Archive for the “design” Category
This is the official end of the year tallying-up post!
Incoming fibre in 2011:
33.5 ounces fibre acquired at Maryland Sheep and Wool
Outgoing fibre in 2011:
Er… I spun a little bit. Not a lot. Way more came in than went out.
Incoming yarn in 2011:
7 skeins of Red Heart for my first crocheting project
1 sock yarn for Michael
3 Lang Merino DK for Winterlude-inspired colourwork hat and armwarmers
1 skein sock yarn at Rhinebeck
2 balls Patons Kroy Socks FX
5 balls Sugar ‘n Cream for washcloths
1 ball Serenity Sock Weight in navy for heels and toes on socks
4 balls Elann Silken Kydd for shawl
Outgoing yarn in 2011:
1.5 – Baby Surprise jacket
2 – Michael’s Fleeps
3 – Winterlude Hat ™
2 – time traveling Jaywalkers
7 – Hexagon blanket
6 – Sweaters for the twins
1 – gave a ball of sock yarn to Mom
1 – white washcloth
1 – blue washcloth
1 – argyle washcloth
1 – greens washcloth
1 – Quick Relief socks
There are some fair amount of leftovers from the hexagon blanket and the twins’ sweaters, unfortunately. On the other hand, the leftovers may come in handy for swatching, experimenting, or knitting little toys. Still, more yarn went out than came in, and I’m pleased with that!
The Year in Knitting (and Crocheting):
I think that prize would have to go to the Winterlude Hat(tm), for being the only thing I knit this year of my own handspun. Between the wool and the fleece lining it’s a super warm hat, even if I think I made the lining a little on the small side. It stays on just fine when I tie it under my chin!
Least Favourite project:
Unfortunately, it was the Presto Chango sweaters. I am a little sad that I didn’t put as much love into my niecelets’ sweaters as I wanted to. Had I used a different yarn, I might have felt differently about them. The pattern was great, but the KnitPicks Swish and I didn’t get along very well.
None. But I have ideas! Many, many ideas…
For Next Year:
I know it’s a mistake to make too many resolutions, so here are the things I *want* to do, and if I get some of them done I’ll be happy!
- spin more
- knit something with handspun yarn
- design and publish two new patterns
- try a new sock architecture
- finish Napramach and the Stripy Socks
- finish the Dancing Cranes stole in time to wear to a wedding
- cast on for fancy cabled knee socks
- use up more yarn and fibre than I purchase
- get some stock in the Etsy shop
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There is absolutely no progress to report on the Dancing Cranes stole. I spent Wednesday after work configuring my new computer (yay, new computer!) and so didn’t have time in the evening to knit. Last night when I sat down to put my two rows on I completely misread the chart and knit, then painstakingly unknit, about 80 stitches. Unknitting the SSKs was not particularly enjoyable, but eventually I’d gotten back to my mistake and worked forward again until I realized that my eyes were crossing from tiredness. Since sleepy lace knitting is a recipe for making mistakes in lace knitting, I put the stole down halfway through a row and went to bed.
I’ve been thinking about design again! The weather is getting colder and that makes me want to knit cozy warm things. I had the idea for a double-thick fingerless glove/convertible mitten, with colourwork on the outside mitten. Already I’m sketching out how it would be constructed. Both the inside and outside would be worked in DK weight yarn, possibly using different yarns for each. The outside would use a strong and smooth yarn so the colourwork would show up well, while the inside could be made of a softer luxurious yarn.
Happy Feline Friday! Could these two be any cuter?
Yes, Floyd does have bald spots around his lips. When he was a young kitten he had an allergic reaction that gave him horrible skin crusties in his ears and on his pawpads and lips. Poor little guy! We’re still not sure what caused it, but fortunately the crusties cleared up quickly and have never come back. Usually it’s difficult to notice that the fur doesn’t grow well around his mouth; the camera flash reflecting off his skin makes it seem worse than it really is.
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Day Six: 2nd April. Something to aspire to.
