Monthly Archive for: ‘March, 2013’

Design Process: Blocking!


(Seventh in my series of design posts. Earlier posts are here: Part SixPart FivePart FourPart ThreePart TwoPart One.)

The sweater is done! I had plenty of the BFL sport left when I finished the last sleeve, so I couldn’t resist adding a cozy pocket on the front. I kept it small-scale to (hopefully) avoid the young teenager/sweatshirt look:

front pocketNext up in the design process is blocking. When I’m knitting someone else’s pattern, I sometimes skip blocking–especially if it’s an item that’s going to get wet anyway, like a woolly hat–but I always, always block designs intended for publication.

This pre-blocking picture illustrates why. See the wrinkles and uneven stitches?

pre-blockingThe sweater fit me perfectly before blocking, which is good, since my swatch didn’t change in length or width when I blocked it. I took detailed pre-blocking measurements anyway, since the fabric usually gets stretched out and needs to be patted back into shape.


I warned you earlier about my nonexistent artistic skills.

And here it is in all its pinned-out glory. Esme is guarding the sleeve (and was summarily ejected from the room after the picture was taken):

sweater blockingNext step in my design process: schedule a haircut/color. No, seriously. I’ll be the model for this design (obviously, since I knit it to my measurements), and I’m waaaayy overdue for a trip to the salon. While I’m waiting for my appointment, I’ll start in on the pattern writing–my least favorite part of the whole process, but necessary!

Sweater update (and some stash enhancement!)


(Sixth in my series of design posts. Earlier posts are here: Part Five, Part Four, Part Three, Part Two, Part One.)

I missed WIP Wednesday this week (probably just as well, since I keep showing the same sweater–I imagine people might get sick of it eventually!), but I thought I’d do a little progress report anyway.

The gray sweater is moving right along. I made a design decision when I reached the sleeves to knit them twice as long as I originally intended, so they can be cuffed or flipped over to cover the hands if it’s especially cold. I thought this worked well with the cozy vibe of the sweater.

gray sweater sleeve shotOf course, that means I have to knit 2×2 ribbing on little needles for twice as long. Ugh. But since that picture was taken, I’ve knit the second sleeve up to the ribbing. I’m hoping to grit my teeth and power through the rest tonight.

But when that’s done, I’ll have to make another design decision–front pocket or no? Hmm.

In other news, I’ve gone kind of nutty with yarn buying this week. I swear I didn’t mean to! One of my favorite online retailers, Doodlebug Yarn, sent me an email announcing a sale on Imperial Yarn Columbia. I’ve been dying to knit a sweater out of this yarn since my husband used it to knit his first hat, so I snapped up a sweater’s worth:

Imperial Yarn ColumbiaI’m trying to branch out a little from my usual jewel tones, so I decided to order this delicious golden yellow.

And then I spotted a single skein of Mint Julep Sundara Yarn Merino Worsted in someone’s Ravelry destash. Yum.

Sundara mint julepAnd just to make me look really hedonistic, I realized I forgot to show off the skein of Malabrigo Rastita I bought a few weeks ago (my mom suggested a visit to a yarn store! Really, was I going to say no??):

Malabrigo Rastita purplesIt was a little hard to photograph the color correctly, but it’s a gorgeous blend of magentas and purples.

I better finish the gray sweater soon, because I’ve got a lot of yarn calling my name….

FO Friday: Critters!


I finished the Owl Puff for my friend a few days ago:

Owl puffIsn’t it adorable? Really simple, too. If I made it again, I might add a purl row between the base and the straight rows, just to make the owl stand up a little better. But my owl-loving friend got her package and adores it!

I also whipped up an apple mascot for a second writer-friend:

Dee's appleI used this pattern, and I think it came out pretty cute! (Check the comments on that blog post if you plan to knit the apple–there’s an error in the pattern as written.) I was a little worried the safety eyes took the apple into creepy territory, but my friend loved it and I’ve been informed it’s cute rather than creepy by several others. Whew. :-)

Oh, and I realized I forgot to show off some new yarn I bought last weekend!

Good for Ewe CladdaghI hadn’t heard of Good for Ewe before I saw their yarn in a local-ish shop, but it turns out they’re a new, Indianapolis-based yarn company! The Claddagh pictured above is the perfect St. Patrick’s Day yarn, isn’t it? And it’s sooooffffttt. I’m thinking a hat (because I’m pretty much always thinking a hat)… and maybe some short fingerless gloves to match?

WIP Wednesday: Neck! And Buttons!


(This is fifth in my series of design process posts. Earlier posts are here: Part Four, Part ThreePart TwoPart One.)

The sweater is progressing, if a little slower than I’d like (I’ve been working on a bunch of pattern writing, which is cutting into my knitting time). But I got the neck finished last night!

gray sweater neckI was going for a “looks like a hoodie from the front, but hardly any bulk in the back” thing, and I’m really happy with the way it turned out! Needs blocking, of course, but I think it’ll be pretty close to the sketch once the back neck is stretched out a little more. I did the neck before the sleeves, as that’s usually the more iffy part of a design for me, so I’ll be working on the sleeves this week.

In other news, I went to a button show this week!

Button show floorIt was, quite frankly, a little surreal. I was hoping to find some neat buttons for future designs, which I did (see below!), but I didn’t quite realize how passionate most of the people there would be about their buttons. These people are SERIOUS collectors. There were buttons there selling for hundreds, even thousands of dollars!

Every once in a while, it’s nice to be reminded there are people with hobbies that are generally regarded as even crazier than mine, heh.

But everyone there was incredibly nice, and I came away with some very lovely (and cheap) buttons!

IMG_6617 IMG_6622 IMG_6628If you want to know more about the button show (you masochist, you), my husband did a great blog post about it–and the bizarre hotel that hosted the show–on his blog here.

WIP Wednesday: Sweater-in-progress and Owl Puff


(This is fourth in my series of design process posts. Earlier posts are here: Part Three, Part Two, Part One.)

The sweater design is still rolling along! I just started the bottom ribbing on size US #3 needles, ugh. But I should be done with the body later tonight.

New sweater design WIP

Last weekend, I was working merrily along on the neck increases below the sleeve split when I realized I’d made a pretty serious math error when I set the whole thing up. This is, unfortunately, as much a part of my design process as sketching or swatching. (That’s what I get for trying to crunch numbers while watching Supernatural episodes.)

So I had two choices at that point–rip out the entire yoke of the sweater, back to the point when I started the neck decreases–about an inch from the cast on–or rearrange the numbers so they worked with what I’d already done.

Guess which one I picked?

Turns out I like this neckline shape better anyway, though. I’m calling it a fortuitous accident. :-)

I also cast on a little mini-project yesterday:

owl puff WIPIt’s an in-progress Owl Puff (Ravelry link)! A friend of mine has helped me tremendously with the fiction-writing side of my life and loves owls, so she’s getting a little surprise in the mail as soon as I can get to the craft store to buy some felt and safety eyes.

And along those lines: I signed with a literary agent for my fiction yesterday! It means I’m that much closer to my goal of writing for a living. So it’s been a very good week all around. :-)