Just a quick little WIP Wednesday post today, mainly because my Creme de Menthe vest looked like this a few days ago:
Sigh. I had a feeling while I was working on the vest last week that it was coming out too big, but I pushed the feeling aside and soldiered on, not wanting to contemplate ripping out and starting over (we all do this, right? Tell me it’s not just me). But when I had about 8-9 inches of fabric, I finally measured, and sure enough–it was almost 2″ too wide. My gauge changed from 5.5 sts/inch in the swatch to 5.25 sts/inch in the vest. Not a big deal if it’s a small piece, but it makes a lot of different over a whole garment.
But oh well. I’ve started again with fewer stitches and have about 3″ done. And I’m still madly in love with the yarn, so it could be a lot worse. :-)
The purple vest is almost ready for public viewing! We did a very successful photoshoot in our new backyard. It has this great wooden fence, which makes an excellent photo backdrop. Here’s a sneak peek from the photoshoot:
I’m done with the Excel sizing (XXS to 4X for this pattern), so the next steps are to lay out the pattern, finalize the chart, and proofread. Then I’ll put the pattern up for testing on Ravelry (likely in the Testing Pool group–if you think you might be interested in testing, drop me a line!).
I also need to think up a name for the pattern. Since it reminds me so much of grapes, I’m thinking maybe Concord Vest? Like these concord grapes:
And I’ve started another project! While looking through my Madelinetosh stash to get ideas for Madelinetosh May projects, I was struck with a colorwork hat idea. I tried to be good and wait for May so I could do the knitalong with everyone else, but I couldn’t stand waiting, so…
The main colorwork pattern is in Tosh Sock in French Gray and Norway Spruce. The lining (to be tacked up when the rest of the hat is complete) is Tosh too, but laceweight so it’ll tuck under without much bulk. I love how the design is going so far!
I don’t know what my deal is, though: usually I’m strictly a DK and up gal, but my last three projects have been on size 2-5 needles. Guess I’m branching out a little…
Thanks for all the commiseration on my gray sweater debacle! Kirstin asked if Photoshop would be helpful in editing out the pooling spots. I’ve gotten pretty good at editing out the stray hair or tree branch, but I’m afraid making the middle part of the sweater look like the top would be well beyond my abilities. See all the light bits on the top?
Yeah, I wouldn’t even know where to start. Plus, I like to keep my samples in photo-ready condition, since there’s always the possibility of trunk shows, the need for photo reshoots, etc.–and wouldn’t it be a cheat if I managed to fix the photo so it looked good and then showed up with the pooling monstrosity?
Anyway, I’m moving on! Due to a sudden and all-consuming love affair with this purple Cephalopod yarn (and, okay, a desire for some damn color and texture after all that endless gray stockinette!), I have the purple vest blocking already:
Yum. It really looks good enough to eat, doesn’t it? Its working title is the Grape Vest, because it reminds me of the luscious spectrum of purple grapes you get at the beginning of the fall season. I’ll probably change the name, but it’ll always be Grape Vest to me….
Hope everyone out there had a happy Easter! (Or a happy Sunday, if you don’t celebrate.) My husband and I like to exchange little Easter baskets. This year, I left my shopping until the last minute–and to my horror, the store was out of Easter grass! So I improvised with a skein of truly horrific Day-Glo acrylic:
My husband was properly appreciative of my ingenuity.
I was hoping to have pictures of the gray sweater for you today, since it’s all done and blocked, but our impromptu photo shoot this weekend didn’t go so well. I wanted to take pictures of the sweater in the library of our new house, since that works with the sweater’s cozy feel. It turns out our library is just too dark for good photos, though, even with every light we have in the house.
Ah well. We’re scouting out potential locations for an outdoor shoot this week.
In the meantime, there’s a lot of this going on behind the scenes:
I’ve finally switched entirely over to using Excel for pattern writing. I used to do everything by hand, but I recently took Faina Goberstein’s excellent Craftsy class on pattern writing, and I’m a total Excel convert now. It saves me so much time!
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:
Next 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?
The 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.
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):
Next 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!
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.
Of 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:
And then I spotted a single skein of Mint Julep Sundara Yarn Merino Worsted in someone’s Ravelry destash. Yum.
And 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??):
I better finish the gray sweater soon, because I’ve got a lot of yarn calling my name….
I got such a nice response to the post about my design process for Lavandula that I thought I’d try an experiment! A new design idea bit me hard a few days ago, so I thought it might be fun to do a series of posts detailing its creation, from first idea to pattern release. (Thanks to the lovely Becky of Sugar Tree Designs for the idea!)
First up: the inspiration.
The initial spark of an idea comes, more often than not, from some hole in my wardrobe.
I’m not doing much dressing up these days, so I’m feeling a lack of casual, comfy, cozy pullovers. You know, the kind you’d wear to curl up in a big chair in front of a fireplace.
So that’s the basic concept out of the way. But what about the details?
I save lots of pictures from catalogs, email mailings, and random internet searches for features I like. I also take pictures of sweaters A LOT. In clothing stores, out walking around, in lines at the grocery store… I know some designers prefer to look at fashion magazines or runway collections, but to me there’s nothing like seeing the way a collar drapes, color does/does not flatter, etc. in person.
I’ve perfected my “take a surreptitious picture with my iPhone, without freaking out the subject” technique.
Every so often, I go through my photos and see if inspiration strikes.
I saved this picture because I liked how far down the v-neck came (very flattering to larger busts):
I like the width of the ribbing on this next one (although I’m not really a fan of the lace pattern in the rest of the sweater or the airy-ness of the yarn used, and I don’t think I’d put a v-neck in the back as well as the front):
Big, floppy collars just scream cozy to me–plus I like when it looks like there’s a hood from the front, but there’s not all the extra fabric of a full hood, just a rectangle of fabric partway down the back. Actually, I have no idea what to call this. Is it a shawl collar, just without the short-rows? I can’t find a picture of what I’m talking about by searching for shawl collar, so maybe not. Anyone know what its official name is?
I also like front pockets, and they’re definitely cozy… but I’m a little iffy on whether I want to include one in this design or not–it’s hard to pull off without making the sweater seem too casual. But I’m putting the decision off until later, when I have a better idea about yarn choices and the overall look of the piece.
With those criteria in mind, I can start brainstorming in earnest. Next step: sketching!
I’m still working on the same sweater, but I’m not quite as lovey-dovey about it this week.
I finished the body and the neckband, which is good:
But the little jog where the neckband ribbing meets the placket ribbing is bothering me. Which is bad.
It’s especially bad because I wove in all the ends already… thinking that the main reason I didn’t like the look was because there were dangling ends everywhere. *facepalm*
I think I might have to unpick all the ends, rip it out, and try again… which doesn’t make me very happy. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my year + of designing, it’s that time spent re-doing something that isn’t quite perfect is time well-spent. That was true when I wasn’t designing, too, of course. I just didn’t want to hear it then.
Want to help me get psyched up for all that ripping? :-(
For the first time in about five years, I haven’t knit a stitch for the past four or five days. I’m waiting for two (count ’em, two!) shipments of yarn for commissioned designs that both have tight timeframes… so I haven’t wanted to start anything, knowing I won’t be able to pick it up again for a few months.
But pattern writing and math for Blue Betty are happening, so that’s good:
And lots of writing is getting done (my other artistic pursuit), so that’s good too. But I hope my yarn comes soon–my fingers are definitely feeling a bit itchy!