Wednesday, January 31, 2018

More dyeing, Testing, Instruction-Writing

I spent yesterday over-dyeing the not-very-black black for the sweater. I still didn't manage to cover the red, which is frustrating. I like the blue, and I think I'll use both as is. That said, I'm not winding it up today. I'm going to focus on the pattern-writing, as I have to work out some details before I knit the prototype.

I've spent the morning working out some of the instructions for the hooded infinity scarf I have been knitting, and it's more complicated than I had realized. Of course I didn't plan to make it a pattern when I knit it up; I just wanted to make some improvements on the last hoodie, but didn't make notes. How silly; I always need this information, so why would I think I didn't? At least I have the hood still, and it's still on the needles. I made a diagram, and I can figure it out enough. If necessary, as I've learned from making a video on how to do the increases on the last hoodie I designed, I can always recreate it without knitting the entire hood -- just the part I'm concerned about.

I was all set on re-starting the swatch for the shawl for my sister, and skeined-up all of the yarn to dye it. And then I decided to delve a little deeper into the components of a shawl I thought I couldn't do, and have decided to try it out. It combines lace and garter stitch, and I'm going to test it in a solid and variegated -- solid for the lace and variegated for the garter. The solid will be similar to one of the colors in the variegated, so they will be nice together. I've been wanting to use this lace pattern for a while, and doing the swatch will help me see how it looks and if I like doing this lace pattern.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Testing Dyes, New Designs

I test-dyed the colors I want to use for the sweater, using the color-breaking as a source of my two colors. But my black yarn didn't come out black enough. I may know why, but I was feeling a bit disappointed, and stopped working on it. I have some ideas on how to make the black work. I also overdyed the  black dip-dye shibori- style. I love the way the skein looked, but I thought I'd blown it, because I didn't think there was much variation, and it seemed very dark. But today I have been knitting up a hooded infinity cowl (yeah, I'm hooked on them now), and I the colors look very tweedy. Also, since I won't have enough of the shibori-dyed skein, I'm striping it with the icy blue, and it looks amazing. It's a single row each of garter stitch, and so the colors are blending in a really beautiful way. When I run out of either, I will stripe it with the not-black I produced.

Dip-Dyed Broken Black Blue from Broken Black,
Black,
Shibori-Dyed Broken Black
Hooded Cowl using all three yarns
I have some thoughts on how to make the black work, and will try again, with smaller bits of yarn. Today, in fact, is the big yarn day, when I dye up the sweater-quantity. I'm slightly intimidated. This weekend, I also offered my sister a shawl, so I've been texting her questions like "what colors?" and "symmetrical or asymmetrical?" I pored over my shawl designs and other ideas, and sketched out something last night, and also designed the yarn for it. She wants blue-greens, with some saturation, and either asymmetrical or symmetrical. I think I'm going for a dropped-stitch piece that's asymmetrical -- something I can turn into a pattern.

I'm not finished test-dyeing it yet, so I'll show the stages tomorrow. as well as the mini-prototype.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Swatching and Mending

I didn't feel super productive yesterday, though I accomplished a few things.

First, I had some corrections to make on the hooded cowl pattern, per one of my testers. Now the instructions should be perfectly accurate -- my favorite thing. I also added photos to the pattern, so except for the video tutorial, it is probably ready to go. I'm looking for more testers, and need to make more of an effort. It's unfortunately not an easy knit, at the very beginning.

Later, I swatched my new yarns so I could see how they look knit up. I was particularly curious about the one I tied up shibori-style. I am particularly excited about the shibori version, as this technique added a lot of color depth and variety I'd not been able to achieve otherwise. I love the way the yarn looks, and would love to do this with fabric, but for now I'm working with yarn. I see using this technique to overdye other yarn to make it similar enough to work together into a shawl of leftover yarns. Having lots of leftovers in small quantities makes me a little anxious, so finding a way to dye them so that they can be used together makes me really happy.


