Thursday, March 22, 2012

A peek into my designing process

I'm working on my pattern "Grace Irene". 
It's a cabled tank top for little girls. I actually designed it a couple of years ago, but didn't keep notes, or do more than one size.  So I'm figuring that out now. 

I had to swatch, because I made the original in worsted weight and decided to change the pattern to work with DK weight. I wanted to use Knit Picks CotLin yarn, which is a nice cotton/linen blend DK yarn. So that was the first obstacle. 

Second obstacle: this yarn has no elastic whatsoever, so it doesn't respond like the cotton/acrylic I had used the last time I made one of these. So instead of being form-fitting, it's loose and drapey. Which is fine; I just had to adjust my expectations.  

Next hurdle: figuring out the different sizes. I had to choose a cast-on number that was divisible by 6, because I wanted to use a 4x2 ribbing. Then I had to figure out where exactly I wanted the cable columns for each size. I couldn't just pick at random, because I wanted them to go up the straps and connect in the back by grafting in pattern. If done right, the front and back should be identical.

I didn't do it right. I forgot an important detail regarding which way to cross the cables. They don't match up how I wanted them to. So this one definitely has a front and a back. I'm going to make another one so I can get this problem rectified. Fortunately, my test-knitter hadn't started yet by the time I discovered the issue, so hers will be right.

Even with the mistake, this turned out pretty cute, if I do say so. 

And now I'm also working on my next design "Theresa Nichole"...maybe I'll give y'all a glimpse in another post. I just had to frog and start over on this one, so I'm thinking it's going to give me a few problems too.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Drive-by blogging

I've got my garden started inside!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Felted Potholders

I made some terrific felted potholders recently, but forgot to download the photos from my camera until today. So now I can give you the little tutorial I had planned on writing. Better late than never.  Of course, I forgot how many stitches I cast on. So technically, this isn't a pattern, just a how-to.

I used 100% non-superwash wool. It was Knit Picks Wool of the Andes (worsted) in a discontinued color called Tomato. I think I used a US8 needle.

I started with the tubular caston, and I used an even number. Here's a video tutorial by Ysolda Teague. But instead of doing ribbing after completing the caston, I knitted tubular stockinette. The way to do that is to [Slip1, Knit1] repeat across. And every row is done the same way. I wanted square potholders, so I knit long rectangles, roughly 150% as long as wide. When I felt they were long enough, I used the tubular bindoff. Here's a written tutorial by TechKnitter. I started where she says "Phase 3: Grafting". You can see the measurements of the potholders in the photo below.
 Being relatively inexperienced at felting, I wasn't sure how well these tubular rectangles would felt. I was afraid that the two sides wouldn't felt together to make a nice flat piece, so I basted them with sewing thread. Not sure whether that was necessary, but it didn't hurt.
 Then I ran them through the washer with some jeans. Twice. I have a front-loader, so it doesn't agitate much. They didn't come out perfectly square, but I think they're close enough! So I pinned them out to dry. Here's the after-felting pic:
 And then, since I didn't want plain, boring potholders, I crocheted some tiny snowflakes out of white laceweight wool. After blocking them, I needle-felted them on to the potholders. I had never needle-felted before, and I enjoyed it. It was very easy, and I love the finished product.
 So there you have it: how-to make felted potholders.

In other knitting news, I finished the Sisterhood Blanket! The color isn't quite right on this pic. I'll take more pics once it's dry.