Saturday, June 25, 2011

OK that's finished, now what?

Friday June 24, 2011


I finished the Plymouth Zino scarf yesterday and it is blocked and probably dry. It doesn’t take long. I washed it and put in the blocking wires this morning. I’m feeling that sinking feeling that I get almost every time I finish a project.

I’ve been playing with shawl ideas and swatching, but I’m not ready to start one yet. Left over sock yarn in a similar colorway was used for the swatch. I think I need fewer holes. The color seems to fight with the lace.

I have some birthday socks to knit. This is the pair that I knit the swatches for, and decided to change patterns. The new pattern is going well, but I’m not feeling the joy. I expect it will get better as I get farther into the project.. Right now, it keeps my fingers busy, and will result in a gift for my son whose birthday is July 5.

I also need to make an animal for our guild toy competition/give away. I have a rabbit pattern picked out. I need that by July 11. Then I can start the shawl, maybe. I need a gift for son-in-law’s 50th birthday. I’m thinking socks again. Then there are the socks for big-foot., who has a birthday in early August.. He is soooo appreciative, as what I knit are the only socks that really fit.

Saturday June 26

I'm liking the Zino shawlette. A large shawl would have a sort of granny square effect. I'll keep that thought.

The swatch was knit with Plymouth Sockotta, left over from socks. The new yarn is also by Plymouth, and I expect the same sort of random colors. The next swatch will have fewer holes. I think the needle size is good for this yarn.

The rabbit is started. It's a Fiona McTague pattern from Knitted Toys. I've started with a smaller needle than recommended, but the pattern is written in stitches and rows, not inches, so I'll continue. I'm using WoolEase sprinkles.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Thoughts on Designing

I've been thinking recently about shawl designs, and trying out a couple of ideas. A year ago, I was given two balls of Plymouth Zino, a sock yarn with long color repeats, and was asked to design shawls with them.

It's not so easy to create the pattern, while trying not to muddy the colors. Here's yarn #1. This is the point where I gave up on this design. I think it is the third try and I didn't want to rip it out again. I used one ball of yarn, and it is more of a collar because when I cast on, I misfigured and ended up with 3 triangles.

I like the stitch pattern. I'm not sure about the lace edging, or the 3 triangles. I wore the shawlette to TNNA earlier this month and got a lot of positive response, which was nice. I may still sell a version of this one.

The other ball of yarn was more muted/darker. I tired separate motifs with this one. I used a square set in the center back on the diagonal. When I finished the square, I left all stitches live. The side motifs are triangles, made of 2 sections of the square. The pieces were joined by looping the live stitches. I don't know if I can explain that in a pattern so someone else could do it. It was a good idea, but somewhat of a pain to do. The lace was worked directly on the live stitches. I tried working it perpendicular to the main pattern, which is the most common way to knit lace edgings, but the color blocks looked wrong.

I'm liking the lace edging. I tried knitting straight onto the edge, but the pattern is set up so that it doesn't flow well into the edging. The pattern for the square doesn't have a consistent number of stitches between segments, so I may not keep the charts for it. I decided to frame the motif section and then knit the lace edge. It's looking better so far. If I use the idea again, I'll try a pattern that has segments with stitch counts that are consistent, so the lace edge can flow smoothly from the pattern in the square.

This why I don't do magazine submissions unless I've already worked out the bugs in a pattern. The turn around is too quick for trial and error.

I've also designed a couple of pairs of socks after knitting other people's sock patterns for quite a while. I'm happy with this one, but haven't written the pattern yet. The charts are finished in their final form, So I just need to sit down with a little bit of time. I don't need to write the pattern all at once. I can do it in bite size pieces.

This sock has a cable on the foot that takes 2 cable needles, so it is fairly complex. I like how the leg transitions into the foot, but I need a better photo for the pattern. The photo of both socks shows some imperfections that I really didn't see in real life. The lighting needs to show the texture, but not show up problems I didn't know about. I did something a little different with the heel and gusset, and want it to show up in the picture.

I'm also working on some socks for my son. Stitch pattern A contained lace and cables. I thought I could rework the pattern to have a non-lace option by replacing the yarn overs with another increase. After 2 swatches, I decided that it was too much work and would not show up with the multicolor yarn I plan on using. The top swatch looks good, but the pattern is less defined on the lower ones. A new stitch pattern has been found that fits the stitch count and will be much easier to knit.

