My husband and I moved to a new apartment last week. I know myself well enough to know that when my life is in uproar I need something simple and soothing to knit. One of my knitting friends just gave me the most gorgeous skein of yarn (it’s Ella Rae Lace Merino DK in colour 201), and rather than tossing it into the stash I decided to cast it on right away. Originally I planned to make a Rikke Hat, but I just cannot stand the jog you get when knitting garter stitch in the round. So what is a knitter to do, but design her own hat?
I made a swatch and blocked it before measuring my gauge (Can we just take a moment to discuss how important blocking is? If you plan to wash your knitting ever, you need to wash and block before checking your gauge. Wool reacts to water. Sometimes it grows, sometimes it shrinks. Sometimes there is no noticeable difference. But you don’t know until you block it. Block your swatches, people!). Then I measured my head, calculated the number of stitches I needed, and cast on.
In order to avoid the dreaded garter jog I added a cable to my hat. Simple, effective, and very cute. I can’t wait to wear this thing!
What kind of project is “comfort knitting” for you?
I’ve been working on another design, this time for fingerless gloves. They are knit with fingering weight yarn and US 3 (3.25 mm) needles. I started the first glove September 8, according to Ravelry.
Of course the first glove was not quite right. So I had to knit a second first glove. I finished it last night and I think it is just about perfect. So now I am racing to the finish line, trying to knit the first second glove before the end of the month. Why the rush, you ask? The gloves have already been accepted by Knotions Magazine for their December issue. Squeee!
It’s been a white since I published my last design. This hasn’t been intentional, but I find that if I don’t plan things out I don’t do them. Accordingly, I drew out a calendar for the next few months (can you believe that I don’t have a single calendar in my house??) and wrote in several design goals for the next few months. I included time for swatching, time for knitting parts of a pair (if applicable), time for pattern testing, and hopeful release dates.
So I have started work on my next design. It will be a pair of lightly cabled fingerless mitts. My first swatch is done and blocked, and I’m ready to start the second.
Note to self: writing charts is hard!
There is nothing like being interviewed to make you feel like a “real” designer. I started working with Cyndi Tiedt recently when I asked her to tech edit my next pattern (It’s called Raindrops and Wildflowers, and I’m releasing it in the beginning of July). She got the pattern back to me super quickly and had some really helpful feedback. If you are thinking of designing and need a tech editor Cyndi is the person you want.
Cyndi recently started a new series on her blog where she interviews some of the designers she works with. She kicked the series off by interviewing me.
- Where do you get your inspiration for designing?
I find inspiration in so many places. Sometimes a yarn will inspire me or a stitch pattern that I just can’t not use. I studied music in college and I’ve thought about doing a series of patterns based on operas.
- What are your favourite items to design? Accessories? Garments? Toys?
Right now my ideas are mostly for accessories. Hats, cowls, and mitts are easier to design than sweaters, but I’d love to work up to some sweater designs.
- What is your favourite design that you’ve made? Why?
Currently I have only published one pattern: the Chevron Lace Headband. It’s free on Ravelry, and a delightful knit if I do say so myself. I’m working on a second pattern that I plan to release in July.
- Do you prefer using textural stitch patterns or colour to highlight your design features?
Right now I’m favoring textured stitches. I’m always amazed at how much a single colour can bring to the table when paired with different textures.
- If you were on a desert island and could only bring ONE project to work on, what would it be?
I believe the standard answer is a wedding ring shawl since this would take forever to knit. That sounds like a great option to me, especially since you wouldn’t need anything very heavy to wear on a desert island.
- If there were a house fire and for some reason you had enough time to dive into your stash, but you could only grab ONE skein to save…..which one would it be and why?
I recently spun 575 yards of beaded silk in a mustardy colour. It was a pain to spin, especially with the beads, but the result is stunning! I don’t know if I can bear to knit with it ever (but if I do I will probably make the Aeolian Shawl).
The Quick 10:
- Colour or neutral? Colour, but not too bright.
- Cashmere or silk? Silk
- Wool or alpaca? Wool
- DPN’s or Magic Loop? DPN’s all the way!
- Seamless or seamed? Seamless wherever possible
- Straight or circular? Circular all the way
- Continental or English? Continental
- Wood or metal needles? Wood, except for DPN’s size US2 or under. Then I prefer metal.
- Lace or cables? Lace
- Socks or shawls? Both.
Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night, and then you can’t go back to sleep again? That was me last night – er – this morning. Finally I gave up on sleep and let my mind wander. I was wondering about a few things I got out of the stash last night.
I bought a stack of mawata silk hankies a year or so ago, started knitting something, and realized that I didn’t have enough to finish. Very sad panda. I can’t replicate the colours or the texture with another yarn, so I was stumped. I realized this morning that I can pair it with another yarn that is very dissimilar to highlight their differences. More on this later. I’m hoping to make it into a pattern.
There’s only so much I can do on a design without swatching…so I started thinking about other colour combinations. A coworker is having a baby in a few months and I’ve decided to make a scrappy Baby Surprise Jacket.
All together I have about 2 full skeins of fingering weight yarn from stash. Hopefully this will be enough to make a stripey sweater.
What do you do when you can’t sleep?
I have been interested in designing since I started knitting 5 years ago. I have recently started dipping my toes into the design pool, but I would never quite finish a pattern. I got scared: What if I’m not doing it right? What if no one likes my patterns? What if I make a horrible error in the pattern and screw up some poor unsuspecting knitter for life?? Doubts and fears can be good things, but at some point you have to grab life by the horns and just do something. So that’s what I’ve done. Here is my first published knitting pattern. It is a simple lace headband – bold enough to stand on its own, but light enough to wear even on a hot summer day.
Chevron Lace Headband – available for free on Ravelry