Diary of a Design: Day 7, what happened there?

Oh dear, not much at all this weekend… I finished the back and did a row or two of the front.
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And what I’ve done here was cast in at the doctor’s surgery this morning- my youngest has ear lurgy. He’s on antibiotics now and is completely wiped out, but we’ve had a couple if all-nighters this weekend. Poor little tyke. For the record, I don’t take antibiotics lightly. Without going into the gory details, this is definitely a bacterial infection, and I’m not taking chances with his hearing.

That said, I may have had a little go at writing up a different pattern on Sunday evening…

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The yarn is 24 karat gold. (In colour)

Diary of a Design: Day 4, now we’re getting somewhere!

I got a fair bit done yesterday, all the cables are completed and I’m on the Rev St st bit heading for the shoulders. I’m about 3 cm from the shoulder rise. Here it is lying on top of another design, Biennial, for comparison.

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There’s more ease in this new jumper, but it won’t show till it’s blocked. The armholes are a little lower for roomier sleeves too, but otherwise the backs are quite similar shapes. I’ve used nearly 3 balls for the back so far, so it looks like the whole jumper will be 12-14 balls to make.

 

So, of course you’ve figured out by now that this design isn’t 5 days old. It started at Unwind in Brighton, actually, when I met Sonja from Blacker Yarns and got a ball of the lovely, lovely Elegance from her. I started swatching on the beach on the Sunday!

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This shade is silver, which is white with just a hint of black running through to give the grey effect. The yarn is not dyed at all and the various shades are made by spinning in the naturally coloured alpaca fibres. Corriedale fleece itself is always white and makes up 80% of the base. The addition of the alpaca makes the yarn smoother and softer. Overall it has fab bounce and I’m definitely enjoying working with it. The jumper is going to be super-warm too. So a big thank you to Blacker yarns for providing the yarn support!

The yarn I’m using is Blacker Elegance DK in Silver (pale grey). It is also available in a 4-ply weight and the natural colours are white, pale and darker grey, pale and darker brown. It sells at £6.50 per 50g ball of high-quality British yarn.
Today’s Saturday, so I’m not sure how much knitting my young family will let me do today, I’ll be sure to keep you updated tho!
Have a lovely weekend,
X e

Diary of a Design: Day 2

Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans, or so the saying goes. My first erratum is what happened last night. (Hangs head in shame.) turns out the sleeve cap on my Abbye Cardigan wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. I fixed the error in my calculations and have rewritten the pattern. When my TE has had a chance to look at it, I’ll update the pattern on rav. For now, it has been temporarily deactivated.
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That said, I did manage to work to the next cable on my jumper

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And today will see some more cables, all going well.

X e

How I came to design the Eleven Hundred Dollars Sweater in Hitch

Hello! And welcome to the Bonfire Night Stop on the Hitch Blog Tour! I live in London although I’m originally from Ireland. I’m not quite sure why the British celebrate Guy Fawkes nearly blowing up the House of Lords, but he’s the reason we English speakers use the word “guy” meaning a bloke, man or fella. In any event, tonight promises lots of bangs and explosions and sparklers and melting marshmallows with my over-excited kids.

These wee ones are the reason why I knit at all. I taught myself to knit when I first found out I was pregnant – I had previously been known to churn out the occasional bad oil painting, but oils and their associated chemicals are bad news for curious babies. Not to mention the clean-ups. So it was time to find a new hobby. Knitting is perfect because you can put it down and pick it up at a moment’s notice, there’s no mess and best of all, you can wear it to keep warm when you’re done. I made a LOT of hats that first year.

Then I joined a local group of knitters, The Harrow Knitters, and they were so supportive and sociable that I found myself trying out fabulous new yarns, newer techniques and more ambitious patterns. Around about when my eldest turned 3, it got to the point where I knew exactly what I wanted to make, but I couldn’t find the pattern for it… so I just wrote it myself. By March, I had read enough about swatching and blocking that I thought I was maybe ready to design a washcloth or something, and I tentatively started looking at the calls for submission on the Ravelry Designer’s Forum.

Which where I saw Stephannie Tallent’s post.

I was very excited by the call. I swear to high heaven, the design for “Eleven Hundred Dollars” popped straight into my head almost fully formed. Nothing like that’s happened since, so I can only take it as an explosion of pent-up creativity; and possibly a sign that knitwear design was something I should consider seriously. Was I crazy? For a first design? Well, let’s just call me naïve…

When I look at the proposal I drew up now, I cringe. This thing was 7 pages long. It had charts. It had schematics. It had a long-winded inspiration essay. I’m not sure why Stephannie picked it out, but I’m very glad she did!

Original sketch and schematic from the proposal:

pillow

Imagine my delight when Stephannie got in touch to say I was in! I danced around the dining room table and muffled the screams with a pillow so as not to wake the kids. I called my Mum and tried to explain all about it (much to her bemusement) and then I sat down with a thump as I realised now I really would have to design it!

