Photos by Leah Coccari-Swift
Summer seems like a good time to knit accessories, don’t you think? I like small projects when it’s hot–no heavy fabric sitting on your lap like there is with a sweater or baby blanket (guess what projects I set aside recently) and a quick return on your investment. One summer I knitted four pairs of socks. My feet were very happy.
Up there are my Gracefully hat and Lux Cowl. Gracefully comes in five sizes, from preemie to adult, and is knitted in Koigu Kersti Merino Crepe. Lux Cowl is one size, but would be easy to adjust if you wanted a larger loop scarf; it’s knitted in SweetGeorgia Merino Silk Aran. The patterns are $5 each if you are into that sort of thing, and there is always a 15% discount if you buy any three patterns in my Ravelry store.
…and now back to your regular, non-self-promotional programming.
I have a new FREE pattern out today in Petite Purls! Soledad is a cabled pullover for boys.
In the introduction to the pattern, I say:
This sweater has existed in my mind for years now, ever since we started taking our son hiking in the high desert of Southern California.
I wanted to talk a little bit about how the long process this design took from idea to finished.
This is the first swatch I ever knitted for the design that eventually became Soledad. At the time, I was picturing a winding cable along the front raglan “seam,” with no other note-worthy decoration on the sweater. I wanted to use a variation on the DNA cable or the snake cable (which is what I used for the swatch). I submitted this to Knit Circus, but although it was held onto for consideration for a while, ultimately it did not get in.
This is the second swatch I knitted for Soledad. (Sorry for the crappy photo–I just snapped it. Read on and you’ll see why.) About a year had passed and I’d hit on the idea of starting the cable at the side of the sweater and carrying part of it up the front. It was good, but not perfect. I decided to submit this to Petite Purls, but the swatch disappeared before I could photograph it.
Allegra gave me a submission extension, and I knitted this swatch. The cable shown here is nearly identical to the cable on the finished sweater. I doubt I would ever have come up with it if my original submission had been accepted, or my second swatch had not gone missing. Interestingly, that second swatch turned up as soon as I’d re-knitted with the improved cable.
The yarn for the sweater also seems like it was meant to be. I had originally gotten yarn support from another yarn company whose yarn I was having second thoughts about, so when they had a delay and couldn’t get the yarn to me, Felicia of SweetGeorgia Yarns stepped in with her superwash DK, which is absolutely ideal for the sweater. If the other company hadn’t had problems with their distributer, who knows what Soledad would look like! (By the way, I adore the other yarn company–I just don’t think it was the right choice for this pattern.)
Psst…the person I knitted this baby sweater for is reading this. Wait. The person I knitted this baby sweater for is inside someone who is reading this. It might be you! If you have a person inside you!
I also wrote it up as a pattern, because I do stuff like that sometimes. I’m calling it Welcome, Baby and you can buy it on Ravelry if you are so inclined.
I’m also having a trunk show of my designs tonight at Knit Culture Studio on West 3rd Street. I’ll be there with Leah from 6-8 pm and there will be cake. If you’re in the area I hope you’ll come by.
…in my knitting. (Did I scare you?)
I’m working on a design right now. Pattern and sample need to be finished by, oh, next week. Wait, the week after. Really soon, anyway. I got the yarn six days ago. I was originally supposed to get different yarn altogether, but there were some mix-ups and I ended up getting last-minute yarn support from a hand dyer whose work I have just discovered and am crazy in love with. She sent me yarn for this sweater as well as some sample skeins to play with. LOVE.
(I’m actually working on a long blog post about the design itself, which I won’t be sharing until the pattern comes out–it’s for a magazine and I can’t show pictures yet–because it’s been evolving for a couple of years now.)
I’ve been knitting non-stop, unless pausing to take notes counts as stopping (it doesn’t). It’s a great combination of interesting and mindless knitting (panels of charted pattern between great swaths of stockinette), a terrific yarn, and I’m making great progress–it’s bottom-up and I’m nearly ready to join the sleeves, which I had the presence of mind to knit first.
So what’s the problem? Me. It’s always me.
Today while I was knitting away, I was also browsing projects on Ravelry. As one does. And two friends’ projects caught my eye. I grabbed my notebook and sketched out an idea for a textured cowl. (It’s nothing like either friend’s project, of course–if you saw the projects and my sketch I doubt you could find the similarities.) I thought it would be nice to have samples in two different colors or even two different yarns, so I started sketching a second version. My drawing skills being minimal at best, I opened up Stitch Mastery and charted the design. Figured out how many stitches I’d need to cast on, grabbed yarn, started looking for the right size needle…
Paw Print Cardi is the boys’ version of Posy. Yes, the boy sweater has more lace than the girl version! You wanna make something of it?
The pattern is written up and will be sent off to a tech editor soon, but photos may take longer as I will have to find a model! If you live near LA and have a little boy (or girl, I’m not picky) who wears 6-12 month size clothing, let me know.
I also finished re-knitting Dagmar!
I did the stripes different than the pattern, because I am currently obsessed with stripes that fade from one color to another (see also my Kitefish Shawlette from Leah‘s pattern). I have made a few changes to the yoke decreases for Dagmar and will have a new version of the pattern on Ravelry shortly. (The current version will work just fine but does not come out quite as I intended.)
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have another sweater to knit.
I can’t believe you guys haven’t commented on all the posts I wrote in my head. So rude.
So, I’m having a dilemma as a knitwear designer and I need your opinions.