Is there a pattern or skill that you don’t yet feel ready to tackle but which you hope to (or think you can only dream of) tackling in the future, near or distant? Is there a skill or project that makes your mind boggle at the sheer time, dedication and mastery of the craft? Maybe the skill or pattern is one that you don’t even personally want to make but can stand back and admire those that do. Maybe it is something you think you will never be bothered to actually make but can admire the result of those that have.
There’s very little that scares me about knitting anymore. Even the most complicated lace pattern can be broken down to doing it one stitch at a time. Turning a short-row heel, a process which once left me nervously knitting a scarf while procrastinating on the sock, no longer fazes me. Colourwork with three colours in one row? No big deal. (Slow going, but not intimidating.) Entrelac? Doesn’t interest me, but I bet I could do it. Steeking? Sure, why not?
No, for me the aspiration is design. I have so many designs in my head that I want to knit up and write up and publish. I have both well-imagined patterns and vague ideas to work from. But I knit slowly, and often get frustrated with poorly-written patterns. What really intimidates me now is the time it would take to figure out the complex patterns I want to knit, and the idea of knitting them not just from a poorly-written pattern, but from no pattern at all.
So what’s on my list to design?
The green lacy sock that I began in Cookie A.’s class several years ago
Several more simple sock designs, one with a little bit of colour and one with texture
A Winterlude-inspired hat and armwarmers or gloves/mittens set
A pattern inspired by the geometric shapes of a bridge I crossed on a road trip
A shawl that uses the same motifs in both a triangular and a rectangular version
It’s going to take me *years* to get these things done, and that’s what’s most intimidating about it!
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Once again, I visited my sworn-sister the Knitting Ninja (along with a bunch of other friends) in her hometown of Ottawa for the annual Winterlude festivities. In addition to the usual things we do there – eat stew at the cook-off, drink lots of beer, buy fancy cheeses and make a meal of them, watch the Super Bowl – we visited two yarn stores.
Our first stop was the new Yarns Etc., where I acquired a skein of Cascade Heritage Paints in the understated blues and grays “Thunder” colourway. Understated blues and grays… if you’ve been following along for a while, you may have guessed that this is going to be socks for Michael. (And if you haven’t, now you know!) I have no idea when I’m going to get to them, and first he has to tell me where the last pair of socks could fit better, but eventually there will be a new pair of plain ribbed socks for him.
Since it was within blocks of our hotel, we walked down to Yarn Forward. Last year I’d gotten two skeins of Lang Merino 120, a smooth DK weight superwash yarn, in black. This year I supplemented them with three more skeins, one each of cream, green, and blue-ish. The colours aren’t exactly wintery, but somehow they remind me of winter. Blue and green are more springlike, but with the cream in there they make me think of ice. So I’m thinking of designing a Winterlude-inspired hat and armwarmers set to be my very first for-sale patterns.
To that end, I wandered around the ice sculptures in Confederation Park looking at, and sneaking pictures of, people’s hats. There was lots of inspiration to be found, since of course in February in Ottawa it’s cold enough for nearly everyone to be wearing a hat, and many of them are hand-knit.
Many of them also have earflaps, which was my motivation last year to knit the hat that I didn’t want to buy. I finished sewing the lining into my Winterlude Hat(tm) just a day before leaving, and got the cords in with some help from Pirate-Husband, and was quite pleased with how warm it was while I traipsed around Ottawa. There are a couple of things that I would change, if I were to be making it again: first, I’d make the earflaps wider. They are wider than my ears, but still let wind in unless I tied the cords under my chin. And second, I’d make the lining a teensy bit larger, because it felt as if the hat kept riding up on my head unless I tied the cords under my chin. So third, I’d make the cords a couple of inches longer, because it was hard to tie them while wearing gloves. Even without those things, I absolutely love my new hat. Wearing something made of yarn I spun myself is so gratifying! The polar fleece lining kept me from having a terrible case of hat hair, which is definitely a good thing. (I know I’m squinty in this picture. It was very bright out.)
