I have been very seriously thinking about beginning the next eight swatches for my “Ways of Knitting” post. Very seriously. Actually, the swatches themselves are all knit; just have to sit down and talk about them. To be entirely frank, though, I have gotten just a wee bit tired of looking at stockinette for the moment, and I can only assume that some of you have as well. Here, then, is just a brief interlude of Other Projects that I have going on. I hope you enjoy.
You’re Smocking Me…
Normally, before I begin the process of sweater design, there is a certain amount of planning that goes on. A notable exception to this rule has been my current little sweater project. In this instance I said to myself one morning, “Hey, I’m going to knit a sweater with some smocking on the yoke.” I dug out my Blue Barbara Walker, A treasury of Knitting Patterns, (Book 1), dialed up smocking and cast right on at the neckline.
I have been trying to do a lot of designing lately, which has included sketches, swatches, schematics, but has yet to yield a finished garment. I think that the minimalist process approach I have to this sweater is something of a reaction to that; I just want to knit and have a sweater.
With this no-designing design approach, stylistic elements just sort of happen. Some of them turn out to be good. Some of them…not so much. Several inches in, it turned out that I was knitting a square neck. This is good. I like square necks.
A little bit of garter edging there and I’ll be good to go.
The next thing to happen was the addition of a second stitch pattern, just below the bust. Again, the deciding element was “what do I feel like knitting?” It turns out that I felt like knitting mistake rib on the bias, in four sections.
This, it turns out, was not so good, for several reasons.
While the result of this bias work would have been a nice scalloped edge to the sweater (well, two big scallops, anyway) there would also have been a certain amount of scalloping at the top, which I did not plan for. For several inches, I told myself that this was OK. I was knitting at a fairly loose gauge and it would all just mellow out with the blocking. Be that as it may, I decided it was time to draw a picture of what this sweater might ultimately look like.
Lesson learned: When you don’t put any planning into a sweater, your sweater may end up having zero sense of cohesiveness. It may end up looking like a costume piece from Star Trek (not that I have anything against Star Trek, but I’m not planning on attending any conventions in the near future, so I don’t need a Star Trek sweater).
Well, back to – or rather finally to- the drawing board. I think that with this sweater, simplicity is going to be the key. I already have a stitch pattern I like, I don’t need any more. Plus, I really had my heart set on pockets, and there was certainly no good place for pockets on that funny bias thing. So, what if I do something more like this:
Just an all-over-smocked sweater with a square neck, 3/4 length sleeves, and garter edging. Very simple shaping at the back and sides will be enough. I guess I might as well go do some math, as long as I am planning this sweater anyway.
I will keep you updated.
It is now officially April, and the month has started off just as the Nursery Rhyme prescribes, with heavy showers and grey skies. This, however, has never been enough to keep me from enjoying my morning knitting-on-the-porch-with-coffee time.
Really, I think that the most important thing to note in this picture is that I have a new toy.
Now, it is important to remember that this is, in fact, a Store Blog, which means that I will be plugging our new products from time to time. It is important to remember, though, that I would only ever plug something that I absolutely love! (Well, I would only ever order a product that I absolutely love!) That said, I love my new grommet bag! It’s super thick vinyl, so none of my little pokies poke through, and yet I can see said pokies at all times, so that I don’t have to go reaching blindly for them.
And now back to your regularly scheduled blog post:
Today’s porch knitting, it turns out, is not knitting at all. As of yesterday, I am officially on a Tunisian crochet kick. What fun! So far, I have mostly been practicing different stitch patterns:
This is supposedly a flower stitch. It would look decidedly less sinister if I had made it in a different color.
I have also been playing around with crocheted cables. Honestly, crocheting has never been my favorite way of making cables. I have to say, though, that with Tunisian crochet, they are a little more fun.
This will be an ongoing interest, I think. Expect to be notified when we get a new shipment of afghan (Tunisian crochet) hooks in the store!
Finally, one of my ongoing (read, never-ending) projects is writing the pattern for my “Wink” mittens. Every Winter, I make a little more progress. It’s one of those things that really shouldn’t take much time, but somehow seems to.
So… there’s a face there. Lot’s of people don’t see it right away.
I kind of like that it’s not immediately obvious. It’s like a little secret (“wink, wink”).
The pattern itself (which is primarily charts, of course) has been more or less done for about two years (ugh! am I that much of a procrastinator?!). The trick was to find exactly the right yarn. This exactly right yarn turned out to be Imperial Stock Ranch Sock. It is a sport, rather than fingering weight yarn, which turned out to be just what I needed for this pattern. It’s also just the right kind of wooly for a very traditional feel.
All that’s left now is to knit up the Left hand and finalize the pattern. Of course, we are fast approaching the end of mitten season for this year. I think I will release the pattern for our Christmas in July promotion, so the mittens can be made in time for the next bout of cold weather.
In the meantime, I have stockinette stitch swatches to write about. I feel like this little interlude has done wonders for my bank of stockinette stitch related words. Expect to learn about the last eight swatches any day now! (It’s so exciting!)
Until then, Happy Knitting, etc.