Posted in colorwork, colorwork knitting, inspiration, Knit Equals Joy Designs, knitting pattern, sweater pattern, The Creative Process, The Design Process

Finally. The Willamette Valley Tee.

It’s quite interesting to me, designing knitting patterns. Not only in the ways you might expect: the conception of an idea, the swatching and trying out the different possibilities, even working out the most logical way to lay out the instructions. But also in this unexpected way: my sense of responsibility to my audience – the knitters who will be following my instructions and expecting beautiful results.

This sense of responsibility can and does cause anxiety.  It is the reason that it’s taken more than 3 years to go from conception to publication for the Willamette Valley Tee.

The very first post about this sweater was published on August 9, 2015 (What I Learned from the Swatch).

Then followed Colorwork Tee Progress (Aug 23, 2015), Yes, I am still working on the Colorwork Tee! (Oct 23, 2015), …and we have color! (Jan 20, 2016), Colorwork Tee Update  (Feb 4, 2016), Winter Ramblings  (Feb 19, 2016), and Sweater Surgery, or How I Cut Into my Sweater and Lived to Tell About It (May 5, 2016).

Finally, I threw in the towel with The Creative Project from H-E-Double Toothpicks (Sept 26, 2016). Well, maybe I didn’t throw in the towel, but I put the sweater away for a bit (a year plus!), hoping that the ideas might ruminate for a while and finally coalesce into a pleasing organic whole.

You just don’t know which events will give you the confidence to give something a try. Last year, our local yarn shop, Tangled Purls, hosted a series of customer trunk shows. It was a lovely way to create community and to allow us to appreciate the talent of our fellow local knitters. Toward the end of the series, they graciously invited me to participate. I included the old version of the Colorwork Tee in the tubs with my other knits, not really thinking it would be displayed since I didn’t use a yarn that the shop carries. However, they did display it, and people responded very positively (thanks, guys!), causing me to reconsider and to think that it might be time to give it the old college try once again.

During this year’s February week of vacation, I reconstructed the neck, shoulders, and sleeves, changed the palette slightly, and loved the result. Finally, I had the sweater I had dreamed of.  In the writing of it, though, I was not able to make it work in many sizes, as I had the Color Bliss Sweater.  So, this pattern is currently available for Ladies Small (32-34 in.) and Medium (36-38 in.) at bust.  If there is interest, I will continue to work to come up with a different construction that will work for more sizes.

Here are the pattern deets:

This wearable piece of art is a delight to make and wear. Using ten colors to create a beautiful interplay of pattern and light, this sweater would also look lovely in just two or three colors. Or experiment with stashbusting to create your own unique work of art.

This sweater is designed to be worn with 1 1/2 to 5 3/4 inches positive ease at the bust. It is knit top-down, with no seaming necessary.

In_front_of_tree_medium

Yarn:
The sweater shown was knit using Sunday Knits Yarn in 3-ply (light sport weight) (50 grams/approx. 246 yards), (20 grams/approx. 98 yards), in three interchangeable bases, Angelic, Eden, and Nirvana in the following colorways:
A. Bronze (Eden) 2 50g skeins.
B. Teal (Angelic) 2 50g skeins.
C. Lagoon (Eden) 1 50g skein.
D. Aqua (Angelic) 2 50g skeins.
E. Rain (Nirvana) 1 20g skein.
F. Ocean (Nirvana) 2 50g skeins.
G. Espresso (Nirvana) 1 20g skein.
H. Pickle (Nirvana) 1 50g skein.
I. Celery (Eden) 1 50 g skein.
J. Khaki (Angelic) 1 20g skein.

Back_Detail__2__medium2

Needles:
Body: US size 4 (3.5 mm) 24 in. (60 cm) and 36 in. (90 cm) circular needles, or size needed to obtain gauge.
Sleeve: US size 4 (3.5 mm) DPNs (set of 5) or appropriate needles for small-circumference knitting.
Neckband: US size 3 (3.25 mm) 24 in. (60 cm) circular needles.
Optional, for single-color sections: US size 3 (3.25 mm) 36 in. (90 cm) circular needles, or size needed to obtain gauge.

