Posts tagged ‘design planning’
Always sad when the my parents leave… so right after they left yesterday, I dressed the kids up and had a long over due photo shoot of their winter sweaters. The temperature was perfect, the lighting was perfect, and even better…the kids had a blast!
Patterns will be available in a few weeks!
I had a fabulous knitting week followed by a totally demoralizing one. Thus the lack of blogging, I had a super busy week that left no time for writiong, followed by such a terrible one that I had nothing to write about.
I’m really loving this time of year. I’m already anticipating the temperature dropping, and pictures of darling twins in hand knit sweaters posed in piles of beautiful leaves.
I’m still finishing my perfect black layering cardi. I thought I was almost done and then decided to wait till I finished both sleeves to be brutally honest with myself. They just fit so poorly, and didn’t match the look I was going for at all.
I also decided to get some sweaters going for the twins. After scouring my LYS for the perfect yarn for Chad, Found this gorgeousness…
I gave myself the little challenge of knitting the whole sweater during one weekend trip to the in-laws. It was about to be a “nothing but net”, an, d then the inevitable happened, I ran out of yarn. So, more yarn is on its way (another story for another day), and I’m hoping to have this sweet little sweater for my little towheaded boy finished by the end of next week.
Is anyone else getting excited about fall knitting?
You’d think that having twins would have put a serious cramp in my knitting lifestyle. While I couldn’t wait to be a mom, I really dreaded losing myself into the role. I feared I would be nothing more than a nursing, diapering machine, incapable of creative thought for the next few years. I knew it would all be worth it, after all I have a fantastic relationship with my parents, and I can’t wait till I have that with my own children. But I thought there would be a lot of gritting through the next few years, trying to keep a vision for how good it would be in 20 years.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. True, I can’t run to the yarn store on a moments notice (not that I did anyways), and a lot of my day is spent nursing and diapering. But, they do nap, and there isn’t THAT much housework to do, and in actuality I do have a couple hours a day I could carve out to work on whatever needs to get done (knitting, paying bills, cooking, etc). But there’s more to it than time. I can not believe how inspired I am. After my initial release last April, I experienced a huge, huge slump of creativity. It was soooo frustrating. Here I was, not working, having hours on end to do whatever I thought needed to get done, and yet by the end of 2011, I hadn’t accomplished nearly what I had hoped to. For some reason, I thought the slump was semi-permanent. But it wasn’t! Quite the opposite! There is something about caring for these little ones that has created a general feeling of hopefulness in everything I do. I really can’t explain it. The practical knitting result of this is that my mind is exploding with ideas, much like it was when I first knew I was going to quit my job and have time to design. It’s incredible, my knitting notebook is filling quickly with blogging ideas, sweater ideas, toy ideas, diaper cover measurements and all kinds of other evidence that the bug has once again bit.
I don’t have all the time in the world. But I do get time to knit and even get my brain really wrapped around the math involved in the design, and it’s a wonderful feeling to be able to create once again.
Thank you my dearest Chad and Elsie! Your mommy is already so richly blessed through your adorable smiles.
So here’s my DIP! (Design In Progress)
Have I mentioned I’m madly in love with Liberty Wool? I know, I know, like every time I knit with it. It is an absolute pleasure to work with. I feel like I knit so much faster when I’m using it. You know, lots of people talk about how cotton hurts their hands, because it doesn’t have any give. And I never really got it, until this project I never really noticed the difference in fibers in how comfortable my knitting was. But I am just loving the squishy elasticity in this yarn. It is to die for. I still don’t think cotton is uncomfortable, but this liberty wool is not only comfortable, it’s downright luxurious to work with. And it’s just a simple superwash!
The milestones on this project are flying by. Finished the back, and the left front, I’m making serious progress on the right front, and then I’ll only have the sleeves… but the sleeves are tricky because I haven’t done the first bit of math on them. So that could present some interesting issues. My goal is to have the front finished by the end of the week so I can spend next week on sleeves, both designing and knitting. 🙂
I have two other ideas on the back burner that I’m mulling over as I work on this project. But I do attempt to be a monogamous designer, so I’m plowing through this sweater so I can get started on all this other stuff that’s capturing my inspiration.
So it feels like I get a week of knitting and then there’s a week or two whirlwind of other baby prep, then I get a week of knitting, and the cycle continues. While I haven’t been knitting a ton these last two weeks, I’ve been doing all sorts of other crafty baby prep. Curtains were made, little burp cloths were appliqued, and custom vinyl decals for the nursery have been designed.
But as of yesterday, knitting will be getting more attention, and when I say more attention, I mean A LOT of attention. Yesterday I was put on complete bedrest. I’m not in preterm labor or anything yet, but they were very concerned that I would be if I didn’t seriously take it easy. I must say, this was one of the moments when I was glad I was a knitter. Well, I was glad for a lot of things, but being a knitter was one of the top three. I didn’t say to myself in a panic… “what am I going to do on the couch all day?” Instead, I knew exactly what I was going to do with all that couch time. I finally could knit all the things I had been dying to dive into without feeling guilty about the rest of the house. Well, I still do feel guilty about the house, but it’s out of my control now.
I’m so thankful for good friends. My dear friend called me this morning as soon as she heard. She gave me some great perspective on how I should be using this time. I’m so glad I have people who are going to help me be really productive with this time and do things I couldn’t do if I was rushing around still getting ready for these babies, and won’t let me languish for the next two months in a pile of depressed misery.
So here are some of the things I’d like to do with my next couple months of time…
- Refresh my walk with the Lord – I now have absolutely no excuse to not spend a good chunk of time in the Word, spend extended time praying for my children, and read good books every day. Even if I do that for 2 hours every single day, that still leaves hours and hours of time for knitting, novels, and TV.