Speaking of gloves, there’s another finger to repair on my Fleeps. They still kept my hands warm, though I can definitely feel that they’re getting thin. Maybe I can wear them for another year, but then it will be time to make another pair for myself. Meanwhile, Michael’s new Fleeps made their debut and did their job wonderfully. He says he’s going to show them off to everyone, and I totally believe him. The magnet-snaps that I sewed in are seriously awesome. My next pair will definitely have those included.
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As a designer, I love to get comments (and constructive criticism) on my patterns. It can totally make my day to see that notification pop up, and to read even the shortest of positive comments.
As a Raveler, I look almost-daily at the new patterns that have been listed and at the patterns my friends have queued or marked as favourites. I might pull up a dozen patterns a day to look at, and put some of them in my own list of favourites as well.
But I’ve noticed something recently that’s made me a little sad, and that’s the fact that I very rarely leave comments on patterns, even ones that go into my favourites or my queue. That’s not cool at all. So I’m resolving to leave more comments on patterns I like! The social aspect of Ravelry is one of its best parts, and I want to make the most use of that by letting designers know when I think a pattern is cute, clever or just plain awesome.
Will you join me?
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Hello, 2011! I think you and I are going to get along quite well. The year started off just right, waking up with two little kittens snoogled up to my legs. (Sorry for the crappy quality of the cell phone picture.) Now it’s time to light a fire under myself, because I have lots of plans for the year ahead!
First of all, I know of four babies who are going to be born in the first half of the year, and I’m planning to make something for each of them. I’m well on my way to finishing a (secret) gift for the first one; I’ve already bought the yarn for the second and third and I have sweater patterns picked out. But I have no idea what I’m going to knit for the fourth baby, who is due to arrive in May. Something autumn-ish in a six-month size, perhaps, or maybe a toy.
Second, I want to learn a new skill this year: I want to learn to crochet. Not just to put edging on a hat, but to actually make things with a hook and tangly stuff, rather than pointy things and tangly stuff. There’s a bunch of kitchen cotton in my stash waiting to be made into new Swiffer mop covers, and I keep eyeing this Prairie Star afghan as something I’d love to have over one of the guest beds. (Hm! Maybe I will crochet a toy for the fourth baby, and kill two birds with one stone.)
Third, this year I am going to finish all the projects that are currently in progress. It’s time to get them done and move on, no matter how much I might dislike working on them. Maybe even the hibernating projects, like the Ostrich Plumes lace.
Fourth, I am going to design, knit, and publish a new pattern this year. It may be socks, or armwarmers, or a one-skein fingering-weight shawlette.
The fifth one is the real biggie: There are two rooms in my basement. The front room has gym equipment and a guest bed futon in it, as well as a TV for watching while working out. The back room has the washer and dryer, but other than that it’s been sort of a landing spot for unwanted things since we moved into the house three years ago. I want to rebuild that room into a crafting space. Pirate-Husband is totally in; he wants a space in which he can do leatherwork. How awesome would it be to be able to work in the same room on our projects? To be able to leave the carder or the sewing machine out and not worry about a cat shredding anything in the night? To have a dedicated carding station! And one for leather! And one for drawing, too! To have a lightbox setup that will make it easy to take great pictures! I want to make it a cozy and inspirational space, a room that I’d want to hang out in, a room that just calls out “spend time here! do wonderful things!”
In closing, I’m going to share with you the New Year’s wish that Dad sent, because I think it’s just perfect:
I hope that all of you have a new year filled with happiness, and health.
Set your goals, set your sails and head off.
Let honor and goodness be your guides
Let peace and respect be your muses
Enjoy the journey as much as reaching the destination.
Happy New Year, everyone!
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End of year tallying-up post!
Incoming fibre in 2010:
3572 grams / 7.8 pounds – some handpainted top, some natural roving. Nearly four pounds of wool and one pound of alpaca were unexpected gifts to me! And I won a lovely 4 ounces of combed top in the Tour de Fleece, pictured here. It’s the brightest fibre I think I’ve ever owned.
