In November, I started working on a shawl cardigan design in a fingering weight linen yarn. I have about six inches or so completed and I am pleased with the design so far.
But, that timer is telling how long it takes to knit a front and back row and it has over 400 pairs of those rows– so 60-70 hours of knitting at my speed. And not mindless knitting, but four different lacy stripes of knitting that change every few stitches. I am not the fastest knitter, but I’m not the slowest either. It is an eight row repeat, but many stitches wide.
So, my quandaries. Do I love the results enough to devote this amount of time to the project? If I love the results enough, will I be able to find test knitters who feel the same, or buyers of the eventual pattern? Are the results worth the work, or could there be other options?
Since I find myself avoiding this project for others in my queue, I suspect that my subconscious is saying no to those questions.
It’s those other options that are on my mind today. One option is to continue to use this fingering weight yarn and simplify the striped pattern. Of the four lace stripes, one is the border (not shown) and my inspiration for the project, so it needs to stay. The other three stripes could be reduced to two and probably it would be an easier knit with a less complicated repeat. Increasing the size of the purled area between the stripes by even one stitch would further simplify the pattern.
Another option might be to pick a different, heavier yarn and work at a larger scale. I was excited about the drape of the linen, but perhaps a linen/cotton blend in a sport or DK weight could work well, too.
It might be time to do some more swatching….
Last weekend I attended Stitches West and took a couple of classes. I went in with the plan that I would take pictures and post all my favorite things, but alas, I got so caught up in looking that I failed to document the experience.
I did get to meet the Knitmore Girls of the podcast by the same name just as I walked in. Jasmin was perfectly gracious at me just stepping up to say hello! They recently did a few episodes interviewing Steven Be and Stephen West at last year’s show (I think) which really enhanced my enjoyment of Stitches as well.
I got a lovely blocking mat set from Coco Knits, my big purchase for the show, and I got a sweet project bag from Slipped Stitch Studios which my dear friends who attended with me gave me as a gift.
I also found a new yarn vendor, Fiberlady, which offered a selection of bamboo yarns, beautifully dyed. I am allergic to wool, so many of the beautiful fibers that are at Stitches I can’t actually work with without blistering. I feel like I am in heaven when I go into a a booth were I can touch everything! My purchase there was two skeins of a lovely variegated yarn.
I enjoyed two classes. One with Brooke Nico, where we learned about circular shawls, and a mind blowing (at least to me) class with JC Briar, all about how to harness the power of spreadsheets to develop patterns. I’m currently working on my first sweater pattern and this class was exactly what I needed.
If you are in the bay area, Stitches is one of those must see events at some point in your knitting career!
Over the weekend I stumbled upon this post on Ravelry with hundreds of comments from people showing off their homemade project bags. I started “collecting” some of my favorite free designs for future sewing. They tended to fall into a few categories.
My favorite here was the No Guts Boxy Pouch, which is a free download on Craftsy. Really clean look and the boxy design seems it would store well.
But I also really like the Rosy Wedge Bag which also seemed like a great design but a different shape.
There are lots of simple patterns for these as well. I really liked the Origami Lotus Bag, also on Craftsy, because it had a little extra charm to it and I liked how it opened up flat.
But I’m intrigued by the many people who have made variations on the Lunch Bag, which has both handles and a drawstring to keep everything inside.
This Drawstring Project Bag has the added charm of a little handle so you could maybe keep a sock in there and knit standing up.
Japanese Knot Purse
This is sort of a category of its own of simple, lined, reversible bags with one long and one short handle. One handle slips through the other to close the bag. There are lots of free patterns, but here is a good example. I saw pictures of this bag design from huge to tiny, some with round, flat bottoms and others with a simpler seamed bottom.
Since I have lots of fabric from my quilting days and a few pretty things I’ve picked up at FabMo, I think some of these bags are in my future!
There are various ways to shape a shawl and I’ve been having fun experimenting with different styles of shaping. I currently have a design that I’ve sent to a publisher for a crescent shaped shawl. Crescents are interesting because there are so many ways that they can be shaped.
A triangular shawl with a fast rate of increase on the outside edges can be crescent shaped with a bit of a point. A crescent can also be made with short rows running side to side, like my Tierra Shawl, or with short rows running up and down the shawl. You can also increase and decrease knitting from one end to the other. Or you can make a part of a circular shawl. You can also space out the increases in a top down shawl to make a more crescent shape. I’m sure there are more. I chose to move from a initial set of short rows to form an initial crescent shape to spaced out increases to create lines of lace curving across the shawl.
Here are some of the better websites I’ve found that detail the basics of creating different shawl shapes:
This Tricksy Knitter post on shawl anatomy doesn’t give specific directions but it does give you an overview of how some basic shapes work. http://www.tricksyknitter.com/shawl-anatomy/
Likewise, you will get an overview of some additional shapes without any specifics at Tin Can Knits. https://blog.tincanknits.com/2012/06/12/shape-of-lace-part-one/
The Shawl Knitting Cheat Sheet gives you some basic information for five different shawl shapes. http://www.laylock.org/blog/2011/05/free-shawl-knitting-cheat-sheet/
Holly Chayes shares detailed directions for 15 different shawl shapes, often with directions for starting top down and bottom up. http://www.hollychayes.com/2013/04/15/shawl-geometry/
Julia Riede has basic directions for 23 different shawl shapes on her web page with a lovely visual guide to go along with them. http://www.jriede.com/shawl-shapes-overview/
I’ve been working on a hat for the #25000tuques project. I learned about the project from the Knitmore Girls Podcast (http://www.knitmoregirlspodcast.com/) and needed a new project for my purse.
My hat is just a simple K2, P2 rib in a washable wool. I found this great web page from Earth Guild (http://www.earthguild.com/products/knitcroc/marypat/hatcalc.htm) that gives the directions for basic hat. All you need to do is knit a swatch to find out your gauge and follow their directions. http://ow.ly/i/gvobe