Red-Black Shibori Double-Dipped Red Green-BlackDipped


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Sweater Details Coming Together

I had a productive day, massaging the measurements in the pattern, adding interim sizes, and generally making some nice adjustments that make sense. At the end of the day (maybe too late in the day for a good night's sleep), I dyed four mini skeins. One was the avocado green I wanted to use with the black in the sweater. I also wanted to try breaking black, but to make it a warmer color, so I added a bunch of yellow.

Stranding with dip-dyed green-black
I dip-dyed this to see if it would break (it didn't), and I got a deep warm brown and a variety of greens. I also dip-dyed red, and on the pale-yellow yarn I got a very pretty range of corals. Then I dip-dyed red mixed with black (and kept adding black) to see if there would be any breaking. No. I got an orange-red. This skein will probably get the black-overdye treatment. n the other hand, the coral will probably get re-skeined and dip-dyed again in the same concentration, to add complexity and smaller color changes to the skein.
Stitch pattern swatch

This morning I had time between appointments, and I mocked up the cardigan from the first color through to the second, including the sleeves. I like it. The colors are exactly what I envisioned, but they aren't right for me. I will test an ice blue to go with the black, and put the blue on top and the black for the body of the sweater. I will test it using my broken black yarn from the other day.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Planned Color Pooling

I spent a few hours* fiddling with stitch numbers to try to get stacked pooling in the hat band. I thought it would then be easy to get the body of the hat to pool using a multiple of the hat band. But no. There are no slipped stitches in the body, and slipping probably adds a little slack between the stitches, so I got a galaxy effect. (I’m sure galaxy is the technical term...)

After so many attempts, I let it go on the body, and looked forward to whatever was going to happen on the top as I decreased. I’m not disappointed at all by the psychedelic pattern!

Yes, this started out to be a cowl, but I have quite enough cowls, and saw a pattern for a tam I liked, so I went that way instead.

As for the sweater, at some point (maybe during a walk or in the shower) I realized that I had measured the neckline and sleeve caps on sweaters I like, but I made the body to be skin-tight on me, and I want to have a bit of ease. So, back to the drawing board and Excel. I’ve made a couple of my last sweaters too tight, and while snug and tailored is dressier than baggy, I also don’t want to look as if I’ve outgrown them.

*I’m embarrassed to confess the number of hours.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Dyeing Thrills

Last night I experimented with my new Americolor Super Black, and I got a very different result from the McCormick black. This time, I added more vinegar to the dye bath when just the blue remained, which helped it adhere to the wool. Watching the progression of color uptake was fascinating, and I could see pulling the yarn out at any of the interim the stages. This dye broke a lot, and there are strands within the same sections that have more red, and some that have more blue. It is a very richly colored skein, and lovely.

I studied color theory as a design student about a million years ago, and haven't had much opportunity to make colors since then, only choose them. It's not individual colors I love so much as combinations. So, dip-dyeing colors is an unexpected thrill.

I did dye a small sample black, since I needed to see how and if that was possible. It did well, though I will be running through a lot of dye to make 400-500 yards of solid black. There is a hint of red overtone to this black.

I had to test dyes and I had to dye up and swatch my new O-Wool yarn. It turns out that washing it in the washing machine will open it up so that it will be more like a worsted-weight yarn. It measures out like a sport-weight right now. It has more sheen than other O-Wool worsteds, and it’s lovely.

I veered off course a bit by knitting up more than just a swatch. I’m knitting up another Fizzy Water Cowl, using a stitch count that pools the colors in a beautiful way. I had been playing with a two sided piece with the remaining yarn from the pair of socks I made, and the colors were stacking perfectly. (I simply doubled the number I used on my socks, which striped beautifully.) So, I did some calculations and attempted to do the same with the new colorway. Because of the stitch multiples in the fizzy water stitch pattern, I didn’t get it exact, but I did achieve this beautiful fade. Going down a needle size might have made this work, but I didn't test it out. I’m using one end of the skein for the main color, and the opposite end for the contrasting color.

