Sunday, September 14, 2014

Rosebud: My "Spark" & My Design Proposal

My latest magazine pattern, Rosebud Hat, (which appears in Interweave Gifts, 2014) (and which was just talked about on the Knitting Daily blog this week) has what I would call a "blended spark" for its origin.  I combined elements of contemporary textile design with my favorite traditional stranded colorwork.

Though it might seem a stretch at first, it really started last September when I read this post by the well-known knitwear designer, Ysolda Teague.  Ysolda modeled an outfit: skirt, tank and cardigan, that she made entirely by herself.  I used to sew a great deal, and I was very intrigued by the completely hand-stitched tank that she made using the book, Alabama Studio Sewing + Design: A Guide to Hand-Sewing an Alabama Chanin Wardrobe.

Thus began my own love of all things Alabama Chanin.  Of course I bought the book.  (My mother taught me to love books long before she taught me to love yarn and knitting.)

In my sewing and needlecraft lifetime, I have already tried many, if not all, of the gorgeous fabric enhancement techniques: stenciling, embroidery, applique, quilting, reverse applique and bead and sequin embellishments.  I find some of the pieces to be breathtakingly beautiful, as you can see from those that I have pinned (just pinned a couple more right now / can't help myself) on my "Stitchery" board at Pinterest.

Do I have the time to make handsewn garments for myself?  Of course not.  But I thought a lot about how to capture the "all-over" designs in knitting.  Most of the "fabric maps" are too large in scale for any of the accessory pieces that seem to be becoming my design niche.

Fabric Map: Kristina's Rose

But I truly like the repetition-with-variation that I favor in all design and art.  Do you see how the rose motif is copied in three different sizes and rotated in all directions?  And I was inspired by the colors -- there are many shades of gray in the A.C. palette along with deep, moody, and sometimes, vibrant hues.  I purchase some new yarn from my LYS, Baa Ram Ewe's Titus, in "aire" (blue) and "coal" (dark gray).  At first, I thought that I might make a bucket shaped hat like those appearing on the book's cover, with a facing on the brim.

As my design evolved it did become a more wearable classic hat shape, but it does have a deeply faced hem that (according to the magazine copy) "gives it a a polished finish and provides an extra layer of warmth".

About the rosebuds:  These are actually quite traditional in Fair Isle knitting.  I charted a single rosebud motif and then I "changed the direction" by mirroring it, for what would be the row above.  I made five different charts (really, I just checked) where I played around to get the spacing that I liked best.  Later, it took a couple more charts to perfect the row of smaller rosebuds in the decreasing section at the top of the hat.

This post is getting longish (and I always think that if I get too long, I will be boring you) but I am proud to share what I did when creating my design proposal which I sent to the editors at Interweave last October.

First (after all the charting) came the swatch made with the above mentioned Titus yarn.

This swatch was sent to the editors in Colorado.  It is 4" wide and 8" tall. It is what I would call a hat "section".  I did have to knit it back and forth, and not in the round, but that is not too difficult for me.  It shows a two-repeat wide section of the hat with the "knitted-in" hem and the hat shaping with the reduced size rosebuds.

Then for my "design sketch" I got very crafty.

I sketched the head on a 9 x 11 piece of drawing paper.  I scanned the swatch as it appears in the photo above.  Then I calculated a scale factor to use in my copier to make a reduced size "hat section" that would fit on the drawing. I printed 4 of these hat sections and trimmed and pasted them in place on the drawing.  I really think that was clever.  (And I always love to get crafty!)

Thanks for reading!  Knit Happy!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Fall Flowers & Fall Knitting

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you would know that I am not a fan of winter to the extent that I also have mixed feelings about fall.  (In all honesty, I will admit that early fall can be quite lovely.)

My flowers are not looking like themselves these days.

OK.  I confess that since I came back from my beach vacation in mid-August, I have not been out to water them as often as I should.

I took this upward-looking shot of some blossoms on my "Snowball Bush" on the same day that I shot that first photo.  (In early fall, I do try to "look on the bright side".)