Outgoing fibre in 2010:
Spun 450 grams / almost one pound. Participating in the Tour de Fleece sure helped with that number, but I’m hoping and planning to spin even more next year. Knitting with handspun yarn is a wonderful thing, and therefore I must make more yarn so that I can knit with it. This three-ply Corriedale would make great thick armwarmers, and I have some foresty green and gold merino/silk that would be wonderful as gloves or socks, and some bluesy-green Falkland that would be perfect as a hat.
Incoming yarn in 2010:
28 skeins in, which seems high, except eleven of them are small skeins for the twins’ sweaters.
Outgoing yarn in 2010:
19 skeins out, if I include the almost-done projects in my count. That might be cheating a bit. Twelve, if I only count 100% finished projects.
Here are the things I knit this year! Five pairs of socks, three of which were gifts. One pair was made from my very own handspun yarn. Two baby hats and a pair of baby booties, and an adult-size hat. Three more projects – Michael’s Fleeps, a hat and a secret baby gift – are very close to completion. Wow, I only finished two things for myself this year? Crazy.
If I have to pick a finished project, Pirate-Husband’s Paraphernalia socks were the most fun to work on. Keeping them secret was part of the fun, and so was modifying the pattern to fit his feet.
If it’s not cheating too much to pick a project that’s not 100% completed, I’m going to say the Winterlude Hat(tm). It’s knit from two-ply Jacob yarn I spun myself, it was a fun challenge to do the colourwork and get it even, I learned how to do a crocheted edging, and it’s going to be the warmest hat ever after I line it with polar fleece.
Least Favourite project:
If I have to pick a project that I finished, I think it would be the Gnome Hat and Booties. Not because there was anything wrong with the pattern, but because the yarn was no fun to work with.
Since I liked everything I finished this year, I’m going to go back to an unfinished project and say the Kureyon socks. I love how they look, but knitting with the Kureyon sock yarn is no fun for me at all. Perhaps I will buckle down in 2011 and get them done, already, and never buy this yarn again. Some people really like it, so I’ll leave it to them.
Two! First the Sibling Socks, a fine-gauge sock that grew from the need for a suitable pattern to use with Trekking XXL at 45 stitches per four inches. Then, in a more sensible gauge, the similar Cakewalk Socks.
I’d like to release at least one new pattern in 2011, and maybe even two of them! I’ve got plans in mind, it really will just come down to having enough time to sit down and work on them.
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Introducing… the Cakewalk Socks!
These simple socks are a piece of cake to knit – thus the name! They fit snugly thanks to the ribs, and would make a great gift for anyone. The ribbing continues down the back of the heel flap, and there’s no break in the purl ‘gutter’ between the leg and the foot of the sock.
Heel and toe numbers are provided for three different sizes.
SIZE: M [L, XL]
FINISHED MEASUREMENTS: To fit a foot that’s 8.5 [9.25, 10] inches around at widest point. The ribbing is stretchy and quite forgiving, so erring on the small side is all right.
YARN: Cascade Heritage or any fingering-weight yarn you like. The very blue sock was knit in size M using Cascade Yarns Heritage Paints in the “Isle of Skye” colourway. The more subdued socks were knit in size L in the “David’s Eyes” colourway (and photographed before I bought a pair of sock blockers, sorry!)
GAUGE: 36 stitches = four inches/10 cm (9 spi)
AND ALSO: five US 1/2.25mm double-point needles or size needed to get gauge, darning needle.
Cakewalk Socks Pattern – .pdf format
Cakewalk Socks page on Ravelry.com
Important Copyright Information:
The Cakewalk Socks knitting pattern by Knitting Pirate is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. You may make copies for your own personal use, but you may not sell copies of the pattern. You may sell the socks you make provided that credit is given to the Knitting Pirate for the design. If you have any questions about what you can or can’t do with this pattern, please feel free to contact the Knitting Pirate.
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Posted by Pirate in design, lace
I’ve been thinking about lace design.