I definitely want to keep playing with this dyeing technique, and keep playing with planned pooling ideas and stitch patterns that bring out the best in hand-dyed yarns.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Sweaters with Impact

As a person who walks most places and who used to bike everywhere, I think a lot about what parts of the body need the most warmth, and where it needs less. I do not tolerate cold very well. But that doesn't mean it is ever too cold to go out on a winter day. I have lots of knits for that, and I don't think "too cold" is a good excuse considering the pile of knitwear I have.

I know that the head leaks a lot of heat, and keeping the neck warm is very important. For a sweater, the parts that need to be warmest are the neck, yoke, and front. So, doing slipped-stitches, garter, and stranded work up top is a good idea, and closing a cardigan at least from the neck to the chest is a good idea. The rest can be lace as far as I'm concerned.

I've had this hot pink sweater for years, ever since a friend "trash-picked" it for me.* This was a Jones of New York hand-knit sweater in single-ply bulky-weight yarn. As it's not in merino wool, I couldn't wear it comfortably as it had a high turtleneck, and it was itchy. (The only wool I can wear is merino.) Since before I was a sweater-knitter I'd wanted to remake this sweater. I finally started about a month ago, and used my new construction style, with lace below the yoke and on the lower part of the sleeves. It fits very snugly, and is great on frigid days.

This sweater will become a pattern. Once I get this current one down, this will be easier.

* We were living in a university neighborhood, where students regularly put out bags of perfectly good clothing. My friend couldn't pass up a good piece of clothing.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

What's Special About This Sweater

Little Painted Sweater in new construction method
I haven't said why I am writing this sweater pattern, and why it's special and unique. So here goes: This pattern came about as a way to make sweaters fit me better, as I like a tailored fit. Knitting my own sweaters was revolutionary to me: I suddenly had a waist, and didn't look like a blob in sweaters. I've also developed a fascination with structure and construction techniques. The red sweater shown here is knit in this technique, and is very similar to the sweater I'm designing. It is in Painted Desert by Knitting Fever. A friend gave me a bunch of partial skeins, and I took that as a challenge. Aside from that, I used a slipped-stitch pattern that I changed at the sleeves, to accentuate (though very subtly) the shape of the sleeve. I think it's my response to something about circular yoke sweaters in which the patterns continue too far down the sleeves. Great on a very cold day, but not so dressy. (Don't get me wrong: I can't do stranded work without a struggle, so I absolutely appreciate the designs and craft of putting them together!) This has a much tailored look, which I have come to prefer.

I have knitted both raglan and circular yoke sweaters, and I like most aspects of both. With circular yoke sweaters, I wanted to eliminate extra fabric in the back, and so (if I remembered) I eliminated the increases in the middle of the back. With raglans, without doing any shaping in front, they are very square,which I don't like. I learned about raising the neckline at the back, which I've used on a couple of sweaters. I followed a pattern by Asa Tricosa, and learned to do a seamless set-in sleeve. From there I played with squaring off the circular yoke using short rows. I got some ideas on how to do this from the POP blanket, in which each knit circle is knit out to a square. I really like the look and fit of a set-in sleeve, and I like the curve of the circular yoke. So, why not combine them? The nice thing about top-down sweaters is that you can try them on to see how they fit, and how much more to knit before you move on to the next step. Of course this is easiest if you are making things for yourself. But you can also measure the length between shoulder caps on another person (or one of their garments) and measure the sweater as you make it, keeping in mind your before- and after-blocking stitch gauges.

