designing knits, part 2

Picking up where I left off: My yarn arrived, I’ve cast on, and started knitting! The yarn is as soft and delicious as I remember – and yes, it will pill a little since it’s so soft. That’s the nature of the beast for a single ply merino wool, but it’s a trade-off I’ve chosen to deal with to gain the soft feel, the drape, and the pattern effect. Actually, that leads me nicely into what I wanted to share about the process of designing this top: compromises.

That doesn’t really sound like a good thing in designing, but here’s the deal – knitting this lace top the way my original pattern is written would be somewhat convoluted, and probably a little irritating. Let’s go back to how I made the pattern in the first place: I used a soft jersey to drape the top on a dressform to the look that I wanted, then transferred that to a paper pattern. Knowing my gauge from having knit my sample, it was just a matter of marking all the places that had changes in angles (like the waist, or the tip of the shoulder, or the collar line for example), measure the distances, and calculate the amount of rows and stitches that needed to change in between all those points. It was quite a lot of math work, but I think it was a pretty accurate way of coming up with the shaping of the garment.

Now, I followed these numbers accurately. This meant counting rows all the time, and in order to keep track of where I was, I kept having to note on my pattern what row of the 8 row pattern-repeat the next increase or decrease would happen on, so I knew I was on the right row. One decrease might happen on row 5 of the repeat, then I had to count 17 rows and make sure the next decrease in fact was on row 6 of the repeat, and so on.

I don’t think most knitters would find that approach very enjoyable, or logical, or clear. So here is where my compromises come in: in order to make it easier and less frustrating for the knitter, I am choosing to move the decreases and increases to always be at the same point in the pattern repeat. That way, all you have to count is how many of those repeats to go before the next decrease. Yes, the shaping won’t be as optimal as the original, but the tradeoff is a pattern that is better to work with. In the end, I think moving a decrease 3 or 4 rows won’t make too significant of a change to warrant a more knitpicky kind of counting.

Any other pet peeves in knitting from patterns? Mine is knitting in sections and sewing the back and fronts together when it could just be knit in one piece from the start!

summer knitting

Well, I think we’re a little bit past summer, but I also seem to be a little behind! Right now I’m working on sewing costumes for a show in Haugesund, which means long days of working and unfortunately, not being able to share any of it! For the time being at least – I can’t wait to show it after the premiere later in October. Until then, hush hush!

But I do want to show what I was working on this summer!

Before I took off on my cross-country and back road trip at the beginning of June, I had grand plans for all the knitting I was going to get done. After all, 9000 miles and countless hours in a car – surely that is prime knitting-time? Um, no. Between taking in the views, reading maps, and just being there, the knitting definitely took a back-seat (ah, no pun intended… though I had a totebag of yarn, patterns, and needles in a designated spot in the back-seat! Nestled in between a pair of hiking shoes, and two bikes).

I didn’t actually finish anything until arriving back in Norway, but I finally have something to show of my road-trip knitting!

From New Mexico to Maine

I found out right before I left that a dear teacher and friend is having her first baby this fall, and I immediately thought of what I could make her. The yellow yarn was left-over from my Bayview Street cardigan, and the light grey is from the Émilien I made for my dad. I think the graphic stripes will suit her well – she’s really bold and fun and quirky. I made up the pattern with a top-down, raglan increase method, and just knit until it looked right. I don’t know the first thing about baby sizes, so I do hope it will fit!

From Maine to Norway

I got to meet one of the youngest in my boyfriends family this summer, a little 1 and a half-year old. She is just adorable, and I’d been eyeing the “Little sister’s dress” on ravelry for a while, so it was time to make it! The construction is quite simple, but so effectful! And since it works as a dress, or a tunic/top, it has a bit longer of a life-span, which is nice.

From Chicago to…..

And finally… The February Fitted Sweater. I’ve attempted several different projects with this Sisu yarn, and I think this is the right way to go. I started it almost a year ago (!), and after it took a long break while I was working on my collection knits, I was convinced I would finish it during our road-trip. I think it got a total of 3 hours of attention (2 of which spent knitting something I had to undo), and it’s really not gotten further at all. It needs a little more attention than a scarf or a small baby-sweater, since it has shaping and sleeves and different things going on. Maybe by Christmas I’ll have it done! I will be moving into an apartment with a woodstove in a couple of weeks, how cozy does that sound? A deep chair by a roaring fire, a cup of tea, and some knitting!

Bayview Street cardigan in progress

I mentioned a cardigan I was planning to knit in this post a couple of months ago (wow, already? How time flies!), and I’ve made progress! It’s the Bayview Street Cardigan, which I fell absolutely in love with, and had to make for myself.

I’ve knit the body up to the armholes, and now I’m working on all the shoulder parts. I’ve also gotten one sleeve done, with the other waiting patiently to be started. Now, I’ve been doing my very best to follow the pattern (for once), but it seems I’m uncapable of that. I haven’t done any major changes, but I messed up the sleeve a bit, starting the increasing way higher than I was supposed to. The only consequence is that the sleeve is now a little narrow, but I think I can live with that. Also, the waist shaping ended up wonky for me, so I fudged the position of that a little as well.

This is a lovely cardigan to knit, and I’m completely enamoured with my yarn as well – Cascade 220 Heathers. It is fairly soft, has a lovely heathered/tweedy character to it, and…. the color! I love this unclassifiable color! Is it yellow? Is it green? Is it brown? It is for sure perfectly suited to the lovely fall weather we’re having at the moment – welcome yellow leaves, rustling in the wind!

There is a knit-along for this cardigan on ravelry, and initially the goal was to spend the month of September making this. Clearly, I haven’t managed that (totally unofficial) goal, but I’m ok with that. I’m enjoying the knitting as it slowly grows, and I don’t think it’ll be that long before I can seam the cardigan up, block it, and wear it.

(my ravelry project page)