge. They turned out a bit too cutesy for my taste, but they'll have to do for now. I'll   definitely try to make some buttons in ceramics soon. 

Yarn for this sweater was the same yarn, Knit One Crochet Too Camelino, as first version but darker grey. The color insert was made with fingering yarn dyed with rabbit rubberbrush.  

One thing I'm excited is that I'd found a  wonderful tech editor, Judy, to work with.  Even though I didn't use test knitters for this pattern, Judy was extremely detailed and communicative.  I felt I had learned a lot with pattern writing by working with her.  She explained to me with every correction she pointed out.  I couldn't have published this pattern without her help.  

Saturday, March 9, 2013

One more... Ginkgo

Yarn: Elann Peruvian Baby Cashemere, 3.5 balls
Needles: US #4
Dimension after blocking: 6 1/2" x 84"

I swear I was not planning on making another Ginkgo, but.... somehow it just happened.
I was trying some simple lace stitches for fun, as in swatching.  But I saw the potential of it becoming a scarf, with simple Ginkgo motif. So, here it is.

I think it's all because how I work with my studio work, in series, that I cannot help but finding different way to use the motif.  Honestly I cannot guarantee there won't be more ginkgos, as some ideas are brewing in my head while knitting the scarf.

This, I believe was only the second time I'd ever made a full length scarf.
Scarves are not the most fun knitting, but it's actually more functional than shawls to me.

I used Elann Baby Cahsmere which is 60% baby alpaca, 30% merino, and 10% cashmere.  It's fiber content makes it very warm even for such a lacey pattern.  The scarf is long, blocked out to be 86" long.  I was able to wrap it around twice around my neck, which I like that a lot.  I think it will work with a bit shorter length as well.