Today I set up all my measurements and stitch counts for six sizes in an Excel table. Nothing makes me happier than using Excel, and fine-tuning all of my calculations in a nice neat table sort of makes my day -- and certainly made it a breeze. Plugging them back in to the sweater instructions will be easy. It was good to start out with the Word file, but massaging the numbers (making sure they calculate to odd or even numbers, etc.) is just kind of lovely and orderly. Aside from the concern about fit and increasing numbers in the right proportions, this is a piece of cake.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Sweater Pattern Moving Along

Early sketch before the ideas were worked out.
Yesterday I wrote up instructions for every part of the sweater and began figuring out stitch counts for most of it. I have four sweaters I’ve knit with this construction and each is a little different. The details are all different -- some of slipped stitches, one has lace, two others are constructed from short rows. (The short-row versions were not easy, and I don't think I'll be writing patterns for them.) The last is my favorite, and it serves well as a template since I used bulky yarn, which makes it easy to count the stitches. Today I need to refine some numbers as I found some that were clearly incorrect.

Of course I also "have to" dye the yarn so I can knit it up. I’ll do a little testing today and then if all goes well, dive in and dye up enough for the sweater and a hooded cowl to go with. (Hooded cowls are my favorite thing now.) This hooded cowl will be in the slipped garter stitch like the sweater, not in the fizzy water stitch. Also, I may want to try a new construction style, just for kicks. We'll see. That is far in the future. I sketch many designs, and only the ripest (most persistent) rise to the surface to be knit and patterned. Though I am trying to be more orderly about this nowadays.

A little update on the socks. I love the understated warmth of these colors. If I don’t love the black and olive colors I’m aiming for with the sweater colors, I may try for this rich brown. Of course part of the richness is in the variation in color. I could do brown and charcoal or brown and gray, as long as I get enough contrast. Either way, I plan to repeat this broken-black dip-dye. It seems unusual these days when most dyers are going for bold and bright.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Knitting up the Dip Dyed

I had a couple of long waits on Friday, so I did a swatch with my new dip-dyed yarn and then started in on the toe-up socks. I didn't have a tape measure on me, so I had to start over once I tried on the toes. But I love to see how different space-dyed yarns look when knit up in different numbers of stitches, and so doing it twice wasn't a huge bummer. Also, this is worsted, so it knits up fast!

The striping so far is incredibly regular. Of course I'd like to make this into a hat now so I can see some pooling. Maybe I'll keep the socks short so I can make a little hat or cowl with the remainder. This is a pretty tame colorway, but I really like it. It has a very yummy, earthy appeal. I re-watched ChemKnit's breaking-black video, and saw that adding more vinegar to the dye bath would have gotten the yarn to absorb the remaining blue. Also, I could have left the end undyed, added vinegar to the dye bath, and dunked that end in to the remaining blue dye, for more contrast and a more striking color combination: I'd have warm browns and blue at one end. Next time!

I am just about to get Americolor black and red dyes so I will get to see how they work. This time I will try them out on the O-Wool yarn, since it's yarn I can wear against my skin, and I do need to test it to see how the blacks will work.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Dip Dyeing

Ever since I saw Rebecca from ChemKnits “break” black food coloring, I really wanted to try it myself. A color “breaks” when the component colors are absorbed differently into the wool. What this looks look like with dip-dyed yarn is that the yarn least exposed to the dye has a different hue than the yarn that stays in the pot longer. The wicking action picks up the most reactive color first.

As I want the sweater to be in black and olive green, I wanted to do a little practice dyeing with black. I’ve only used black to overdye other colors, and didn’t know how it would go on undyed yarn. To be honest, I just wanted to dye something, and I was afraid to use my new stuff.

Dip-Dyeing
For fun I pulled out some basic wool a friend gave me a ton of and did a dip-dye gradient. The dye in the pot looked blue, yet the lightest section is a pale mauve, most of the yarn is a toffee color, and the part I left in the dye bath the longest is pretty close to black.

The original pale yellow of the undyed yarn certainly influences the hue. (When I was squeezing the water out of the pre-soaked wool, it smelled strongly of mothballs. I don't know if this is the treatment from the manufacturer or the person who stored it for decades in her house before generously giving it to me.)

