Saturday, November 21, 2015

Things I Wish I Had More Time to Do

I need a staycation. The list of things I wish I had more time to do is getting out of hand.

Read the 4 books I have by the bed:

Crank out the designs in progress:
  • That cuff-down thing I blogged about previously
  • Instructions for the heel of that sock
  • The amazing glove pattern
  • The glove class based on that pattern

Make things
  • Finish the top-down henley (and while I'm at it, maybe the vest that's been inches from completion for 3 years)
  • Knit the gloves I started for Andrea and the fingerless gloves Robin wants
  • Make limoncello. My plan was to have this ready for Giftmas; not going to happen.
  • Knit this toy rabbit and these slippers.
  • The felted mistletoe slippers that Mike fell in love with

Clean stuff
  • The bathroom needs rigorous cleaning of all surfaces
  • The basement is a disaster

  • Catch up on the DVR, Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime queues
  • Take care of Giftmas in general (decorating, shopping)
  • Get some one-on-one social time with my sister 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Cuff Down Detours

I've been struggling off and on all year with a new sock design. The idea first came to me on Christmas: I noticed a picture frame that had a common decorative element I've always liked, and it occurred to me that if I cocked it slightly on the diagonal, I could easily render it in the traveling slipped stitch pattern that I favor in sock designs.

For months I charted and swatched, trying different variations of the idea. All of them were slightly "off," and for a while I thought the design wouldn't work on a sock. It was too big, traveled too quickly in its diagonal spiral to fit around a foot--I was dismayed to realize that it would probably work better on a hat.

Sneak peak
I persevered, and in late June, I saw a way forward, and pretty quickly knit up a really attractive sock, one of the best I've designed. My process is to knit one sock, making notes as I go, then start writing the pattern, making the second sock from these newly drafted instructions. This prototype pair often doesn't completely match, because I make design adjustments and improvements which make the second sock slightly "better."

And it was working. As much as I liked the first sock, the second was fantastic--until I got near the ankle. The changes I'd made to improve the design on the foot caused a problem when it got to the ankle. I couldn't solve it, and in frustration, I set the sock aside.

This morning the answer came to me: it's not a toe-up design. This sock will be so much easier to knit if constructed cuff-down.

I should have realized this earlier. In fact, I kind of did, but I was disappointed, and wanted to push through. It's possible to make this design toe up, and I can pretty easily do it myself, adjusting on the fly to make the design work on any sized foot. But that kind of improvisation doesn't fit in a written pattern. So cuff-down it is.

Back to the drawing board, which has accumulated quite a layer of dust while this design was in time out.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A New Start with Gloves

Two years ago, the father of this gorgeous yarn (go buy some!) declared that he dislikes making socks and prefers gloves. I've made gloves before, but never felt the joy. Still, Caerthan is cool, and my dork reflexes advise me to like the things the cool kids do, so I threw myself into it.

The result was the Evil Genius Glove Recipe, a fingers-down method of making gloves. It served me for awhile, and I enjoyed the process of learning about gloves--different gussets, thoughts about fit and negative ease, ways to manage the fourchettes and inevitable holes--but my joy faded pretty quickly.

What I really wanted was a game-changing trick for gloves, something that took away the annoyance and made it fun. (I once mused on Facebook about how cool it would be if a brilliant innovator like Cat Bordhi would turn her attention to gloves.)

I think I've finally found that trick. It seems to originate with Cathy Scott, who figured out that the "peasant thumb" technique of using waste yarn to create a thumb opening could be used with a gusseted thumb and even with finger connections: no casting off and casting back on. She explained the thumb technique on her blog, but it was her IPOD Gloves pattern that blew my mind. In the past month, I've made 4 pairs of gloves, and each finger teaches me something new about how this trick works.

I hope to put out my own glove pattern--a new recipe--using this technique next year. Before then, I have a lot of testing to do to perfect the fit and instructions. I'm not making any promises, but it's possible that this journey might give me something to write about on this long-dormant blog.