Discount:

Introductory Special: Use the coupon code WVT25 for 25% off through September 30, 2018 (Pacific Time).

Akimbo_medium2

NOW, finally, I am so thrilled to be able to offer this pattern to you.  It truly was a labor of love, and I am grateful and pleased that it has, at last, become the design it was meant to be.

Knit Equals Joy

xoxox

Posted in colorwork, design, The Creative Process, The Design Process

The Creative Project from H-E-Double Toothpicks

Over a year ago, I was struck – “hit up ‘side the head” one might say – with the inspiration and desire to design a colorwork sweater. Nevermind that I had never designed a sweater. I was confident about the colorwork; not as confident about the construction of the sweater – but I had my reference books, so I was ready to go.

I started by building a secret Pinterest board – a mood board, so to speak. It is now a public board, if you want to check it out, here: Tee Inspiration. Using it as a springboard, I began choosing colors for the tee, charted out a flower, and began swatching.

Sand, Espresso, Pickle, Black, Lagoon, Melon, Earth, Carrot, Moss, Bronze, Rose, Mist
Sand, Espresso, Pickle, Black, Lagoon, Melon, Earth, Carrot, Moss, Bronze, Rose, Mist

I know that many of you have followed me through the process of working on this design.  I’ve written about it often over the past year:  What I Learned from the SwatchWhat’s in the Hopper2016 – Possibilities…and we have color!Winter RamblingsSweater Surgery, or How I Cut Into my Sweater and Lived to Tell About ItJust a Little SketchYes, I am still working on the Colorwork Tee!, and Colorwork Tee Update.


This blog examines the design process. When I am designing, I’m not only designing and coming up with something that is (hopefully) pretty, but I am also thinking about how my mind is processing information in order to come up with that design. Basically, I’m thinking about how I think while I’m thinking. I believe this caused me some anxiety when the design wasn’t coming together like I thought it should. I was experiencing roadblocks, and I didn’t know why. I do know enough from experience to know that when this happens, I should stop whatever I am doing and let my thoughts go work on some other problem for awhile.

However, at this point, probably 9 months after the initial inspiration, I had too much invested in the design. I felt driven to finish it. Even if it didn’t come out exactly as I had hoped, I just wanted it DONE.

So, I finished it. I finished the knitting, I finished the writing, and sent the pattern for tech editing. Whew, such a relief!

I think it’s telling that what I love most about the pattern are the photos. That photo shoot was great fun and practically all of the pictures turned out well. I also loved being able to use the Kitchener Stitch with this sweater and working with the fabulous yarn.

In grasses, shading eyes (683x1024)
Love this photo from the photo shoot

Still, I don’t feel confident in this pattern. I don’t think it is ready to go out into the world yet. A friend is testing it, and I worry that it’s not going to fit correctly. I know that sometimes those worries are completely unfounded; yet, there it is.

What this tells me is that the pattern needs to go into time-out for awhile. Perhaps I won’t ever publish it. Perhaps more time needs to go by and I need to work on other projects. Then suddenly one day, something will click, and I will know what this pattern needs. In the meantime, I may make my sweater into a dress (with a feather and fan skirt) and add long sleeves in teal. –Perhaps that’s what the pattern needs. Maybe I stopped too soon by making it a tee instead of a dress.

I’ll conclude by saying that now that I have finished writing the pattern, I feel incredible lightness. My brain cells are freed to think in other directions and about other designs. I had felt as if the life had been sucked out of me – and now it is back.

…more to think about in the design process…when something takes over like that and becomes nearly an obsession, perhaps that is the time to drop it and turn in another direction. Or perhaps one must pursue it to its conclusion to learn whatever lessons there are to be learned.


Note: This post was written a couple of months ago, in July. The pattern is still in time-out. Other patterns have been written. Is it time to move on? We’ll see…I’m still considering other methods of construction and other variations for the colorwork sections – kicking those ideas around to see if they will coalesce into something new.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and to read about my experience with the project from H-E-Double Toothpicks!

