Yarn wrappings

Yarn wrapping

Somehow, the more I hang around other knitters, the more I end up with bags of random skeins from yarn swaps (very casual affairs: bring yarn you don’t want any more, take yarn you like, anything left goes to the reuse shop that sells lots of craft supplies). I’ve also had two people randomly thrust bags of yarn stash at me and ask me to find a home for it. Well, all right, I suppose. Until I run out of room and start to feel mentally blocked because of too much yarn.

Lately, I’ve been in stash buster mode. I just finished knitting one shawl design from discontinued yarn and am considering (though I had other plans) working on another with this yarn:

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Design ideas looking for a good home, No.2

Knitted shawl shapes free to a home.

Last March, I posted some ideas for shawl layouts to clear out my mental clutter. I have no idea if they sparked inspiration for anyone else, but that’s okay. It’s time to do it again!

I’ve been thinking about different ways of making shawls that have a curved shape to fit nicely on the shoulders. I have a pattern in the works for one, in fact. But here’s two more that I don’t think I’ll have time for any time soon.

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crescent shawls: tiling flattened diamonds.

When I posted Galaxite on Saturday, I wrote in passing about using a tiled flattened diamond to create the stitch pattern. This post goes into more detail about how this structure was created.

Crescent-shaped shawls have been popular among knitter and crocheters for several years now. The first such shawl I remember seeing was Annis, which caught a lot of people’s attention. A lot of other crescents used the same basic method (the body done with short rows, and the fancy edge knit straight), but designers started branching out very quickly, finding a variety of ways to make a crescent shape.

Last winter I knit Sacre Coeur, which uses a very different method, which I found fascinating and unexpected. Its designer, Nim Teasdale, will be the first to tell you that she didn’t invent it (at least, that’s what she said when I asked), though I think she does an excellent job of working with it. I don’t know an exact name for the style (if you do, please comment!), but it seems to be popular at the moment: one advantage to it aside from its beauty is that the shape can be worked until the knitter runs out of yarn or decides they’re done.

The method starts with casting on a small number of stitches, then increasing three stitches at each edge over two rows, while putting whatever stitches one likes between the edges. When blocking, the bound-off edge is curved around, while the two selvedges are blocked out as straight as possible.

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Design ideas looking for a good home.

possible shawl layout

I’ve been talking with my friend Sarah Sipe about designing for a while, and now I’m also having design conversations with other designers as well. Top that off with reading books about design and browsing through patterns on Ravelry, and my brain is awash with ideas. All the ideas bump against each other and spark still more ideas.

I’ve heard of stash-acquisition-beyond-life-expectancy (that is, the acquisition of more yarn than one can use in a lifetime). Right now I feel as if I’ve got design-ideas-beyond-life-expectancy and it’s gumming up the works. I’ve got a list of things I’ve planned for the year or two ahead of me, and I just can’t deal with all these other things.

So I’m going to put some of them here for anyone who wants to use them. Take them! Be inspired by them and modify them. I’ll be happy if someone runs with them – I just need to get them out of my head. Continue reading

A Knitting Library: Lace design

Knitting Lace, by Susanna E. Lewis.

I’ve come a long way in lace design over the last few years, but I feel I still have a long way to go. There are three major things I’ve learned from:

  1. Knitting lots of lace swatches out of stitch dictionaries. Stitch dictionaries will be a separate post, I think.
  2. Being persistent with my own lace designing, and being willing to swatch multiple times to get a single stitch pattern to look good. (I don’t always, and I have to do this less and less often as time goes by, but still.) Also, using a mistake in one design as a design feature in another.
  3. Reading what I can find about how lace works. And that’s what this post is about.

Here are the two books I’ve used the most to learn about designing lace stitch patterns so far:

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Designer Interview: Sarah Jane

Designer Interview: Sarah Jane, crochet designer of nifty things.

To celebrate the Giftalong, I’m going to be blogging four interviews with other designers who have patterns in the sale. Because the sale is only a week long, I’ve decided to give you all a chance to get their discounted patterns – the interviews will all be published this week!

First up is Sarah Jane, a really creative crochet designer, whose work I’ve admired for quite a while now. If I could still crochet, I’d be making one of her patterns for the giftalong in a snap!

Designer Interview: Sarah Jane's lingonberry tam

Lingonberry Tam, perhaps.

Designer Interview: Sarah Jane's frostberry hat

Or Frostberry Hat, though that’s not on sale.

Or… well, I’d have trouble making up my mind! Maybe some of her Steampunk collection?

Here’s a link to the bundle of patterns that are on sale for the Giftalong. (Coupon code giftalong2014, good through Friday, November 21, 2014 at 11:59 pm EST.)

