September 4, 2011

domiKNITrix catches you up

?WTF happened here, you may wonder.

My U-lock cozy prevents the bike frame from being scratched.
My U-lock cozy prevents the bike frame from being scratched.

Depends how far back you want to go, really, but let me get a little more honest than I usually do. You deserve that. In fact I'm going to make it a point to be more honest here all the time.

You may recall that I published a book in November 2006, thinking my life would be transformed and that my knitting career would carry me to new heights of fame and fortune.

The reality was less thrilling, of course. I was left with a repetitive strain injury that hurt when I knit, or typed, and my knitting passion was now a product. My craft had become a puzzle of math and sizing that had little to do with the joy of watching a piece evolve on the needles. I found it hard to cast on anything new without making notes and writing down steps; I was reluctant to give away words for free on the blog, but I certainly wasn't ready to pen another book. Simple fact: I just wasn't having fun anymore.

Meanwhile, my employer who allowed me such liberties to write that book had waited so kindly for me to rededicate myself. So I did that while I rehabilitated the injury with Active Release Therapy and rigorous Pilates. To keep the injury from flaring up, now my goal is to waste no stitches, a fundamental shift in my approach.

Then the economy tanked and I lost that job. Five months later (and about a year ago) I found a new one, but it requires long hours and an intensity that the old one never needed. I have less free and time and less energy to enjoy it, and I began to neglect the blog. The ship felt abandoned, didn't it? You know, though, I never stopped knitting. I just stopped telling you about it. I'd like to get back into that habit.

December 8, 2010

Icame across a darling shop with YARN in the Mission district of my fair City last weekend! It's called Princess Animal.

Kathy, the Regent there, offers a really nice selection of knitting books, and I picked up the Ohio Knitting Mills Knitting book, which is a cool story of a serendipitous find! The author discovered the archives of hundreds (thousands?) of vintage sweaters while searching for something else, bought the whole lot up, and sold it in a Brooklyn boutique. A selection of OKM designs have been updated and written into patterns for you to knit. What a lovely gift for the vintage knitter in your life.

Be sure to check out Princess Animal next time you are on Valencia Street. There is a charming collection of witty gift items there that would appeal to anyone! Except maybe squares. Shop elsewhere for your dull firends and buy these clever gifts for your own bad self!

July 13, 2010

Are knitting patterns like sausages? Or would you actually like to know more about how they are made?

Wrapping up the pattern for the Ship Shape Jacket
Wrapping up the pattern for the Ship Shape Jacket

When I am tech editing a sweater pattern, I often feel like I'm lost in the Matrix, with a slow cascade of digits dripping down the pages. Each little error I find has to then be combed through, row by row, to be sure that everything that comes after it takes that major (or minor) correction into account. Because you don't just add that stitch once, but rather, to every row that follows it. If you look closely at the pages in the photo here (click to enlarge), you'll see a little grid of numbers pencilled in. That's me checking my work. I mentally knit each row while I jot down the impact it has on stitch and row count.

And then there's the sizing. In the olden days, a designer wrote her patterns in just one size and left it up to the knitter to modify to fit herself. Not so fun for the knitter, but what a cake walk for the designer! Most knitters haven't considered what it takes to make one pattern into multiple sizes. If you do think on it for long, it just might drive you mad. Though you might like to think that we knit a sample in every size, we just can't; yarn costs money, and knitting takes time, lots of it. We must extrapolate, and we must have a clear understanding of pattern drafting and the relative measurements of each size in mind. Those check figures you see above are the closest I can get to knitting that jacket 7 times, without wrecking my wrists, elbows, shoulders and back.

We must think not only of bust, waist, and hip measurements, but of armhole depth, and shoulder width, etc. The Craft Yarn Council's guide doesn't cover every imaginable bit we might wish to measure. The underarm depth and upper arm girth are areas where it would be very helpful to have more accurate data. If we get this bit wrong, your sweater's not going to fit well in the shoulder, maybe you won't be able to raise your arms; no one wants that! So if you wonder why it takes so darned long, there's one reason: establishing reasonable fit and sizing. Perfecting things the second time around, that's another habit of mine that adds time to the process. See in that photo there, how the piece on top is curved like a spoon? That's the collar, and it's supposed to lay FLAT. Well, lookie at the one underneath it, that's my success! The simple result of about a dozen extra stitches placed just so. Almost there, swearsies!

