lunes, 31 de marzo de 2014

My first experience designing a knitting pattern.

Last year i decided i wanted to start designing my own patterns, i thought it would be an easy task since i´ve been modifying and knitting my own garments for a long time, sometimes i use existing patterns but most of the time i had to modify them or just use some part of them. Well i was so wrong...turns out it is a really hard task, it took me about two weeks to spin all the yarn i needed to make a shawl i had in mind, then it took me weeks and a lot of swatches to finally get to a point where i was happy with the stitches i was going to use.

 I knew what i wanted, a shetland inspired shawl with a squarish shape that would look like a cape once it was over your shoulders, it had to have an open netting like main stitch and a lace border. Once i choose the netting stitch and assembled the border stitches, the first big problem i encountered was the way the border is attached to the finished shawl i had never knit something like that, and the corners oh the corners...if i knit the border as usual it made the corners curl and look weird, so i had to experiment with mitered corners, the picture below shows my first attempt, i had to make a few before i found the right one.

After that i knit the shawl, and it was a quite straight forward task, i had no problems at all, the yarn i used was a lace handspun made of finn wool in a natural white color.

 Before blocking i decided i didn´t liked it white so i decided to dye it in a turquoise color, i´m relatively new to dyeing so i wasn´t able to get the color i wanted, but i like so much i decided to keep it that way.

After that, i had the shawl the way i wanted it, and the instructions i wrote as i made it,  so i made the pattern and since it was my first one i decided it would be a good idea to test it, so i used the free pattern testers group on ravelry, it was mid september and it was already about two months since i started. I got four volunteer to test my pattern and the deadline was the end of october.

 Over the time they made me noticed i had some mistakes, mostly on the writing since english is not my native language, and then my first tester disappeared, the deadline was over and none of the remaining testers was able to finish so i gave them more time, at the end only one of them was able to finish it. I´ve been on the other side and i know sometimes there are certain circumstances that simply won´t let you finish on time, so i simply closed the tests happy to know at least one person had made a shawl using my instructions.

 It was the end of november and about four months since i started, whilst my testers were working on that pattern i decided it would be nice to have a triangular version of the shawl too just for fun, so knit one using a cobweb handspun yarn i had in my stash.

Then i decided i wanted to add the instructions to knit the triangular version to my original pattern, it was december already and i had a lot of traveling to do visiting my parents and grandparents, so i tried my instructions knitting another triangular version but this time using a lace handspun yarn.

By the end of december i had the triangular version tested, unfortunately i got a lot of work to do for my master degree thesis and the pattern had to go to the queue, even when the only thing i had to do was to add it to the original pattern and add some photos. A few days ago i was finally able to finish and publish the whole pattern  to ravelry's database, it took me about six months but i feel so happy and proud to know maybe one day i´ll see on the internet somebody wearing a shawl made with my pattern, a garment that came out of my imagination.

lunes, 24 de marzo de 2014

Grandma's shawls

These are very old FO, i made them one or two years ago but never got the chance to upload the pictures.

In a previous post i mentioned i was knitting my grandma a faroese shawl, that was "easy" but had to rip it a lot of times. At the end i got sick of that pattern and decided to give it a try to a new one, that´s when i first saw the Aeolian shawl by Elizabeth Freeman, it found it quite attractive but a lot more complex than the original pattern i was using, turns out i was wrong. It seems like i'm more into complicated knitting, i was able to knit the whole shawl in two weeks without making not even one mistake.

The yarn was a silky merino blend from blackberry ridge farm, in Pale Iris color, i used almost two skeins but the shawl is quite big as you can see in this photo it takes amost the whole bed while blocking.

The final and blocked shawl its quite big but has a gorgeous shape and it fits my mom´s mom perfectly, i forgot to take her a picture wearing it but i she loved it.

I couldn´t knit a shawl for my mom´s mother without knitting one for my dad's mom and given that i liked so much the Aeolian pattern i decided to go for Laminaria, another pattern from Elizabeth Freeman. The yarn is also from Blackberry ridge farm in a Light Lilac color, this time i used about one and a half skein, and with the rest of the second skein i knit a lace scarf.