1. Please tell us a little about yourself.

Well I don’t really know what to say…I am a 47 year old mother of 8…..7 live at home ☺ I like to say that it’s organised chaos but truth is there is probably not so much of the organised about it.
Crochet was the first craft I ever learned and even though I’ve dabbled in lots of other crafts I always seemed to come back to crochet….with so many kids crochet is portable and leaves less mess than most other crafts (if you don’t count the stash and the UFO’s). Also it’s more difficult for babies to poke holes in themselves or others with hooks than it is with needles.

Aside from crochet I love to read and occasionally knit. Housework seems to have become an optional extra around here!

2. Somehow you manage to combine crochet stitch patterns in ways that are really fresh and different. Can you name any particular influences that inspired this, or is it the stitches themselves that catch your eye?

Thank you, I really appreciate you saying this. The stitches themselves always catch my eye, I love the textures and seeing how they work together. Colour and yarn is a big influence too…certain yarns and colours seem to call for different types of textures and stitches. I love certain styles, like steampunk and a romantic gothic type style and I think you can see this influence in some of my designs……reality is it doesn’t really take much to inspire me, it can be anything from the shape of a leaf to a combination of colours I notice somewhere.

3. What attracted you to joining in with the Giftalong?

I participated in the giftalong last year after noticing it mentioned on the Designers board and I had a ball. It was a fantastic opportunity to meet and interact with both designers and crocheters/knitters. I didn’t expect it to become so big but this year it looks like it’s going to be even bigger. I have been really excited about it this year, for me it is all about the interaction. Here in Australia there aren’t too many opportunities to meet other designers so this is great fun.

4. What are a few patterns from the Giftalong that you’d really like to make?

Goodness there are so many…I wish I had unlimited time and cooler weather ☺…..I love a lot of Darleen Hopkins crochet patterns but I just adore her Patchwork baby kitty throw. If I could I would make anything by Julia Trice (Mind of Winter on Ravelry) especially Loden. I love this shawl Leventry and I think this Minimissimi coat is truly spectacular even though I’d never be able to wear it over here. I could go on and on…..

5. Is there anything about crochet that you wish more people knew?

That it’s easy…you can make anything if you work through it a stitch at a time and also that it doesn’t have to look like something from the 60’s or 70’s, crochet can be fashionable and modern as well as a bit different.

Here are some of the places you can find Sarah Jane online!
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/SarahjaneDesignscrochet
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/sjack44/
Ravelry – http://www.ravelry.com/designers/sarah-jane

(All photographs used by permission.)

Linkety-link, part 8

This week’s regularly scheduled post isn’t going to happen (due to a confluence of personal events), so it’s a good thing I have a bunch of links saved up!

Multicraftual:

Knitting:

Crochet:

Until next week!

Pinion hat pattern, reintroduced!

I’ve just posted an edited version of another pattern on Ravelry, the Pinion tam:

Pinion Tam blocked on a plate

The text is much the same. I’m in the process of reformatting all my patterns to be consistent with each other. In the case of Pinion, I’ve also updated the chart from the old Excel chart to a professionally-done chart using StitchMastery.


This lacy tam is worked from the center outwards. The design spirals outward and flows into a ribbed brim. It looks more complicated than it is–if you know how to knit in the round, purl, knit two together, knit three together,  make a yarn over, and bind off, you can make this hat.

Both charts and written out instructions (in abbreviations) are provided, along with suggestions for modifying the brim size to fit.

Other materials required include a darning needle for working in ends, about a yard of smooth, thin yarn for making a lifeline, and a plate for blocking (about 10 inches or 25cm in diameter).

You shouldn’t need a Ravelry account to buy now. More information is available on the pattern’s page on Ravelry.

Thank you!

neighborhood in late afternoon

Color exercise number two: a photo from my neighborhood, in the late afternoon:

P1066491

First, I opened the photo in GraphicConverter. This time I pixellated the picture and used the eyedropper to pick out some representative colors.

P1066491

swatches

This time, I thought I’d have some fun with a grid designed for helping chart warp-faced weaving (by Laverne Waddington).

I didn’t use all the colors from the square above, but I had fun with it:

oval-chart-gc

I like that! And interestingly, I think I got the proportions to match the photo pretty well, though I wasn’t trying for it.

Just for an arbitrary difference in choices, I went back to Photocopa, with this result:

photocopa - across street

I picked out a color combination I wouldn’t expect myself to pick out (because I’m not much for yellow or chartreuse):

photocopa across street 1

And played with the oval grid again:

oval-chart-pc1

I surprised myself by liking it, though it’s paler than I would ordinarily prefer.

I also picked out a more stereotypical palette from the Photocopa color choices:

photocopa across street 2

and then did a design using both it and the less stereotypical colors:

oval-chart-pc2

It works well enough, though I’m not thrilled by it. I think I could come up with better combinations and proportions, but I’d run out of time for this particular exercise (not that I’m setting a limit; I just have other things I need to do too.)

Next time I’m going to pick a photo with almost no colors that are in my standard choices.

Constructive criticism welcome!