Fall is a favorite time for many, if not, most, knitters.  I have notice a small uptick in my online pattern sales at Ravelry.  There are only three patterns for sale there, but if all goes well, that number will be doubling very soon.

My yet to be released designs are still in my cupboard, but I am done with them now.  I have finished selecting what I think are my best photos.  I even think that I now have a finished "cover" image.

Edited to add:  I just set up my ebook page.

 Stay tuned for more to come..

Friday, August 29, 2014

Introducing: ROSEBUD

"A deep, faced hem brings a polished finish and extra warmth to the Rosebud Hat."

It certainly is about time that I introduce my latest design... Rosebud... one of 34 designs in Interweave knits, Gifts 2014.

"The 2014 holiday issue offers the usual collection of delightful quick knits and artful accessories. His and hers hat variations, a children’s tea party, holiday decor, and loads of accessories—shawls, socks, hats, mitts, cowls, and more—fill out the patterns, while technique articles focus on unusual colorwork methods. Get in the giving mood with these 34 exciting projects."

This magazine is available digitally at the link above.  The official release date is September 2, when it will be on newsstands everywhere.

I was delighted to receive my complimentary copy in the mail on Wednesday.

Though I have yet to make it onto the cover of anything... I am happy to have my project on one of the two contents pages.

 And then there is that spread on pages 65-66.

I was tickled pink that Interweave chose to photograph the inside of the hat.

This project is basically a "stranded colorwork" project.  The reverse side is partially cover by the hem facing, but you can see all the little "floats" where the yarn that is not being used is carried along behind the work.

For basic instructions on stranded colorwork, please check out my very popular post from last year, "Two-Handed Stranded Colorwork Tutorial".  One thing that I did not think to include at the time that I wrote the tutorial was a photo of the reverse side.  From time to time, I have thought, "that might have been helpful," and now you can see it in print!

I hope that if you purchase the magazine, you enjoy making many of the projects.  If you have a moment, please see Rosebud Hat on Ravelry and while there, favorite it just for me ♥♥♥♥♥♥  Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Randomly I Write (About Saturday)

  1. Mr K and I went to a beautiful and extremely enjoyable wedding on Saturday evening.
  2. The bride and groom, our friends, are just a bit younger than us but older than most wedding couples.
  3. We had to get up very early on Saturday to make it to the wedding.
  4. The wedding was not far from our home, but we were vacationing last week in North Wildwood, New Jersey.
  5. Most east coast weekly rentals are from Saturday to Saturday.
  6. If you leave an Atlantic shore point at any time from mid to late morning on a Saturday, you can expect a very -s-l-o-w- ride.
  7. We left much earlier.  
  8. Part way home (actually at a mid to late morning time) we stopped to "check in" on our children.
  9. One of our children was moving into a new place on Saturday.  (We could not help, because "We had a wedding to go to".  But all was well... help was on the way.  BTW:  The new place is pretty cool.)  We had a late morning outdoor brunch with our other child (who lives not very far away in another pretty cool place.)
  10. How did these (once very tiny and totally dependent baby) children get to be such accomplished and fun to visit young adults?  
  11. We rested at home for a bit before I began to put my outfit together.
  12. My latest FO is "The Color of Flowers".
  13. I finished (seaming) it the day before we left NJ (Friday).
  14. I wore it to the wedding.

Project Name: The Color of Flowers
Pattern: Vine Street Tee by Amy Herzog
Yarn: The Fibre Company Canopy Fingering
Color Name: "Guava" 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Midweek Meditation - Warhol style

"I'm afraid that if you look at a thing long enough, it loses all of its meaning."     ~ Andy Warhol

I took this photo at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in August of 2007.

As a (very young) child of the 60's, I have long wanted to quote Mr Warhol in a blog post.  But each and every time I googled and then read "andy warhol quotes" nothing really worked for me.

"Isn't life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?"

Late this evening, truly by accident, I learned that today is Andy Warhol's 86th birthday.  He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on August 6, 1928.  Sadly, he died at the age of 58 in 1987.