Yesterday I was on a Ravelry forum for another designer, in a thread called “[pattern name] help needed.” The text of the post was basically, “What does KFB mean?” Now, I don’t have that particular pattern (I ended up at that thread by clicking ‘next’) but I know it is an intermediate level pattern, and I was stunned that anyone would buy an intermediate pattern when they don’t recognize the standard abbreviation for one of the most common increases used in knitting.
Now, let me say a couple of things.
- I don’t think any less of someone who doesn’t know abbreviations–I just think they are probably a beginner, not intermediate.
- I think challenging yourself as a knitter is important, which can mean trying a pattern that is a little more advanced than you think you are (most knitters are more advanced than they give themselves credit for).
So, here’s my dilemma. I don’t put a list of abbreviations on my patterns. I explain unusual or complicated stitches and techniques, such as applied i-cord, but I assume the knitter knows what abbreviations like K, P, K2TOG, and KFB mean. I think I am wrong.
I really don’t want to add a legend to my patterns, but I want to address this so that anyone who buys my patterns can knit them.
Here are my ideas:
- Suck it up and add a legend.
- Create a document with a list of abbreviations and distribute it for free on my website.
- Create said document and distribute it as a secondary PDF with all Ravelry purchases.
I’ve actually been planning to create the document necessary for the second/third options, because I need it for a teaching tool. I am moderately annoyed at the idea of distributing information that anyone can get by googling, but I also really do want to help make knitting accessible.
What do you guys think?
You guys. Do you know what does not photograph well at all? An unblocked hat. At least, this unblocked hat.
Also it might help if I did not attempt to take self-portraits of the top of my head in the bathroom and then make a half-hearted effort at color-correction. Bygones!
Some designs are written out in full before I cast on more than a swatch. This one went straight from the swatch to the needles. I knew that the only way to see if my idea would work was to DO it.
I changed the number of stitches between short rows from the swatch to the hat, to make the curve a bit less severe. I also did something a little different with the decreases, which you totally can’t see in these photos. I am debating adding some sort of embellishment like the floret in the original painting.
Overall, I really like the way this turned out. At least, I think I will like it once I block it. I have an idea for a variation, so I’m going to knit a second one in different yarn (pretty turquoise Manos!).
See the first post in this series here.
Isn’t this a funny-looking little bit of fabric? I knitted it up for two purposes: to check my gauge (the number of stitches per inch, used to determine how many stitches are needed to get the correct size) and to test out the short row shaping I intend to use for the hat.
I experimented with a few different ways of picking up my wraps (that’s fancy knitter talk), and determined what I don’t want to do for the hat. Some designers might keep swatching until they’re sure what they do want to do, but I like to fly by the seat of my pants. Besides, I knew that the only way to be sure the shaping would look the way I want it to is to do it–a small square will never look like a full-sized hat no matter how much I squint.
Spoiler alert: I’ve started knitting the hat! In fact, I am past all of the short row shaping! You will get to see it in the next post.
Let’s see, how crazy am I? This is a not-entirely complete list of the things I am planning to knit between now and the end of the year-ish.
Korrigan – cardigan for Grace (not started)
Clara – dress for Grace (not started)
Everett – pullover for Sam (my pattern, not yet released) (not started)
Huckleberry – tentative name for my hat pattern (swatched)
Xeriscape – Christmas gift (halfway done)
French Press Slippers – for me (not started)
Let It Be – for me (finished one mitt)
Kitefish – for me (not started)
Catkin – for me (not started, but wound yarn!)
Cobblestone – Will’s anniversary gift (not started, still trying to find a few more balls of discontinued yarn)
Knight’s Set – pattern samples (three of about eight completed)
Plus I want to do a few more gifties.
Obviously I will not be making the shawls for myself until I get the rest under control. I want to release the Knight’s Set in January–I’d originally thought pre-Christmas, but it’s just not going to happen. I will hold off on the slippers for me and Will’s sweater until after Christmas, most likely. Clara is only sized up to Grace’s current size but I think I am going to fudge it a little and make it after Corrigan, so she can have a sweater first.
Can I make both kids sweaters by Christmas, plus additional gifts, and get my pattern samples done, too? I typically knit something for myself between Christmas and New Year’s, so whichever shawl I haven’t sneaked in sooner could go there, or the slippers. Then January for Will’s sweater and all the other projects I’ll most likely start between now and then (like the other patterns I am expecting yarn for any day).
I think I might need to insure my wrists against repetitive stress injuries.
A couple of my knitting friends have asked me what the design process looks like for me. The answer is, of course, that it’s different every time. But I’m about to start work on a new design, and so I thought I’d try blogging about it as I go.
I spotted this beauty on Pinterest and was totally smitten. Among other things, I want that hat. It’s got some similarities to one I just knitted, Regina by Carina Spencer, but although I think Regina would be beautiful in orange and brown (and I might try knitting one that way), I couldn’t shake the idea of a different hat, one shaped with short rows.
I started browsing Etsy for ideas, and came across Huckleberry Knits. She had a plummy purple on BFL (blue-faced leicester, a type of sheep’s wool) that made me swoon, listed as a light worsted; I also saw a beautiful silvery-grey on Merino (another type of sheep), listed as worsted. I sent the dyer a note asking if she thought the two yarn weights would combine well. She wrote back advising against it, and offered to send me photos of some other yarns she hadn’t listed yet in the same color ranges. I decided on two skeins of BFL, the original Huckleberry and a much darker grey than I’d thought I wanted, Charcoal (it looks bluish here, but I think that’s just the lighting). It’s stunning yarn, and such a light worsted that it’s almost DK.
Up next, I’ll swatch and make some design notes. I’m working on other patterns at the same time, so I don’t know how often I’ll update about this one–please let me know if you’re interested!