There are so many things to think about in creating a design, I was talking to one of my daughters about a child's sweater I have for sale on Ravelry. I designed this one a number of years ago. Recently someone contacted me with math questions about the armhole. I completely reworked the numbers to better fit the pattern repeat, created a new PDF, and uploaded the new PDF to Ravelry and Patternfish. Upon review of the pattern, I realized that I had learned a lot since the original writing.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

New Sock Designs

I've finished another pair of socks and still need to write the pattern, although the charts are done which is the hardest part. The yarn is from Knit Picks and the Solid socks group color was orange. SKA had a write your own pattern challenge this month, so I did. They also have a self-striping challenge, but I don't seem to have any yarn that qualifies. I do tend to buy solids and semi-solids because I like texture.

I have some yarn that I thought would stripe, but the color lengths are too short. I'm working on a pattern for that one that would have worked with stripes. The hitch is that they are supposed to move up and down by in creases and decreases, rather than just be straight.

Last weekend was busy. On Saturday, I had to work, but SKA had a photo scavenger hunt. All photos had to have a sock in progress in the photo. This is the first year I've participated. I asked lots of friends to help me. A neighbor provided the child under 12 on a bicycle. He was supposed to hold the sock, but he'd only had the bike about 5 days and was busy. Another friend in uniform held the sock, but I didn't realize he should have been on his bicycle. There was a limit of 10 photos. I think I posted 9. Some of my best ideas didn't work, but there's always next year. I went to see a world famous politician, but his monument was closed about 1/2 hour before I got there. There were hundreds of non-knitters in the cemetery too, but I needed to be knitting in front of them. DH will be put to work on more photos next year.

Sunday I went to Columbus, OH for the TNNA trade show. My LYS owner drove, so I got a lot of knitting done. Talked to many people about designing and got a few good handouts. I also had Jeni's ice cream for lunch ( a must if I'm in the area)

I'm growing tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers in my garden this year as well as a few herbs and the usual flowers. Last year I tried tomatoes, but planted them under two trees. The area used to have lots of sunshine. I did get some tomatoes, but this year should be better.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Winding Up May

The last prom has been held. The orange dress had lots more rhinestones added to it. It wasn't hard, just time consuming. I can live without the glue covered fingers, however.

My last challenge was to shorten a dress from the middle. The skirt fit without hemming, but the top stood up from her shoulders. I took 3 1/2" out at the waist. I wasn't entirely happy with the fit, but it was a last minute job and had the advantage of lacing up the back.

We had our usual Memorial Day gathering at my daughter's house. It was warm enough for kids in the sprinkler, although the grass in back of the house was a swamp and we all sat on the driveway.

I finished another pair of socks, a mystery pair with beads strung on the yarn, a first for me. The design is called Artichoke.

I also finished a sweater that has been in the works since last August. The pattern was easy, so it was my go to project for when I needed mindless knitting. Once upon a time last summer, our guild had a scarf knit-along. I loved the yarn and there was lots left over, so i started a top down sweater, thinking that I could finish it with something else if the yarn ran out. I probably could knit a shawl with what's left now.

The pattern is fairly lacy, so I'll be wearing something under it. The picture tries to show the sheerness as well as the subtle colors. for a couple of hours, I had nothing on my needles except another fashionista scarf. From now until the September guild meeting, I'll be knitting scarves, although I've slowed down now. Total stands at 13 1/2 scarves.

This month';s sock challenge is DYO in one group and orange in another. Another option is stripes. Use self striping yarn, but pick a pattern that is not straight stripes, make them wave or do zigzags. I have a design for that too. I'm not sure my yarn qualifies for self striping, but will fit the DYO option. Photos later.

I've been working on the garden. All the annuals flowers are planted. Rain really slowed that job down. Every time I had the time. it rained. I also bought tomatoes and peppers in a number of varieties.

Remodeling continues. One bedroom is finished and another one needs to be emptied. DH decided that the guest be needed to be replaced, so we bought a bed frame. We'll keep the headboard. He also decided that it was time to replace the waterbed. The weight of it has caused damage to walls below it, and it will need to be moved for painting and electrical work. We bought a mattress to fit the frame. I'd really hate to give up the drawers under the bed. I'd have nowhere to put all my socks.

Remodeling daughter has given up sugar for the next month, so I'm having to get creative with the lunches I leave for her. Recently it's been salads, so I made dressing last week. I've found that I can use plain yogurt and sour cream as well as olive oil and wine vinegar. Mayo contains sugar, and I'm not ready to try making my own.

My favorite picnic salad is made from seedless watermelon, tomatoes, and fresh basil, dressed with olive oil and wine vinegar.