Posted in colorwork, Knitting Technique, Knitting Tutorial, The Creative Process, The Design Process

Sweater Surgery, or How I Cut Into my Sweater and Lived to Tell About It

Last week I girded up my loins, picked up my scissors, and cut my sweater in half. Done with careful preparation, I survived, the sweater survived – and in fact it was much improved by the process.

The Problem

Here’s how knitwear design works for me: I try something. I like it. Well, except for just one thing. I rip back. I re-knit, and now it’s much better. But it’s not quite right, let me try this other color. At some point, I will determine to knit on no matter what. In the case of the Colorwork Tee, I knit the entire sweater before determining that, although I loved the torso of the sweater, I wasn’t happy with the fit of the yoke and sleeves.

So, I began again, armed with better numbers.  This time, things were much better! The fit was much more flattering.

sweater top
New yoke and sleeves

I’m not even going to show you the old yoke and sleeves, but here’s the section of the first sweater that I loved and kept. I could have continued knitting from the new yoke and sleeves and have knit all those rounds again, but…I thought that I had a better idea…grafting!

sweater bottom

The Plan

The plan was that, using Kitchener stitch, I would graft the top and bottom sections together. It would be an elegant solution that would save both time and yarn.

sweater top and bottom

Careful preparation was key to a successful operation. My motto, to misquote Bob Vila, was “Measure twice, stitch once!”

The Procedure

A Lifeline
~I learned this technique from a sock pattern, Basic Sock by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas. Insert the needle into the first leg of each stitch.  After the needle has been inserted into every stitch, the yarn can be unraveled down to the needle and the live stitches will remain on the needle.

Placing needle before cutting

Helpful hint for seeing the “first leg” of each stitch: use finger to push out the fabric.  You can see the separate legs more easily. I also find color changes to be helpful in seeing the separate legs.

To find first leg of st

After all of the stitches are on the needles…

DSCN9753

…the fabric is ready to cut:

Sweater surgery
Eek!!!

There was some weird problem unraveling, so I put in a new lifeline a few rounds further down.

Stitchy mess

Now I was ready to begin stitching. For instructions and a cheat sheet on how to work the Kitchener Stitch, read here.

Here, about 3 inches of grafting is completed (to the right of the needles):Some grafting completed

After grafting, there was a bit of a ridge, noticeable to the touch but not visible. Once blocked, though, it was practically imperceptible.

The Finished Product

I’m excited to share some much more professional looking photos soon, but here’s the sweater right after blocking.

Colorwork Tee

And that’s how I grafted 312 stitches and lived to tell about it!

Posted in colorwork, Oregon, Oregon Coast, photography, The Coast, The Creative Process

Winter Ramblings

DSCN9374I’ve just finished up a few days at the Oregon Coast.  I come here every February, as a quiet, restful retreat by myself.  I will often take long rambles, beachcombing,  looking for the beautiful, the interesting or the odd to capture my attention.  City-combing, too, looking for interesting architecture, sculpture, artistic endeavors; flora, fauna, food; less often, because they move and you have to get their permission, people.

A huge chunk of the time here is spent knitting, of course.  Or, now, designing.  This trip, there was a lot of knitting, ripping out, and re-knitting.  I’m pretty sure this sweater now has its course planned out pretty well and all I have to do is just keep knitting…

Colorwork sweater, a previous version which included light blue and melon colorways:

DSCN9340

Even though all of the inspirational palettes I was drawing from included the melon (and orange), I finally concluded that they were not going to work in this sweater because I hadn’t introduced them sooner.  They are in time out and are not even in the tub with the rest of the yarn.  Now I have a plan and will be working the greens, blues and browns back in throughout the rest of the fabric:

Colorwork Tee

There’s much more to be said about knitting on this trip, including the lovely Open Knit time at In The Wind Yarns and some new yarn (!), but that’s subject matter for another post.

Now, back from that little aside.

Within the last year, I started writing this blog, and I set up a Facebook page and Twitter account so that I could let you know when a new post was written.  In the blogging, I rediscovered my love for writing. For many years, it’s been put aside. I thought that since I write correspondence and I’m the Grammar/Comma Queen at work – I thought that because of these things, I was using my love for the language, I was writing.  But then I started writing the blog, and I recollected that, at age 8 or 10 or whatever, I wrote an essay on the results of tobacco use for our little neighborhood club.  I wrote an essay for fun, for goodness’ sake!  What kid does that??  I’ve loved writing all my life, and it’s been very rewarding to pick up the pen, so to speak, again.

It’s true that I don’t have the time to devote to writing that I would wish, and so I decided to post Wordless Wednesday once a week, to keep the blog active when I don’t have the time or energy to write something engaging.  I love photography, and now I want a new camera!

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog.  I appreciate your spending some of your time with me.  Wishing you a wonderful day.  Now, I’ve gotta pack and head back home!

~Carol

 

 

Posted in art, design, knitting, knitting patterns, The Creative Process, The Design Process, Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday: Sketches

Sketches.  Used to capture and make more concrete the wispy impressions of design ideas.  Or used to convey them to others in a third-party submission.  Some of these morphed into something else, perhaps recognizable to you.  Others, well, they were just thoughts.  A look into a sketchbook.Colorwork Cowl Sketch (2)

 

A sweater sketch

 

Route 66 Mitts (3)

Route 66 Mitts Blue (3)

 

Hat prototype

Timberline Scarf - p

Posted in design, inspiration, Oregon, photography, Salishan, The Coast, The Creative Process, The Design Process, Wordless Wednesday

Beach. Texture. Love.

If you have followed my blog for long – or read my “about me” page – you know that I LOVE the beach. Part of what draws me to the beach is the endless variety of texture to be found there.  Especially here on the rugged Oregon Coast, the objects to be found on the beach are richly varied, always interesting.  I’m always looking for something unusual, something new, something lovely or striking.

barnacles

Texture strikes me.  It draws my attention.  It is beautiful in its order and in its variety. Visually, as light moves over the surface of an object or vista and the eye detects changes in line and shape, this is texture.  As light plays over differences in density within an object, and we see these differences, we see texture.  And when the eye travels over a surface and, along the way, discovers changes in the nature of that surface, we recognize this as texture.

Ebb pattern by Susan B. Anderson

The pictures in this post were originally published in a Wordless Wednesday in August 2015. There were reasons for choosing these specific photos, so I wanted to revisit them  – and to think about the nature of texture.

During a ridiculously long walk along this section of the beach in Newport, which I paid for later with complaining, swollen ankles and aching muscles (note to self: no more beach hikes wearing flip flops!) I was the winner in finding amazing textures, such as those in the barnacles and driftwood above.

And what about these wind shadows?  I found them enchanting – sand protected from the wind by small items on the sand blocking the movement of air.  This interesting textural phenomenon was all around that day.sand shadows

Fascinating: an object masquerading as something quite different in nature from its own nature.  shell as leaf

And finally, when I was heading back on that Newport hike, I came upon this impromptu sand and driftwood sculpture.  Well worth the price of admission!

Squirrels

I finally explored the Salishan Spit in August 2014, after having been curious about it for years.  It can be seen across the Siletz Bay from the highway, but I had never been there – I couldn’t even figure out how to get there! Finally I did my research, took the eight mile hike, and was mesmerized the entire time. There was something new to discover every bit of the way, from the dark sand (called “tar sand” by some locals) to a desolate “tree graveyard” filled with sunbleached, craggy remnants of an ancient forest.

DSCN5820

Lovely, delicious, intriguing, ubiquitous texture:
DSCN4822

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When I returned to Gleneden Beach the following February to photograph the Salishan Cowl for the completed pattern, I was reminded again why this place had inspired this design.  The organic, curved shapes were everywhere, from the clouds in the sky to the patterns in the sand.

Salishan Cowl

DSCN5050

As my eye finds textured nuances like these, they are filed away in my brain under “inspiration.”  And some day, hopefully, bits and pieces of them will reconnect and reemerge – as a new and pleasing design.