This dye took forever to grab on. I probably spent two hours holding and dipping. I finally just let the dark end sit in the pot with the remainder of the skein sitting on the lid. I used the remaining blue dye bath for about 50g (?) of another skein that I wet by squeezing water into but didn’t give a full 30-minute soak. I put it in the hot dye bath and after a few minutes added a couple more drops of black dye to the water and moved it around a little. This produced a cool gray, and some of the blue remained. So it seems the trick to getting a blue and getting a cool gray is to use up the red by dyeing something else first. Because this yarn is different from the O-Wool yarn I plan to use, I expect to repeat this experiment very soon.

I'm really excited to see how different both skeins are, even though they were both dyed with the same food coloring. In the photo, the darkest part of the skein doesn't show, but it's a very dark brown or possibly a warm black. The lighter skein is not so pink as in the photo, but warm and cool tones of gray. I have a lot to learn and a lot of experimenting to do. If I change food coloring brands, I'll have to re-experiment, so I'll stick with the one I'm using for now, McCormick's. Also, it's easy to get at my nearest market.

I’ll probably make socks out of this. I want to play with the striping, and see what it wants to do. Of course I’m curious about slip-stitch patterns as I dyed this skein in a very long repeat and the ends will be a fairly high contrast. So I will see how many stitches I get per repeat, and see what that means for patterning.

Off to wind the skeins and knit up a swatch. Will share wound skein photos in the next post!


Thursday, January 11, 2018

More Swatching

Last night I worked on the color transitions some more, which surprisingly included corrugated ribbing. I’m not particularly skilled with stranding, though at some point I did knit with both hands, which helped a lot, especially with the yarns winding around each other. I do okay purling just English style, but the yarns get super wound up with each other. This was just a swatch. On a sweater, there’d be many more stitches and many more yarn crossings. For ease of execution and to minimize the sliding of stitches from one end to another and losing track of when I need to increase and to avoid increasing on the back side, I can work each color separately, working two rows per color. The net effect is about the same.

Of greater concern than how to execute this part of the design is how to handle the sleeves? My plan was to stripe them without any slipped stitches, as a way to accentuate the construction of the sweater -- to differentiate it from a typical circular yoke construction. With corrugated ribbing — even if I work one color at a time — if I work across the sleeves in each color separately, I will have twice as many rows in the sleeves in that section of the pattern. I’d rather not cut the yarn.

On further reflection, I will have more rows in the sleeves than in the body, regardless of which slipped-stitch pattern I use; in other words, all of my slipped-stitch rows will have this problem. One fix for this could be garter stripes on the sleeves. Another option is short rows, but nah, I don't think so.

I could scrap this whole idea and make the entire yoke garter stitch, starting with garter at the top edge and working my slipped garter stitch pattern, first one way and then its inverse. This would be so much easier. Maybe I'll save the transitions pattern for something else. If I do this, then I'm ready to go. I will surely want to develop the transition idea, but I can do that later, for something else. It seems I ran past the finish line without realizing it. I had high aspirations. But I want to focus on the construction of this sweater, so I'm happy with it being about that, and less about a fancy transition.


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Swatching

Oopie loves dripping water
Last night I had to re-shoot the video tutorial for the hooded cowl, and had planned to do the editing as well. My cat wasn’t okay with this. He wanted some attention, and I didn’t want to ignore him. (He’s an older guy, so when he begs for attention, I usually give in, as he doesn’t ask for much.)

So, I pulled out some yarn and worked on a swatch to knit up the stitch pattern sequences for the sweater. This I could do sitting next to my cat, and I caught up on back episodes of Dunkelgr√ľn at the same time. (I find Anna to be charming.)

Fizzy Water Stitch, felted
This new swatch I’m doing as a mitered square, so I can felt it and give to a friend to use as a trivet. Here’s a previous attempt at a mitered square using this stitch pattern. (I didn't get the proportions right for this one, but now I know what to do.) I find it's a nice way to practice a stitch, and I really like it felted too. In fact, the gradation in color inspired the gradations I'll use in the sweater.

