Trust the Pattern

Do you ever have a project that you just can't look at for a while? Something goes wrong and you have to put it away to deal with later. 

That's Waterlily for me. My Ravelry notes say I started it last February, but called it "End of summer" so I think I did the bulk of the work in the summer. But, the lace caught me up and I had to do-over. It got shoved in a bag, life got busy and I kind of forgot about it. I really hate leaving projects unfinished. I may put it away for a while, but I always pick it up and either give up entirely or push to finish. 

I made it a goal to work on it when I had some quiet time this summer. Finally the day arrived. I've made it through a good inch of lace and all is going well. I still have a life line in, just in case. 

 Waterlily in progress from Pompom Quarterly. Yarn from  String Theory .  

Waterlily in progress from Pompom Quarterly. Yarn from String Theory.  

I recently made it through another lace project, and I realized my issue. I use markers when going along with a lace chart, placing markers in between the repeats as one should. But, sometimes those repeats include something like a knit2together and then my marker is off. What do I do here? I tried to force it to work within the markers and inevitably the lace goes wonky. (Technical term.)  

Staci recommends this to knitters writing in often: TRUST THE PATTERN. Duh, I told myself, just move the markers. As I get to the end, magically, the stitch count works. 
 

It's not just lace patterns, sometimes if you can't visualize what the pattern will do, just go with it and maybe it will make sense. 

Now, what about that argyle Christmas stocking... 

P.S. Can I just tell you how much I love Pompom Quarterly? It's delightful. When it comes in the mail it is wrapped in tissue with a hand-written thank you note. The stories, patterns and images are lovely.  

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Dipping into Design

Part of my reason for taking the basics course for TGKA is to get my head around designing. I get inspiration from so many sources, but have yet to put it down in a pattern. 

  Color block tee in progress. 

Color block tee in progress. 

The biggest challenge is time. I have work (other than VeryPink work), kids, house, life (and let's be honest, Facebook and other worthless distractions). Some days I don't get to knit at all. Some days it's just 20 minutes before bed. How do I find time to work through a design in there? Plus, being the project knitter that I can be makes it a challenge to work through the process, not to the finish line. 

I am working on a simple knit-in-the-round top that I hope to get on paper, but I purposely chose chunky yarn so I can get it out there and see how it goes. I'll let you know!

I've been dabbling with this idea for a while. I have a tendency to try to study-up before jumping in. If you're interested in designing, but not sure where to start, there are some books to get started that I've enjoyed:

The Handy Book of Patterns by Ann Bud. This has several basic designs with charts allowing you to adjust for gauge and size. It's really intimidating when you first thumb through, but try not to freak out! You just pick a row and column to figure out your stitch counts. You're not really designing, but creating a custom project and getting a sense of design.

Knitwear Design Workshop by Interweave. The thing I love about this book is it starts with the absolute basics - take your body measurements. And, each project type has a step-by-step worksheet. 

Another design I'm noodling on is going to use this amazing recycled sari silk yarn. I'm really excited about this project, but want to keep the details on the down-low until I get it together. It's for a special non-profit so it may be months before it's revealed. I was inspired when cleaning out my craft closet and rediscovered the leftovers from a bag I made years ago (sorry for the bad photography here!). To use stash yarn, support a female-empowering yarn company and support a local non-profit - I call that a triple win! 

 Stay tuned. 

My Knitting Homework - TKGA Basics, Basics, Basics

This spring I decided to take the Basics course through The Knitting Guild Association. It's a 3-lesson course to cover basics like increases, decreases and gauge. 

 Swatches from lesson 1 - but one is wrong! Do-over was required. Glad I double-checked. 

Swatches from lesson 1 - but one is wrong! Do-over was required. Glad I double-checked. 

Staci was surprised, suggesting I already knew how to do it all. And, while that's true that I know what to do if I'm reading a pattern, I never really thought about why I'd use that stitch or set up in a certain way. It's been a good learning experience so far and the feedback has been helpful.

I have been stalking the pages of the Masters program for about a year. I get ready to sign up and then a big work project or some other excuse shows up. I think, "I'll do it after I'll finish that sweater." Then I find myself lurking again. I have been hesitating to give myself "knitting homework" and make my relaxing time another to-do. 

But, as I begin to take on teaching others, I feel the need to be more of an expert. I also want to take some of the designs from my head and into reality. Sure, I could sit down with books, magazines and my friend who makes knitting videos, but I'm a classroom learner. I won't go to the gym to workout on my own, but I'm a regular (some might say obsessive) at the group classes. I need structure and external deadlines. I just do.

Not only have I learned about stitches, it has been an exercise in learning to be a process knitter instead of a project knitter. Staci and I talk about this a lot. Project knitters want that thing - the end result and try to get there quickly, sometimes skipping over mistakes just to get something done. Process knitters don't blink at ripping out. As long as they are sitting and knitting, it doesn't matter how long it takes. I've been a project knitter for a while, but I'm getting to be more of a process knitter. (This top really helped me get through some of that - from my old blog.) 

Lesson 1 came back with good feedback. She didn't tell me I was a terrible knitter (okay, maybe that's another hesitation in the back of my head). On to lesson 2...

Stay tuned for more updates on my progress and journey to be a Master! 

 

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