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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Total distraction

I have nothing much to show you, so you'll just have to use your imagination in this post :)  I'm totally distracted.  The cardigan is dry and I chose toggles for it, but do you think I've so much as picked it up to put on the band?  Nope.  Wanna know why?  Because I've been knitting the Little Coffee Bean baby sweater for my friend Kat :)  I pulled out a skein of Cascade 220 Handpainted yarn in the sunniest, cheeriest yellow I've ever seen and I'm striping it with a light heathered gray.  It's beautiful!  See, I was a total tom-boy growing up so I love to knit for baby girls in non-gender specific colors.  Mom's will get tons and tons of pink, (or blue, as the case may be) and I just think that babies should also have orange and aqua and bright yellow and green the color of grass...and definitely red!  So I went with the yellow/gray combo, but I did modify the increases to little eyelets so the overall sweater will still have a slight feminine touch.  And yesterday, I chose the best little yellow flower buttons to complete the look.  I'll probably have this finished today...that is, I should have it finished today but I'm distracted by another design submission.

There is a well known book series that is a little light on designs right now, and they contacted the shop to see if we'd like to contribute (as the girls did last year).  Naomi is pushing me to work something up for this book, because she believes in me and thinks I can do it.  And since this entire design adventure it totally her fault (cause she's been pushing me to design for the last three years), I told her I'd swatch and see what I could do.  So out came my Barbara Walker treasuries and a skein of lace weight yarn.  I gotta tell you...I hate designing in lace.  I don't know why I'm banging my head against this wall either.  I have a fun little pattern that I did for my MIL and as I sit here typing this, I realize that it might be the design to submit...  And it's true that I'd love to be in a book (and can definitely use the paycheck).  So I guess I'll be working on this one today...that is I should be working on it today, but I'm distracted by Jane Eyre.

Stupid, stupid classic literature!!  Okay.  I was in advanced English in high school, and we had a completely different required-reading list than everyone else.  Any time I have a conversation (and sadly, I still have these conversations) about books that we were forced to read growing up, everyone else has read the more traditional classic novels, and I feel like an idiot because I don't know what they're talking about.  I was an adult with two children before I read the Odyssey, or the Iliad, or Withering Heights, or Pride and Prejudice, or any of the other classic novels I've actually managed to read.  And I did try to read Jane Eyre, but I just couldn't get into it.  However, we were talking about it in class and I discovered that there is another novel based on one of the characters in this book...and that this spin-off novel is supposed to be an amazing read...so I have no choice but to go back and revisit the almost 500 page long Charlotte Bronte novel and see if I can manage.  But things are looking good so far.  I discovered that Jane and I share one common element so far and I guess I can understand how she's feeling right now, so I'm still reading.  We'll see how I feel after a few more chapters.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Great Design Project, part 6

I'm excited to be able to post on this topic again!  My last attempt at grading the pattern into multiple sizes was successful (thank goodness!).  And I've finished knitting the cardigan sample as well.  It's blocking right now and I'm waiting for it to dry.  I finished knitting at 11:30pm yesterday and decided to toss it into the sink to soak right then and there, so I could block it into shape and it would have all night to dry.  I'm extremely impatient and I have a hard time waiting for a sweater to be fully dry before I take it off the wires.

Now, you may notice that it doesn't look any different at this point from the pullover version.  That is because I decided to try something different.  Ruth Garcia-Alcantud of Rock + Purl, (an absolutely amazing designer), wrote a post a few weeks ago about blocking her pieces before adding button bands, because it helps preserve the structural integrity of the band.  The idea is that the finished piece will be tugged and pulled into the proper shape, and the band will be stretched out as well.  If you stretch the fronts first, then attach the band, they keep their shape better.  As I've experienced the former a few times, I thought I'd try this out and see how I like it.

I've had several ideas for the collar and the bands, and I've really struggled to figure out what I want to do with this cardigan.  I thought about buttons all the way down the front, one button at the bust, two buttons just below the bust, or closing with a shawl pin.  I've thought about bands of all different widths.  I've thought about shawl collars and regular collars.  Actually I'm still thinking about that shawl collar...  But last night as I tried on the sweater, I harassed my husband for his opinion and he came up with a real gem...toggles!  I love the idea.  Toggle placement is easily customizable according to the knitter's preference, and does not require future planning like button holes do.  That means that if I think I want two toggles, but I decide later that I really want three, I can do that without ripping one of the bands off.  Of course, that means that I will need to include instructions on how to create an icord for the toggle loops, but it also means that I get to use my icord maker again :) 

I need to go back and do some considerable revisions to the pattern, but I feel very good about it now that I've knit through it twice.  I'm going to split the pattern into two different versions: pullover and cardigan.  The logic is that most knitters either love pullovers OR cardigans, but not always both.  It doesn't make sense to put this much work into a pattern that offers both versions and charge extra for it when the knitter will most likely only be interested in one or the other.  It would be like penalizing them for all of my extra work.  Splitting the two will allow me to keep the cost down, and allow the knitter to choose what they are interested in.  And for those who may actually want both, I'll create a mini-ebook with a price break.  So the next steps in this project include pattern revision, knitting bands and adding toggles to this sample, sending the revised pattern back to the editor, and getting together with my photographer (when she comes back to town) to get proper photos of both versions.  Lots to do.

(would I be nuts if I rip out my pullover and reknit it according to the new pattern numbers?)