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Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Great Design Project, Part 2

No photos yet, but I've got some stuff to share.  I decided to dive, and just start knitting.  I know I've got the necessary skill set to knit a sweater out of thin air (I've done it before and Lord knows I've got enough reference books!), and I'm feeling much more confident thanks to the success of my last project and finding a technical editor who will help me with the pattern grading.  So, I'm going to go ahead as originally planned and share my project with you.  I'm designing a top-down, raglan pullover with a v-neck and cable accents.  You'll see my successes and failures along the way, and I've got a few to share with you today, lol.

Lesson 1: Swatching is your friend.  If you value your sanity and your own time, swatch!  The bigger, the better.  Last night I swatched for a few hours while watching a movie.  It gave me the customary stitch and row gauge, but it also let me play with a cable idea that I'd been thinking about, and I used different hem ideas at the top and the bottom of the swatch so I could see which one I liked best.  I learned that the ribbed him would look better with the cables, and that the cables will definitely serve the function I had hoped for; they will provide waist shaping to this garment without the need for decreasing.  I like that idea and I think other knitters will too :)

Lesson 2: When you think you're ready to start knitting, you're really just going to do some garment shaped swatches, lol.  I cast on with the idea that I would incorporate a cable into the raglan shaping for this pullover.  I just thought it would flow better than having the side cables suddenly come to a dead stop, and it would provide just enough detail to keep this basic pullover from being just another stockinette top-down pullover.  Now, here's the think.  I'm anal about details and symetry.  I'm drawn to patterns that focus on the details and incorporate them into the design.  It makes the finished piece look more...finished.  This doesn't always make it easy to design (because you have to be able to translate what you've done into directions that other people can follow).

Lesson 3: Never work the numbers for a complicated design when you're sleep deprived.  Never!  I worked on my first top-down yoke swatch and figured out the basics of where I'd need to put the markers to allow for the extra stitches in the raglan section (that will become a cable), but I had trouble with the increases.  My first attempt worked, but it wasn't what I was looking for, and it seemed like the rate of increase was just too fast.  I questioned myself about this, because any top-down pattern I've ever knit (and I've knit plenty) has instructed me to work the increase round every other row.  However, my sleep-deprived brain figured out that I would need 172 sts for the body (gauge of 4.5 sts per inch x 38 inch bust = 171, with 1 st added to allow for a hem with 2x2 ribbing).  This will be important later.  So, I did the math and realized that at this rate, I'll have reached 172 sts after about six inches of knitting, but I actually needed to work ten inches before I could divide for the arms and work the body.  So, I did more math and figured that if I started with 68 sts and I need to get 172, that is a difference of 104.  Every increase round adds 8 sts.  Dividing 104 by 8 gave me 13.  I need to work my increase row 13 times, over 10 inches, or aproximately every 0.75 inches.  My row gauge (thanks giant swatch!) is 6 rows per inch, so that means that I'm increasing every 4 rounds.

With this sound mathmatical reasoning in hand, I grabbed a different skein of Cascade 220 and started a new sweater (setting aside the other one and leaving it on the needles so I could compare them and see what I liked best).  I put the markers in the right area, took notes on the increase row as I figured it out (I won't remember later), and managed to figure out exactly where to place the increases to get the look I was after in the cable section.  It was coming along beautifully, when that nagging feeling started again.  Finally, I took out three top down v-neck patterns (one written in child sizes, one in my gauge with different directions for the neckline, and another at my gauge and in adult sizes that provided a complete stitch count at the end of the increases).  After a short nap, I was clear headed enough to realize what the the adult pattern in my gauge had a huge number of stitches after the increases were finished, and that all three patterns increased every two rounds.  That's when it hit me like a ton of bricks...  I forgot to calculate the stitches for the arms, and I only calculated the stitches for the body!  I was increasing too slowly, and I wouldn't have any stitches for the sleeves.

So, I sat down with all of my reference materials and worked out what I hope will be accurate cast on numbers and stitch marker placement.  None of today's knitting was wasted, and now I'm going to pull out my most recent effort and start again...but not until I've slept :)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I made an ebook!

Today my friends, I made an ebook!  It took me like...three hours, but I got it done.  Here's what happened...

