Thursday, 28 April 2011

FO: Lacy Pie Crust

So I have been hard at work on a larger, laceweight version of my new pattern - still provisionally called Pie Crust

This is in Jaggerspun Zephyr (Fiddlesticks) Wool-Silk 2/18 that was a gift ages ago. It takes approximately 700 yards of this lovely 2-ply laceweight yarn. This version also has beads randomly placed in the inner border.

That bare fence and heap of mud is waiting for a delivery of manure and a rotivator before becoming a gorgeous bed of flowers and herbaceous shrubs. We'll have lupins, gladioli, massive bouncy dahlias, sweet williams and random handfuls of flower seeds and will complement the big bed of roses on the other side of the lawn. I like things in the garden to work as cut flowers for the house or food. Himself rather likes decorative shrubs but I don't really see the point.

At the end of that empty bed is a big pond with lots of fish and two new ghost koi which has a Japanese planting scheme (sort of). Himself has been doing a ton of work over the last couple of weeks to sort out the garden so pictures will follow

Friday, 15 April 2011

My design process (such as it is)

Various patterns are in various stages of testing:
  • Pie Crust Shawl -  being tested 
  • Waterhouse fingerless mitts - awaiting revisions and tech editing
  • Tortile beaded hat - awaiting revisions and tech editing
Although the testing period for the mitts and hat ended on April 10th I've been very busy at work and personally with the shock of my Dad having a heart attack midweek so for obvious reasons I've had to put these on hold temporarily. That doesn't stop me thinking ' what next?' whilst on the bus to the hospital or sketching out possible designs whilst sitting with my Mum so I thought I'd try to map out my design process over a few blog posts given that I won't have much time for actual knitting and designing.

1. Inspiration:
I get inspired by lots of things: interesting colours, shapes in nature or architecture, textures and patterns. I'm rarely inspired by existing patterns or by things I see in shops - I don't seem to have the urge to recreate or reverse engineer things. A while ago I started working with the lovely Jo of Dodoknitz who has recently started an online business dyeing yarn. I had a very vague idea for a circular shawl incorporating lace and cables and I knew I wanted it to be green. Not just any green but a vivid late Victorian green - somewhere between 'yallery-greenery' and acid green. So this is what I sent Jo:

As well as the colours you'll see some hints as to the textures I'm going for in the design,  particularly the twisted lattice columns and the fan detail. Given that I'm planning a design with lots of texture I wanted a yarn that would give good stitch definition and would block well for lace. So working with Jo I settled on a heavy laceweight (a new base from Tall Yarns) in a silk/ merino blend. And this is what Jo sent me:

which is just lovely. Now because I am considering a cabled, knitted on border which will just eat yarn I decided I needed two skeins so Jo dyed two more for me (so it would be the same dye lot) and they are even more vibrant:

My pictures don't do them justice, they are wonderfully, virulently green.

So now I have yarn, a general idea and some rough sketches so I need to start plotting out the detail and DOING MATHS which will take quite a while. Updates to follow at a later date

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

FO: Pie Crust (working title)

As I mentioned in my previous post I have been working on a new shawl pattern. This has been half written up for ages but it took me forever to get round to knitting a sample. I started out with the yarn in the previous post which was pale yellow, cream and a golden brown inspired by the colours of apple pie but it was too variegated for the pattern. Once I finished the shawl I overdyed it with green and blue Landscape dyes and then blocked it.

The shawl pattern will go out for testing soon but in the meantime here are some tasters:

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Tutorial - starting a shawl with a garter tab

When I first started knitting shawls this was one of the things that flummoxed me. Why would you faff about with knitting a tiny garter stitch rectangle and picking up stitches (my pet hate) when you can just cast on the right amount to start with? Well I asked on Ravelry and was told that it creates a neater and more flexible long edge on shawls knit from the centre neck outwards. Meh, thought I - bet it doesn't. Two versions of "198 yards of Heaven" later and I was converted.

Recently someone asked the same question in one of my Ravelry groups and I was able to give the same answer I was given all that time ago. As I was about to start knitting up a new shawl design I also took some photos to create a tutorial and here it is:

1. I'm using a 2 stitch garter edge on this shawl so I've cast on two stitches:

2. I need to end up with 13 stitches so knowing I have two stitches cast on (and therefore will have two stitches at each end of the garter tab) I need to knit 18 rows, giving me 9 garter ridges:

3. Now I have a long thin rectangle so I knit the two stitches, then start to pick up stitches down the long side of the rectangle:

4. Once I've picked up one stitch per garter ridge I will have 11 stitches on the needle and just need to get two more. My knitting looks like this:

5. And now I just need to get my last two stitches which I get from picking up two stitches from my cast on edge:

6. Now this looks a little awkward but I have my 13 stitches on the needles and a lovely flexible edge which allows me to start knitting my shawl. This particular pattern is based loosely on the Pi Shawl model so I am increasing on row 3, row 7 and row 15 to start with which starts to create a curved, almost semi-circular shape:

I have now finished the shawl and the yarn/pattern combination hasn't worked so I've overdyed it with green and blue to create a deep turquoise with some inky pools.Finished object photos to follow but here's a picture of the shawl blocking: