Posted in colorwork, knitting patterns

Easter Memories, A Friend’s Cute Easter Pattern, and the Willamette Valley Tee

Hello, dear friends!  Easter is nearly upon us, and Holy Week is here.  This means choir rehearsals and much singing for me over the next six days.  It also means many happy memories of coloring Easter eggs, egg hunts, dresses made by Mom…

Every year Mom made me an Easter dress. I always loved the pretty fabrics and the pretty dress designs.  Looking at the fabrics she chose – maybe she influenced me in my love of color.  Did anyone else have this Easter tradition in your family?  What other Easter traditions did you or do you have?


Speaking of Easter, my friend Torunn designed this adorable Easter egg hat pattern.

Here’s a link to the free pattern on Ravelry: Knit Egg Hat with Pompom.


Good news, the Willamette Valley Tee is in testing!

After much thinking and problem-solving – and practically throwing in the towel – I realized that the pattern was already nearly written for size 38 – and I was confident that it would work in this size.  So why not move forward and write the pattern for sizes 35 and 38?

Therefore, this design is available for sizes 35 and 38.  The actual measurement of the sweater is 37 ¾ in. (39 ½ in.) at the bust, and could also work for those in the 32-34 in. range, if  a looser fit is acceptable.  The pattern uses fingering weight yarn on size 4 needles.  It is written to use 10 colors, but fewer colors may be used.  It also could be a stash buster.

A couple of people are testing the pattern, but I could use a couple more experienced colorwork testers.  If you would like to test this sweater in one of these two sizes please let me know.  I expect the test knit to run about 2 months.

Here’s the pre-blocking photo:

Thanks for stopping by, and have a wonderful Easter!

xoxo
Knit Equals Joy

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, knitting patterns

Colorwork Pumpkins: A New Pattern and a Collection

Just in time for your Fall/Halloween knitting, it’s the new Colorwork Pumpkins pattern!

dsc_0012-1024x677

Colorwork Pumpkins are perfect for fall, whether you want to decorate for Halloween, Thanksgiving, or all season long. Make several in different colors and yarn weights, and choose between three different chart designs. They also make GREAT gifts.

Pattern includes charts for spiders (two variations) and Art Nouveau calla lilies. These charts are some of my favorites so far. They were so much fun to design, and they’re fun to knit, too. I love how these beautifully knit pumpkins by PLC1, jenb69, and cascott (my friends and Ravelry users) turned out!

PLC1’s Colorwork Pumpkin, photo used by permission
jens-colorwork-pumpkin2-476x486
jenb69’s Colorwork Pumpkin, photo used by permission

Mini Colorwork Pumpkins coordinate perfectly with the Colorwork Pumpkins. Both patterns are written with i-cord tendrils, but some knitters have modified their projects and have used another method for making tendrils. You can find the modifications by looking through the project pages on Ravelry (or message me and I can send you in the right direction).

Mini Colorwork Pumpkin
Mini Colorwork Pumpkins
Pumpkins (375x500)
cascott’s Mini Colorwork Pumpkin, used by permission

For a great deal, purchase both patterns together for $6.00. Follow this link: Colorwork Pumpkins Collection – no coupon code is necessary. Or, get each pattern separately for $4.00.

I hope you will check out these patterns ~ and have a great Fall!!!

knit equals joy

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