I have a single skein of Madelinetosh Merino Light, 440 yards of yarn in the Vintage Frame colourway, to work with. I’ll have to swatch, of course, but I’m thinking that using US 5 (3.75 mm) needles would give a nice drapy fabric without looking too open in the stockinette sections, and help the yarn to go further. Not only is it a matter of not wanting to go buy a second skein, it’s also that I want this to be my first for-sale pattern, and I don’t want it to break anyone’s budget if they should decide to knit it up.
The first question is, what shape to make the shawl? A rectangular stole might be easiest to design, with no increases or decreases to account for, but I like the look of triangle and half-circle shawls as well. The half-circle could be made up of wedges or it could be made up of three triangles put together, which would look sort of like a square with one triangle cut out of it. I am considering making up two versions of the same design, one in the rectangular shape and one in another, as-yet-undecided, shape. And there will almost certainly be an optional ruffled edging.
Which type of shawl do you prefer: rectangular, half-circle, triangular, or some other shape? And why?
The second question is, what lace patterns should I use? This shawl/stole is being designed with a specific theme in mind, one that I’m not ready to share until I am a little further along in the process. After some consideration, I’ve come up with three symbols that represent my theme – heather flowers, chevrons, and cats’ paws. I am armed with the Barbara Walker Treasuries, several instructional webpages on how to integrate lace patterns into differently-shaped shawls, and a knitting symbols font loaded onto my computer. I am ready! Here we go! This will be fun!
I guess if I’m going to be the sort of knitter who makes shawls, that makes me into the sort of person who *wears* shawls. This is very, very far away from the image I have of myself, but I like to push that image sometimes to see how far it will go. I have a necklace made from a vintage typewriter key that says “margin release,” and I think that’s become my new motto. Push the boundaries, try new things! Get outside of the lines!
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Before the rain came through on Sunday, I was able to get outside to take some pictures. This is the merino top from Baba Black Sheep that I picked up at Maker Faire last weekend. It’s just under 4.5 ounces. I bought the fibre without having any plans for it. The way it spins up will help to determine what the knitting project will be. The deep blues and greens might be good as the background in some colourwork with a cream yarn for the contrast. Maybe some of the alpaca I have lying around would work for that. It was quite difficult to get the true colours of this fibre to show in the picture. The camera kept veering too light or too dark or too washed-out. Maybe it’s time to think about setting up a lightbox or even getting a new, better camera…
I finished the pointy hat for Angie’s baby on Friday night. It is adorable, and I’m sure she’s going to love it! Cascade Fixation was a good choice. The knitted fabric is firm enough that the hat doesn’t flop over at all, and the elastic will help keep it on. I’ve gotten started on the matching booties, and made myself go to bed at bedtime last night, even though I was so close to finishing the second bootie. Ah well, I can finish it up tonight and cross another project off my list. That’ll be a good feeling.
While I had the camera out, I got a picture of Mom’s first sock. The blocker that I made in two minutes from a wire hanger seems to be working well. The pattern is pretty simple, and very similar to the Sibling Socks, but I’m considering writing it up for publication anyway. Why not? There are a couple of things about it that are different from many of the ribbed patterns I’ve seen: first, the ribbing goes all the way down the heel, and second, I really like the way there’s no break in the purl ‘gutter’ between the leg of the sock and the foot. I’ve got the numbers written up for two sizes already. Might as well share, right? What do you think?
Speaking of design, I’ve got another pattern in the works. I’ve written most of it up, but the final version will have to wait until I can knit one up as a sample, to make sure I’ve got the numbers right. Then I’ll release it as another free, Creative-Commons licensed pattern.
Aubrey the Adorable. (Floyd is also adorable, but being both squirmy and dark-furred, he’s much more difficult to photograph.) I got this picture of her the other day just as she was just waking up from her afternoon nap. It’s amazing how empty the house seems without the kittens – they’ve spent the weekend at the vet’s for their spay/neuter surgeries. I’ll be picking them up after work today. Hopefully they haven’t felt too lonely and abandoned, and hopefully their recovery will be quick and easy!
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