May 27, 2010

Iis for Intarsia! I've uploaded a fresh series of demos on knitting intarsia from charts, using the Bruce Lee chart as my sample.

This will come in handy if you want to tackle my new Vrroom pullover, which has intarsia color blocks running up the sleeves.

Here's the first one. Find the whole series on YouTube.

May 10, 2010

Vrroom, vrroom! This men's pullover pattern is ready for you to knit!

Detail of the Vrroom pullover shoulder
Detail of the Vrroom pullover shoulder

Check out that snazzy shoulder. These intarsia color blocks grow one row longer with each repeat, which keeps it interesting, both to knit, and to wear.

Ship Shape jacket pattern (scroll down) is on deck for completion this week (barring any job offers, of course). I'm just checking for errors, formatting, adding photos and measurements in cm, you know, the important stuff!

April 29, 2010

I have *finally* wrapped up the Vrroom Pullover pattern (for men). Adding 'slim fit' to the pattern has taken some time, but very worthwhile. My Ship Shape jacket is up next. It's close to done in seven sizes, to fit bust: 28.5 (33.25, 36.5, 40.5, 44.5, 48, 53.25) inches.

You might recall I've been YouTubing. Here's my latest: Cabling without a Cable Needle. Let me know what techniques you'd like to see on video!


April 15, 2010

Agreed!Vrroom is a better name for this sweater than Doppler. I got the Doppler idea from an episode of "the Big Bang Theory" where Sheldon dressed up for Halloween as the Doppler effect. Geeky indeed.

It's official! This pullover will now be named Vrroom! I used to call it Doppler.
It's official! This pullover will now be named Vrroom! I used to call it Doppler.

Nothing geeky about Jasper in this Vrroom pullover! While re-working Ethan's, I discovered that a leaner sleeve was much more attractive! So I'm revising the pattern to include both traditional and slim fit in sizes Small to XL. Jasper is shown wearing traditional fit.

While we're You-Tubing, please check out these new videos I've uploaded showing expert finishing techniques. I'll be adding more of these next week, so please subscribe if you want to view them right away.

March 24, 2010

Well, I had set some hilariously unrealistic goals for February. And you are either the forgiving type, or you're just not reading anymore, since you didn't e-mail me to call out my failure to post progress. I did indeed finish up the Doppler sleeves and finally got them slim fitting (see evidence below), but I'm still futzing with the collar and hem ribbing. I am, perhaps more importantly, thinking of renaming the sweater as Vrroom! What do you think? It's certainly less geeky than Doppler.

I'm thinking of renaming this sweater as Vrroom! What do you think? I used to call it Doppler.
I'm thinking of renaming this sweater as Vrroom! What do you think? I used to call it Doppler.

It's a funny thing about trying to complete UFO's, as much as you want to wear the finished object, something shinier (as in, more fun to knit) always calls out for your attention, no? So although two projects were 95% done, I just couldn't motivate myself to complete that last 5%! Because of course, they are UFO's for a reason: it had gotten complicated and I couldn't decide what to do next.

And then a funny thing happened. I lost my job. So I now have all the time in the world, and a stash to carry me through all adversities. What's that? Keep Calm and Carry Yarn!

February 1, 2010

Getting goal oriented, I am personally declaring February to be DomiKNITrix WIP to FO month! Resolutionistas might declare me late to the party, but in my defense, January was packed with two major telecom systems installations, so I wrote off the whole month and feel like 2010 just got started!

Doppler pullover - I'm reknitting the sleeves on this, the protoype, which had a funky bulge in the sleeves.
Doppler pullover - I'm reknitting the sleeves on this, the protoype, which had a funky bulge in the sleeves.

I counted up SIX knitting projects currently on my needles with the potential to be completed this month. These are fun, exciting projects that I am dying to wear! Not a hat or scarf in the bunch: two women's tops, two women's sweaters, and a dress. (Edited to add: I did not finish a single project the month I wrote this.)

What might excite you even more is that there are TWO PATTERNS even closer to being complete than any of the sweaters. I refer, of course, to the Doppler at right, and the Ship Shape jacket, in multiple sizes.

So I am declaring my knitting goals for February, here for all to see: TWO patterns and at least TWO FO's. One good thing about having so many concurrent projects is that my fickle mood allows me to flit from one to another happily whenever one bores me. I reserve the heavy project for at home on the couch, and the light ones for public transit knitting. Let's just see how much I can accomplish in four short weeks.

Check out my new Cloche Hat, free knitting pattern!