I got up this morning and realized that I still hadn't looked at the revisions for my ebook, from the tech editor.  I pulled them up and went through them, using my revised copies from the individual patterns to help out.  I really wanted everything to be consistent (which is the reason for using an editor).  After revising everything (which took up a good amount of the aforementioned three hours), I send her the updated version and went on Ravelry to create my ebook.  This is where everything went haywire.
fun with photo shoots, lol

I went into my pattern store and added the ebook to my list of patterns, along with about 10 beautiful photos from the collection.  I spent a lot of time writing the description, and getting everything just right.  I also went into my original patterns and updated them to say that the ebook was now available, and then set up a promotion that would deduct the cost of a single pattern purchase to those Ravelers who had already paid for a single pattern, and wanted the book.  Right in the middle of the madness, I got a message from a very helpful (and patient) editor who told me that I shouldn't have added the ebook to the pattern store, and provided me a link with instructions on exactly how to create one.  Thankfully, she walked me through the parts I struggled with, and encouraged me along the way :)  It was the most pleasant reprimand I think I've ever received ;)

Turns out that you just add the title of the book as a source on the pattern itself (which creates the ebook), then go in to edit the ebook with all of the necessary information (photos, yarn, etc), and then you publish it.  That's it!  So much easier, and that way all the financial info stay in one place.

So there you have it!  I published an ebook for my Fibonacci-Stripe Accessories Collection.  I posted it to my facebook page.  I tweeted it.  I stalked it on Ravelry to see how it's being received.  And now I've blogged about it.  Excited much?

Oh, and turns out that Aaron and Dante (both of whom were very resistant about letting me knit them a sweater) have decided that they really like Rockaway from Jared Flood, and have put in requests in specific colorways.  I don't like to knit the same thing twice, but I might have to make an exception this time if the end result is that I can get all three Washington men in a hand-knit sweater!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Fibonacci-Stripe Collection

 I've been holding on to this one for a while now, and I was going to wait to launch it when the new blog goes live but I just couldn't wait any longer.  I'm excited to introduce my Fibonacci-Stripe Collection!

Starting with the Neck-Warmer/Cowl pattern. 
This is the updated version of my original Fibonacci Cowl pattern, which pulled over the head and fit close to the neck. As anyone with long, thick or curly hair knows…pulling anything over the head causes hair to become wild and out of control. My solution…knit a neck-warmer that buttons up the side, and/or a cowl that can be worn loose or worn doubled to keep the wind at bay (and the hair looking neat).

The pattern includes both the neck-warmer and the cowl, in either two-color Fibonacci stripe, or one-color textured stripe variations. The close-fitting neck-warmer uses six buttons (but could be knit in the round without buttons if you prefer), and uses two 50g balls of Berroco Blackstone Tweed or any aran weight yarn of at least 130yds. The longer cowl uses three balls of Blackstone Tweed for the one-color texture stripe version, and four balls for the two-color stripe version.
Next up: The Slouchy Hat!  For the hat, I wanted to knit something that would be pretty and warm, and would also be capable of fitting all of my hair into it when the weather takes a turn for the worst without wrecking my hair for the rest of the day. Any of you girls out there with curly hair know what I’m talking about, and this hat is for you! (I’m happy to say that after field-testing this in New England winter weather, it’s just what I hoped it would be.) The pattern offers two sizes, two different depths, and one-color textural striping or two-color striping. It is worked in the round, and uses “bulls-eye” decreases to accentuate the Fibonacci striping.  The hat uses two 50g balls of Berroco Blackstone Tweed, or any aran weight yarn of at least 130yds.

 And my personal favorite: the Convertible Mittens :)  These convertible mittens are the most practical, warm, soft, and all-around best mittens I’ve ever designed or worn. They provide quick access to your fingers when you need them, and the ability to quickly tuck them away when you don’t.

The pattern provides two sizes, with options for two-color stripes or one-color texture striping, flip tops or traditional mittens, and optional “texter-thumbs”. It is easily adjustable for length (great for tall knitters!), and the extra-long cuffs keep the wind out of coat sleeves. The flaps are worked as a continuation of the mitten, in one piece with short-row shaping, and they lay flat against the back of the hand when not in use. No buttons necessary, so no silly little button loops at the tip of your hand (and no How-The-Grinch-Stole-Christmas-hands when you wear them closed).  The mittens use two 50g balls of Berroco Blackstone Tweed, or any aran weight yarn of at least 130yds.