I ran full-tilt into the world of designing and set about creating a jumper I am proud of. Eleven Hundred Dollars has a lot of details:

  1. Welted hem in 2 colours
  2. Deep mosaic chevron waistband with princess seams
  3. Cross-over top with slip-stitch edging in a contrasting colour
  4. Short-row shoulders and 3-needle cast off
  5. A simple lace pattern on the sleeves
  6. Highly shaped ¾-length sleeves, with shoulder puffs
  7. Applied I-cord cuffs with a contrasting trim
  8. Buttoned keyhole at cuffs

This is NOT a beginner’s knit. This is a treat for you or a loved one. I would LOVE to hear how you get on with it, so please get in touch!

Competition Time

Ah good, you’ve made it this far. If you’d like to be in with a chance to win a PDF copy of the book, please comment below with your favourite integer and why you like it!

E.g. I like the number 120 because it’s divisible by 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 20 and hence can be used for all sorts of knitting patterns!

Le Grand Tour

Watch out for the Fyberspates Blog Stop on the 9th! I used their scrumptious Scrumptious to make Eleven Hundred Dollars.

10/5/2013: Knitting Kninja
10/7/2013: Herrlichkeiten
10/8/2013: Knit and Travel
10/9/2013: Knit & Knag Designs
10/10/2013: Wooly Wonka Fibers
10/11/2013: Verdant Gryphon
10/15/2013: Impeccable Knits: Shifting Stitches
10/16/2013: Rewolluzza
10/21/2013: Knitwear Designs by Carolyn Noyes
10/22/2013: Peacefully Knitting
10/23/2013: Dark Matter Knits
10/24/2013: Turnknit: Dani Berg Designs
10/25/2013: SweetGeorgia Yarns
10/28/2013: doviejay knits
10/29/2013: Triona Designs
10/30/2013: Tactile Fiber Arts
11/4/2013: A Knitter’s Life
11/5/2013: Catchloops
11/6/2013: Yarn On The House
11/07/2013: Ramblings
11/12/2013: Hazel Knits
11/13/2013: Knitcircus
11/19/2013: indigodragonfly
11/9/2013: Fyberspates
11/25/2013: knittingkirigami
11/22013: A B-ewe-tiful Design

Mentoring With Rockandpurl, Knitwear Designer Supremo

Ruth Garcia-Alcantud was gracious enough to agree to mentor me as I set out on this path towards knitterly enlightenment.  Not only does she have gorgeous designs to ogle, Ruth also gives excellent advice. She was able to identify my style, and I didn’t even know I had one!

Rock and Purl

We talked over Skype IM, it’s been a while since I’ve had an IM chat, but boy, I rocked those smileys. Quite a lot of the conversation ultimately came back to time management – if I can discipline myself to get my work done within the time I have available, that’ll be a flying start.

This is how long I have left to finish this post (from 45 mins).

Submissions I’ve been sending off are too lengthy. Huh. I forgot to ask if the ideas were sound, but I guess they are or I’m sure Ruth would have said – best not to pull the punches in these situations! So, do you have any tips for me on layout? I have a lot of information (graphical and written) that I need to fit onto one page (max 2). What tricks do you use to condense information? Thanks for any comments you can make.

We also talked a lot about blogging, my local knitting group (The Harrow Knitters (who totally rock!)), patterns with tricky bits, a little about cameras and accountants, and yes, poking myself in the eye. We covered a fair bit of ground in that first session.

This was the best bit for me though:

Me: even if i don’t have a style yet?

Ruth: if I can see it, cant you??

Me: erm???

Ruth: You are Miss Trick in the bag, I’ll teach you how to graft ribbing to make it look superb, I’ll teach you knitting backwards so your friends can gasp in admiration

Ruth: I’ll teach you to match welts at the back of a neck

Me: oh right. no pressure

Ruth: and put intarsia AND beads

Ruth: it’s your style

Ruth: I can see it

Ruth: you need to polish it by working on it

Me: ok, cool, thanks

Ruth: seriously now, I think you CAN do this

Ruth: I cannot tell you how many people don’t work half as hard in their submissions

Ruth: you’re putting in some serious elbow and brain into this and you can do this

Me: ta, ta for the confidence boost

Ruth: hey sometimes it’s all about that

I have a style! Rock on! Hope you like it ‘cos you’ll be seeing more of it!

Hugs

Xxxx e

P.s. I went two mins over.

Carol Feller’s Short Rows Class on Craftsy

Carol Feller’s class on Short Rows is great. I learned the following new short-row stuff:

  • Japanese Short Rows
  • Set-in sleeves from the top down (picked up)
  • Bust shaping

I want a bunch of Craftsy classes for my birthday, starting with the Sew Retro dress, which I’ve had on my to-do list for about a year, then (in no particular order):

Sigh. Add another thing to the 3-yr plan: have my own course on Craftsy… Have to get good at something so. :))