Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Knitsonik: Charts

After choosing inspiration and taking my best guess on a palette, the next step in the Knitsonik process is to start charting.

Let's get a little bit real: I have many wonderful talents and qualities. However, I do not excel in visual learning. The idea of creating charts from scratch makes me feel sad and defeated.

Sad and defeated is not in the spirit of creativity and joy that Felicity Ford is trying to give me by helping me play with my knitting.

Preach on, Brother Voltaire. Preach on.

So, I searched the Internet and took motifs that I loved and put them in Excel. (I found it challenging because, again, not terribly visual.)

This I'll do in at least one shade of brown, to symbolize the path.

These feel like the pink flowers in the background (not the echinaceas--the smaller ones).

The white area I'll do in the light mist color.

These are for the purple, star-shaped campanula.

For some of the motifs, I see exactly how they connect to the photo (top picture here). For some, I don't. I don't have a great echinacea motif, for example, and I've decided that's fine. These charts make me happy. They feel like flowers to me. That's enough.

The next step is to resize them so they're all a factor of 64. Sadly, and I feel I should have prepared you better for this revelation, I lost a Dither mitten. It's upsetting but not a tragedy. 

It has made beginning this stranded knitting project more time sensitive. There's snow on the ground and I'm wearing store bought mittens.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


It's cold. And gray. I'm wearing my Farmer's Market Cardigan and Pelagia noctiluca socks, but they aren't enough to keep me from wanting to be in my pajamas in my bed with chocolate chip cookies.

It is February. And I have hit the point where it's just "head down, keep walking" and believe that someday it will be sunny again. I'm not yet to the point where I believe that peonies are just a figment of my imagination, but I'm close.

I've begun writing down quotes in a little book I keep in my purse. Today I wrote this, which came from the little tear-off calendar I keep on my desk at work:

Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words.
Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviors.
Keep your behaviors positive because your behaviors become your habits.
Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values.
Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny. 
 -Mahatma Gandhi 
It's an ambitious goal for February, but I'll try.

Stripy grays in my normal 3x1 ribbed pattern (mine ravelled here),
knit in the very sensible Patons Kroy Socks Ragg Shades in Blue Striped Ragg

This helps.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Knitsonik: Palette

The first step in the Knitsonik experiment is to choose an inspiration. Mine is this photo:

The next is to pick the palette. Choosing colors was trickier than picking the inspiration photo, but it was pretty fun. I happily spent a lunch hour comparing colors, cutting out possible shades and putting them together. I ended up with 12 colors. I'm not sure if that's too little/too much/just right in the Knitsonik world, but I suspect there is no wrong answer. Just right it is!
Click to enlarge.

First column: Mist, Blush, Fuchsia, Alfalfa, Grass, Safflower
Second column: Almond, Thicket, Sky, French Lavender, Urchin*, and Hyacinth
All yarn is Knitpicks Palette.

You're supposed to start with a Basic Palette, matching colors as closely as possible to the colors in the inspiration photo. Then you add Question Colors, which is a way to expand the palette and focus on the more nebulous aspects of the photo (texture, light). I think it's also an important way to expand the colors I'm using so it's not quite so literal.

In an ideal world, I would be comparing these colors using a swatch card. Here's the truth: I'd rather spend $15 on yarn than on a swatch card. Therefore, I choose to do my best based on images I see online, recognizing that this may bite me on the ass.  Risk acknowledged and accepted.

The part of the process of choosing colors that is most difficult for me is determining the contrast between the colors. If the colors are too similar in terms of warmth/coolness, they won't stand out well. If you'd like to see a striking example of this happening, I direct you to my teal/purple Fightin' Words Mitts. Unless I'm in bright light, these two colors don't show the pattern well. (See the bottom picture here to see--well, not see it best.) The two colors are too close tonally, I think.**

I honestly have no idea if I have enough contrast here. I also don't know how to figure that out, so I'm going to hope for the best. I like the colors themselves, so if any do not work for this project it can become something else somewhere down the line.

A friend gave me a Knitpicks gift card for my birthday. Purchasing the yarn for this project feels like a perfect use of it. Onward, ho!

*At the last moment, I took Urchin out of my cart and put in Chicory. It is my nature to overthink things. I'm fighting it, but... baby steps.

**I know very little about which I speak.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Knitsonik: Inspiration

There are two main projects residing in my brain that come up when I think about slowing down and really taking time to delve into the process of making something. One is to do the measurements and reading to figure out what sort of sweaters flatter my body type (using Amy Herzog's two books). The second is designing a stranded knitting project based on a photo/object that I love using the guidance of Felicity Ford's Knitsonik book.

The sweater feels like something I should do, and the stranded colorwork feels like something I want to do. Colorwork it is!

I'm determined to slow down and work through the process. First up: Find inspiration.

It seems like the logical place to go is my own pinterest page. I chose three images:

Dahlia 'Princesse Gracia'

 Perennial flower border 

My very favorite book

The dahlia is beautiful, but probably not right for this type of project. I'd need more elements--leaves, stems, etc. 

Both the second and third photos would work, I think, and both would be fun. The flower border has more obvious elements to work with, more colors, more shapes. I love the colors in the photo, so many blues, purples, greens, and pinks.... delightful. My guess is that I'll make mittens, and looking at mittens inspired by a beautiful flower garden will brighten a dreary winter day.

I'm excited! Next step: Picking colors.

Monday, February 1, 2016

One Step Closer

I'm waiting for more yarn to arrive so I can finished sleeve #2 on the test knit sweater, which means I have no need to feel guilty that I'm not knitting.

In celebration, I finished a pillowcase I'd been embroidering.

I realized this year that I needed*  a pillowcase embroidered with Christmas ornaments as well as a pair of great striped Christmas socks. I have yet to find the right colored yarn, but I'm confident I will.

This pillowcase is actually for a friend. I plan to make myself an identical one.

As I wait for my yarn, and once that sleeve is finished, I can put my focus on my new year's intention of not knitting so much, of giving myself space to rest and let ideas percolate rather than focusing on Getting Things Done.

And I realize I have no idea how to do that.

*I need them in the same way that I need dark chocolate.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Stay Centered

I'm doing a test knit, and I'm at that peculiar place where I am positive I will never, ever finish and equally positive that I'm nearly there.

It doesn't help that this keeps happening:

That one was from last night. I zoned out of the sleeve, knitting happily until I realized that I'd increased enough stitches that I should have added a pattern repeat to each side.

Over twenty rows prior.

This was nothing compared to when I misread the instructions and knit the back from the hem to the armholes in the wrong size. Once the horror had mostly passed, I calculated how many stitches I ripped out: 10,110. A tiny piece of my heart crumbled to ash.

"Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate."
-Chuang Tzu

I'm trying to stay centered, but I'm only marginally successful.

Yesterday after work I bought this:

Someday soon... maybe.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Clematis Cardigan

I was looking through The Knitter issue 92 yesterday when I came across the Clematis Cardigan.

I thought, "That looks a lot like the latest test knit I did for Juniper Moon Farm."

I read a bit further then yelled, "I KNIT A CARDIGAN IN A MAGAZINE."

Clematis Cardigan (mine ravelled here),
knit in Juniper Moon Farm's Herriot Fine

I cannot express how excited I am by this. I really like The Knitter and feel like its target audience is a more experienced knitter, and the fact that something I knit is in there makes me feel like a badass. I can't imagine how the designer (Pamela Wynne) must feel.