- Think through life. Tackle what it’s going to take to get little pockets of my home organized. Even if I can’t do it, that doesn’t mean I can’t figure out the best system for it that I can implement when I’m on my feet again.
- Stay on top of the paperwork.
- Read some classics – librivox.org may just keep me sane, while keeping my mind intellectually challenged and engaged.
- Knit, Knit, Knit, Design, Design, Design, Publish, Publish, Publish – Need I say more?
- Blog, Podcast, Tweet – All things I love doing, but never seem to have enough time to enjoy. I guess I do now! 🙂
Any of my readers ever been on bed rest? Any other suggestions about what I should do with my time?
I’ve been swatching for days. As much as designing a new sweater can sound all exciting. There is a reality after that first completed sketch that sets in when you reallize how much thought needs to go into getting that sweater from the back of a napkin to cozily wrapped around you. The biggest hurdle is the one all knitters dread. Swatching.
The controversy over swatching is up there with continental vs. english and magic loop vs. DPNs, There is a lot of articles, books, chapters of books, and blog posts written on this topic. Many knitters argue that it’s one of the most important techniques of knitting. Others avoid it like a plauge.
Now, personally I don’t hate swatching categorically. Sometimes I love it. But sometimes it seems downright unnecessary. So as I’ve spent hours and hours working on little bits of knitting that will never turn into anything besides good math, I’ve been thinking a lot about my position on swatching.
When I Love it:
- When I’m feeling noncommittal. It’s an excellent way to feel if I like certain yarn or stitch pattern without feeling like I’m getting married to it for the next chunk of time. Sometimes if I’m really nervous about starting, I’ll do two or three swatches before actually casting on. I heard someone call it the dating phase of the knitting relationship
- It’s the one your knitting teacher/tudor will whack you over the head with every time you have a sweater that doesn’t fit, but it’s absolutely true. If you have a good swatch, your sweater will fit. I love sweaters that fit, therefore I love swatching. A good gauge swatch really is the magic that makes all the math that goes into a design work. If you’re thinking about investing a few weeks or months of your life into something, a few extra hours really is worth it.
- This kinda goes with number 1, but when I’m bored, and don’t have any big knitting to sink my teeth into. A swatch makes me feel like I might start a sweater, or I might come up with something I like better, in either case, my hands were busy, and all I lost was a few yards of yarn.
- As a designer, I LOVE getting to touch the fabric that will make up my next creation, it’s very inspiring. 🙂
- If size doesn’t matter, like a blanket or shawl, no reason to swatch.
- If I’m knitting something small like socks or mittens, it’s just as easy to rip out my work as it is to do a swatch. So why bother knitting a little swatch when the sock or mitten itself could be your swatch. AND you just might get lucky and not need to rip out, in that case a swatch would have actually been a waste of time.
- If I’ve knit with the exact same yarn and needles. Yes, I know stress levels is a big factor in getting gauge, but I like to think I’m relatively predictable. (Full disclosure, I have been burned by this before, but it was a pair of socks, see #2).
- Hats are ambiguous, due to how little time they take, I tend to use the yarn and needles suggested and hope for the best. I do check my gauge along the way.
The running theme of the summer has been an attempt to keep up my knitting inspiration. There is nothing like the bite of fall air to make you deeply desire to start a new wool cardi, freshen up your personal sock stash, and cast on a cowl or two. But the problem wasn’t just the 90 degree weather. I think I did something else wrong this summer. I tried to knit summer things. I don’t like summer things… not nearly as much as the sweaters, socks, mittens, hats and cowls that are so wonderfully appreciated in the winter. I had the right idea last summer. When May came around, I cast on an alpaca pullover, not necessarily the most fun to have on your lap all summer. But when september rolled around. I had a brand new sweater, that I wore all year, and just pulled out yesterday, when the high was 64 degrees. I think I even made a pair or two of socks. This year, being the first year I officially launched Elegant Economy as an independent design business, I spent far too much time trying to design items *other* people would like to knit during the summer.
The phrase “be true to yourself” makes me look for the nearest garbage pail to puke in. No one comes “out of the box” perfect. We all have a lot of unpleasant characteristics that we spend most of our lives trying to overcome. If I stayed true to myself, for example, I would never let my dear friends get a word in edgewise, while I chattered their ear off. I would show complete disregard and disrespect for any of their thoughts and opinions, while arrogantly airing my own. So in this sense, I never want to be true to myself. I want to always be looking outside myself, striving for a standard higher than what is most natural to me.
However, I do believe each person is created with unique temperaments, desires, likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, and skill sets. And I think trying to conform yourself to a mold you were never designed to fit into really is a recipe for disaster.
In my first design release in April I quickly started getting data back on what people did an didn’t like about my work, based mostly on sales. What I found fascinating, is that there were two patterns that in my mind, were very forced, and two that practically designed themselves, garments that I wanted for my personal wardrobe, and didn’t just throw together hoping to make a few dollars. Apparently everyone else knew which ones they were too. The two that came the easiest and were the most fun to work on were by far the best sellers of the whole collection. People are still favorite-ing them on Ravelry on a daily basis. I wish I had picked up on this right away. It would have saved me lots of grief over the summer working and reworking designs that I thought people would buy. Instead of designing the next project I wanted for my own personal gratification. So in that sense, I do need to stay true to myself. Excuse me while I go find a trash can. 🙂
So the wonderful bite in the cool fall air has arrested my attention. It’s time to design all the projects I wish I could be wearing right this minute. Back to the drawing board.
P.S. So far I’m still on track to release my next pattern within the next couple weeks. Keep checking back!!