The patterns are all available for individually sale, and will be released soon as a collection in e-book format.  Customers who purchase an individual pattern but would like to purchase the e-book, will be able to deduct the the price of that pattern from the cost of the collection at checkout.
e-book coming soon!

Fibonacci-Stripe Hat

Fibonacci-Stripe Mittens

Fibonacci-Stripe Cowl

Monday, January 2, 2012

As is customary around here...

I'm blogging when I should be working on my homework assignments.  But I really need a mental break, and this blog is therapeutic.  I don't know why I though I'd enjoy taking criminal justice classes (must be the part of me that's a fan of crime shows), but I'm finding it difficult to connect psychology and criminal justice.  I know that there are course designers, and my professors are just doing their best to facilitate this course, but I've hardly seen anything in my forensic psych that addresses specifically how psychology is used in the legal system.  The reading is almost exactly the same as my reading in the juvenile delinquency classes (which only deals with kids and crime), so that tells me that the course designers didn't add much to this class that helps the student tie the two together, and most of the time I feel like I'm groping around in the dark trying to find that needle-in-the-haystack answer that they're looking for.  Meanwhile, my boys are home from school driving me nuts and making it almost impossible to get any school work done.

In knitting news, I cast on for the second of two Santa Clause intarsia Christmas stockings that I'm doing for a client on commission.  I've also got another stocking and a pair of mittens (I've mentioned these both before) and I'm working on the beautiful Flora knee highs.  I ended up pulling the sock back to the ribbing and getting rid of the cherry red from Cascade.  It's a beautiful color, but I just don't like it in combination with any other color.  It mutes it too much.  So I decided to go with white in combination with my pretty Tosh sock.  I'll save that red for one of the non-stranded knee highs.  I just keep looking at this book and I'm so inspired to knit knee highs that it's difficult for me to stay on task with any of my other projects.  I seriously want to knit my way through this book.  Maybe I will, as a side project ;)

Speaking of side projects...I just took a look back and realized that I owe you all a post for the Great Sweater Design Project 2012.  I haven't forgotten you, but with trying to catch up on my school work, I just haven't had the time.  But maybe you could help me with something.  I'm torn between starting with a pullover, or a cardigan.  Any preferences?  Leave me a comment and weigh in.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Heritage Silk Mitten KAL

It's the first day of a brand new year, and I was hoping to greet you with my brand new blog (which I've been keeping quiet for a while now) and I wrote this whole beautiful post that I was going to publish over there, but I forgot that the blog is private right now because it's still technically under construction.  So after trying to publish it and linking to it...I realized that I'll just have to be patient a little bit longer and we'll have to hang out in this space for a bit.  Good thing we're all comfy here :)  But don't be shocked if you log on one day, and it's had a face lift.

Now, with that being said, I'm really excited to announce a knit-along for my Heritage Silk Lace mitten pattern, for Cascade Yarns.  It all came about a few months ago when a Raveler sent me a lovely message about my pattern, saying how she'd seen it at a yarn tasting in Spokane WA.  It turned out that the wonderful folks from Cascade took my mittens with them as an example of the Heritage Silk in action (the very mittens I knit with my own two hands).  It toured a few local shops in Washington state and a lot of excitement was stirred up.  Three of the local knitting groups started chatting about doing a KAL, so I contacted the various groups on Ravelry about hosting a KAL for them, so they could all gather in one place and have a blast.  A few hours on Photoshop and Ravelry later, the group was formed!

The official start date is January 4th, but I couldn't wait that long (and neither could most of the knitters, it turns out, lol), so I changed the cast on date to today!  So go get your needles, two skeins of Heritage Silk (or any other fingering weight yarn), and your free copy of the pattern, and cast on with us.  It's national mitten month anyway.  You might as well kill two birds with one stone ;)

P.S. - Stay tuned for the release of my latest pattern collection, which is currently in tech editing.