Saturday, March 31, 2018

February Design: Fingerless Gloves and Blanket/Pillow Set

Fingerless gloves were my first official project of February. Tracy commented on Facebook that she needed another pair, so I decided to make her some in trade for some sewing she will do for me down the line.

Fingerless gloves are generally rather simple. You pick a stitch pattern you like, figure out your length, and then go at it leaving a hole for the thumb. Unless you want them to look a bit more tidy, in which case you add a thumb gusset. I went with a thumb gusset.

Easy as these are in general, I ended up having to make these twice to get them right. I usually make fingerless gloves very tight, as I prefer them that way, so in an effort to not do too tight, I went with too loose. This also ended up making the cable not be centered in the final product. I had actually given them to Tracy, but it kept bugging me throughout the day so I offered a remake. I'm glad I did.
My other project for February (since fingerless gloves take comparatively little time) was a blanket and pillow set. Blankets don't take too much "designing" you just pick a stitch pattern and then do a gauge so you get the width right. 
I went with a fairly simple stitch pattern because the yarn I used fluctuated a lot in width, and any lace pattern would be lost. (In this picture the blanket wasn't actually done, hence it not being entirely in the frame. I didn't really finish it until March...)

The pillows, on the other hand, had some interesting design qualities. I used the provisional cast on method which creates live stitches on both sides of your cast on. This enabled me to pick those stitches up and work in the round, creating seamless edges at the bottom and sides of my pillows.
See? You can't even tell that that is my cast on, can you? Ah, I love it. The top though wasn't as seamless. There is a weaving bind-off method that is invisible, but I forgot about it when I was working on this. 
Ah well.

Over all, I was pleased with the pillows. The blanket didn't end up as large as I wanted (maybe I do need to spend more design time on it...), but overall success. And this yarn is so deliciously soft!

Monday, March 12, 2018

January Design: Tunic

My first project of the year was the one I started dreaming of in December: an ankle-length cardigan sweater, with a gradual color change as it went up. However, assessing my yarn (it was a stash-bust project, I had no intention of buying more yarn) I realized that ankle-length wasn't reasonable. I ended with an almost knee-length sweater instead.
The first thing I did was the cuff on the sleeve. I wanted the sweater to be long, and I didn't want to worry about saving each color as I went to make sure that I had enough for the sleeves, so I did them first. In the original plan a cable panel like the cuff was supposed to go up the front as well. When I did the sleeve though, I realized that it would be constantly folding in. Also, since I was using a contrasting color on top, it was slowing me down to deal with all the separate balls of yarn. Plan change number two!
Two things here: I had considered using a zipper on the front for my connection, but figured that sewing a zipper on would mess with the yarn. I went with hooks and eyes (main thing I'm not happy about with this sweater, they gap open. Ugh.), and only went down to the waist instead of all the way to the bottom (at the suggestion of other females in the family). The other thing to mention is how noticeable the stripes were. I didn't take the time to more gradually change from one yarn color to the next by doing a few stitches of the new color, and then back to the old, etc. to help it fade in. Not exactly what I wanted, but it works.

You also might notice the pink up on top. I knew I was running out of yarn, and as I mentioned, I had no intention of buying more. I had this lovely color in the same family as the contrasting yarn I used for the edgings, so it was my best compromise.
And the back. You can't really see in the pictures (at least I can't) but to get the waist shaping without decreasing stitches, I changed the stitch pattern from ribbing to cable stitch, as it has a tighter gauge. Twas super convenient! I think I also changed needle size to get a second level of decrease and then increase, but honestly I can't remember. I'll have to look at it eventually and find out.

Overall, I like it well enough, I wear it (which by the time I finished it I thought it might be too bulky for my liking), and it's nice and toasty. Didn't reach the goal in my head. Ugh. Still have to work on that.

The Year of Design

Hello folks! I might be blogging a smidgeon more this year than last (hahaha, I wrote one blogpost last year, not a hard goal to reach), because I have some stuff I want to share with the people, and blogging will work better for this than Facebook.

As any of you who know me knows, I'm an avid knitter. A few years ago I put on my Christmas list a book called "Design it, Knit it". Ellie bought it for me, happy, I think, that I was planning on taking my knitting to the next level. Little did she know, I wanted the book because it had a pattern in it that I really wanted to make.

Months later she mentioned her expectations, and I think that's what encouraged me to design my first vest (which I gave to her). It had some aspects that I real liked, but was a little too short. It has been relegated to my "will fix this eventually" pile to be undone and redesigned... eventually. A few years later I designed another vest. Hated it, ended up giving it to Goodwill. Then I designed another vest (seeing a pattern here?), again, for Ellie, and finally had a moderate success on my hands. I was now ready for the next step: sleeves. You might think that sleeves are an odd thing to get caught up on, but the shaping at the top takes careful balance to fit correctly into the armholes (which are bad enough).

Summer 2017 I designed my first sleeved sweater. Half-way through sewing the sleeves into the armholes, I turned back, undid the sleeves for about 9 inches, and redid the shaping. That sweater turned out a moderate success (I still own it, have worn it several times, and have received a few compliments on it). Sadly, it didn't fit the picture in my head, which is something I'm still working on.

So onto this year. At the very end of December I started sketching out my next project: an ankle length cardigan sweater, in a fading, monochromatic color scheme. Plans changed a lot as it went, but I really enjoyed the process, and wanted to keep doing it. I decided to stretch myself, and set a goal of designing and knitting at least one project a month. I hope to post pictures and descriptions of each project. I have not written the patterns for any of them (so far) and probably won't unless any other knitters request them. I hate writing patterns, it takes away from the time I could be knitting!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Empathy, 10.19.16

I look within
And see inside
The very feelings
You try to hide

I write them down,
These words I find,
And hope they say
What's on your mind

But I hold them back
With worried fear
That you did not
Wish me to hear

But these thoughts of yours
They're here with me
So for both of us
I'll set them free

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Me, 7.22.16

I look in the mirror,
And this body,
This flesh,
This isn't me,
Not how I really look.
But it's a part of me.

I catch my own glance,
My eyes bright,
Closer to who I am
Than the rest of the observable me.

I close my eyes to imagine,
How I'd look,
If I looked like Me.
My creative side sparks to life,
I see colors and swirls,
Beauty and brightness.
But then practical Chava steps in,
"Don't forget the quiet,
The thoughtfulness,
The peace."
And the sparkling colors
Subside to a bluish grey.

From the back of my mind comes a laugh,
Cold and cruel.
"And don't forget me,
The pain that has shaped you,
From your first headache,
And your first real tear,
To the adult you've become.
I've formed you."

I open my eyes,
Before the darkness crashes in.
I open my eyes,
And see me.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Darkness Seen, 4.7.13

I wend my way through obstacles
Searching as I go.
I find the world is dark with sin
And life is full of woe.
Confusion and debacles fill
Everything I know;
For humans work in wickedness
And reap that which they sow.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Let Me Grieve, 3.1.16

I want the world to stop a moment.
Let me breathe,
Let me grieve.

I need a pause
to look about me.
To see the shadows of your life
Before they start to fade.

Put life on hold.
Let me cry,
Let me think.

You're gone.
I'm aware of it.
Starkly, painfully.
An ever-present knife wound.
But I still catch my breath,
Realizing again
What that means.

But the world won't stop.
I have to live
While I grieve.
I eat, sleep, talk.
But I don't want to.
Not yet.