Though I did, some time ago, rightly decide that quoting Mr W might not work effortlessly for my blog, this photo could help to explain my post tonight.

A painting my son made at school when he was in third grade hangs above my desk.  I do love it!  I took this photo just minutes ago.  Not very far away is a similar painting made by my daughter (Ref: Georgia O'Keefe).  Love that, too!  I will share it on another day.

Some final words from Mr W...

"Sometimes you're invited to a big ball and for months you think about how glamorous and exciting it's going to be. Then you fly to Europe and you go to the ball and when you think back on it a couple of months later what you remember is maybe the car ride to the ball, you can't remember the ball at all. Sometimes the little times you don't think are anything while they're happening turn out to be what marks a whole period of your life. I should have been dreaming for months about the car ride to the ball and getting dressed for the car ride, and buying my ticket to Europe so I could take the car ride. Then, who knows, maybe I could have remembered the ball."

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Something's Coming...

Something Good (is still in my cupboard)...

I will be spending a lot of time this weekend completing all of the remaining finishing touches on one (or two, or maybe all three) of my first indie designer knitting patterns in quite some time.  These have been in the works for just over a year now.  (God bless my test knitters for their patience!)

I have been lucky enough to have had a small handful of designs accepted for publication in magazines.  A couple of times I have won design contests.  And then there were even some designs picked up by yarn sellers.

Every one of those designs felt like a win (because there was a submissions call with some competition, and I did get selected).  And, every one of those designs was really so much easier to see through than these indie designs.

You see, all of those knitting pattern design "wins" were tech-edited, styled, modeled, photographed and formatted by others who were true professionals.  I just had to design and then knit (with free yarn).

With my indie design patterns...  It does take so much longer... I do not have to do it all, but I do have to actually hire and coordinate others...

Two different tech editors, one model/stylist, four test knitters (God bless you for your patience!) and one very special photography assistant... 

After all of that...

I am the designer, and I must still work on the final formatting.

My father's mother informed me when I was very young that I am a perfectionist...  Grandma S was right...  It always takes me a lot of time and effort to struggle to be not-quite-perfect, but as close as I can get.

This is finally about to happen.  I must get back to work.

Thanks for reading! 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Color of Flowers

“I must have flowers, always, and always.”  ~ Claude Monet

I do love color.  My latest project has me wondering why I do not knit with this kind of color more often.

Just holding this knitting in my hands, makes me feel happy.  This is something I must remember once winter returns.

Project Name: The Color of Flowers
Pattern: Vine Street Tee by Amy Herzog
Yarn: The Fibre Company Canopy Fingering
Color Name: "Guava"

"I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers." 
~ Claude Monet

Monday, June 30, 2014

Latest FO: On Me & On My Camera

My linen vest is now a FO.

These photos were shot by Mr K on Saturday, and edited (cropped) by me on Sunday.

I have a new camera that has a lot more options than my old little Cannon PowerShot SD600 with 6.0 megapixels.  My new camera is a Fujifilm X10 with 12.0 megapixels.  I will be learning more about all of its features as I go, but it does power on with a amazingly sharp 'auto' mode.  Doubling the number of pixels not only makes an incredible difference in the clarity of the images, but also allows for a major kind of cropping, which, in this case, made me feel like a professional photo editor.  (No, these are not perfect; but really, they were pretty effortless, and are already better than what my old camera would take.)

Anyway, back to the vest... I did work hard to finish this early enough in the season to be able to wear it often this summer.  My modifications were minor, mostly affecting the length, and are described on my Ravelry project page.  I went with the color 'ash', as was used by the designer, because it will go with every color that I normally wear.  The vest could be dressed up, but more often I will wear it dressed down and combined with other casual everyday clothing.  After I finished a last bit of steam pressing on Saturday morning, I put it on with what I was wearing for the day.  Unexpectedly, Mr K became an available photographer when an appointment of his was postponed by a half an hour.

And would you believe that I wore the vest all the day long?  I really do like it.  Must be because it is linen.