I spent much of the weekend at Sivia Harding's lace design workshop, put on by the West Coast Knitters' Guild. I love knitting lace, so the chance to learn more about the design process to jump-start me into designing my own shawls was too good to pass up.
The workshop concept sounds deceptively simple: come prepared with stitch dictionaries and figure out how best to fill the triangle shape with appropriate stitch patterns. It's harder than it sounds, but Sivia made it seem, not quite easy, but reasonably straight-forward, with lots of places to make artistic design decisions.
Sivia has some wonderful designs and brought some of her shawls for us to admire and deconstruct, using them as teaching examples. She gave us ideas on how to start the shawls, various ways of finishing them, how to modify stitch patterns to fit nicely into the triangle shape, when and how to fudge stitch patterns to make the entire pattern easier to understand and knit, and lots of other tips. Everyone ended up with charts and swatches, and undoubtedly lots more ideas than they started with. Now all I have to do is finish the design I started (I want to change a couple of things), complete the charts, and start knitting!
I recently realised that I have a lot of projects on my Ravelry pages that aren't blogged. So I'm going to put in a few postings to catch up. Since it's some time since I knitted these, details are likely to be sketchy, but at least I'll have the photos in place.
First up is a sweater I knitted for my husband in Jean Wong's Level 2 knitting class (a simplified version of the Nihon Vogue course). The requirements are for a round-neck sweater; my husband picked the yarn colour and the simple k3, p1 rib pattern. The rest was customised to his measurements. The ribbing around the neck, waist, and arms is k1p1 on smaller needles.
I used Elann's Coto Canapone, a cotton/hemp yarn that shrinks when washed. Fortunately you do things properly for knitting class, so I did wash and block the gauge swatch. I made the body a little too long but am hoping it will shrink a little when washed again. I also made the ribbing around the neckline a little too deep; next time I'd make it only half the width. The yarn is hard on your hands while knitting, but does knit up really nicely and should wear well (my husband is hard on clothes). It's also a reasonable price, and is machine-washable.
Yarn: Elann Coto Canapone, 20 skeins
Needles: 3.5 for the body, 3.25 for the ribbing
Pattern: my own, based on k3p1 rib for the boddy and k1p1 ribbing
Comments: the yarn shrinks when washed
Dates: Started September 13 2008, completed November 12 2008
Ravelry link: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/laurendw/ribbed-mens-sweater
Brown Men's Sweater
This cardigan was my project for my Level 4 finishing class with Jean Wong. The finishing classes are a less hectic and less formal version of the Nihon Vogue course, which still teach a lot about design and techniques. Level 4 is meant to be a round-neck cardigan, so I decided I wanted to add argyle-style diamonds to it. Some amount of design and swatching later, I got as far as the photos show.
And haven't got any further, since I'm working on another project. Much of my knitting time is while watching TV, or at a knitting meet-up, and somehow duplicate stitch and seaming don't go as well with those activities as the more mindless knitting itself. Particularly as they both need good light.
Maybe tomorrow I'll get some more done. Or maybe not.
Yarn: Rowan Calmer, 7 skeins of main colour and 2 each of the contrast colours. The bottom photos have the most accurate colours.
Needles: 4.0 mm (body), 3.75 mm (bottom ribbing), 3.5 mm (sleeve ribbing), 3.25 mm (neckband and front bands)
Pattern: my own
Ravelry link: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/laurendw/diamonds-cardigan
I finished my son's sweater some time ago, but finally got around to taking the photo and cropping it and uploading. He likes it, it's none too big but will probably last a while since kids of his age tend to grow up rather than out. There's a bit of pooling; I actually quite like the way it came out. The zig-zags somehow match the speed at which he usually hurtles around.
another photo of the front
Note to self: next time you wing it on a sweater, make sure the neck fits over the head of the recipient before doing the final rib and bind-off. Having to rip back after weaving in the ends semi-invisibly is especially annoying.