I had planned to combine two different slipped-stitch patterns (fizzy water stitch in two versions and the slipped garter stitch), but
Slipped Garter Stitch in Split Cowl
doing this swatch confirmed that this was a bad idea. One looks like ribbing and the other looks like garter stitch, and so they can’t transition nicely from one to the next. Just as I was putting my things away for the evening, I came upon a solution, which I’m excited to try. I’ll do that tomorrow after video-editing.

Last night's yarn barf
I wasn't planning to show the swatch because it looked like "yarn barf" to me. But then I realized how helpful it would be to have a record of it so I could see that the final result didn't just appear out of thin air, but from lots of doing and redoing. So, here it is, in its ugliness. It does not help that I chose yarn intended for felting and that the thick-and-thin yarn is terrible for swatching. Not a brilliant idea, but I want to be able to felt the finished swatch.

Mini sweater
This shows just how very un-linear the design process is: Something I thought was settled was most definitely not, and I thought I wasn’t going to be able to work because my cat wanted attention. In fact, he helped my design process but forcing me to do something unplanned. I think it’s interesting that designing this sweater in miniature did not expose this problem with the stitch pattern transition. Note to self: Don’t test patterns with black yarn!

I had planned to stripe the sleeves rather than applying the slipped garter stitch pattern, and now I will need to devise another idea for the sleeves, something that pairs better with the slipped ribbing pattern. So, another "problem" to solve.



Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Deciding to Dye

I am a fan of buying locally sourced products, and buying from small, local merchants. I have used O-Wool yarns in a few projects, and appreciate that the wool (and cotton) is raised organically, it is dyed for the most part with non-toxic dyes, and its superwash method is non-toxic.
Six Pounds of Undyed Yarn

It is also sourced within the region and much of the manufacturing is done in Philadelphia. This helps me support local businesses and keeps my carbon footprint smaller. Of course, I also like this yarn! Because I can no longer buy it at my LYS (it went kaput a few years ago), I have been ordering online -- but choosing colors online was frustrating to me.

So, since I've been dyeing and overdyeing yarn, I figured, why not just dye whatever yarn I wish to use? Also, I've become a fan of multi-colored yarns, and dyeing my own is the only way I'm going to be able to use multi-colored O-Wool.

But don't think that dyeing yarn feels like something I "have" to do. I really love being in the kitchen and playing with color. (I'm getting twitchy just anticipating the fun I'm going to have!) I have a background in design, and this is perhaps the first time I'm really getting to use my color theory education. I have many ideas for things I want to try, and I will be dyeing the yarn for the sweater I'm supposed to be patterning up. That's why this post isn't a total aside...

Today I will edit the video for the hooded cowl so I can get the pattern (already finished) to my testers, and then I will begin test-dyeing my new wool!








Monday, January 8, 2018

Color Chasing

Linen-stitch scarf using two skeins.
One of my favorite things to do is to use two color-changing yarns together. I think I've only done this with two skeins of the same colorway, and I've always used them from the opposite ends of the skein.

That's fine until you get to the middle, and suddenly you can't tell which skein is which because you're striping the same color from each end.

Removed yellow (top)
First four colors (bottom)
What to do! I knew the last time I did this that I would do it differently. So I am doing what I call a "chase", whereby one yarn color "chases" the other yarn, about four colors behind. I'm using Noro Taiyo Lace. As I know that I need to use no more than 50% of the skein for the first half of the shawl, I have wound it into a cake. This allows me to remove the cardboard insert so I know exactly how much yarn I have to begin with and don't overshoot. Just to be sure, I wrote down the total weight on the cardboard and shoved it back into the center of the cake, and I weighed it with the cardboard. Just covering all my bases!

Groovellous by Nim Teasdale
I wound the first skein and noted the color changes as I finished it up, and decided which colorways I wanted to work together. I started with a pale green for my main color and the fuscia for the contrasting color.

I used this colorway on a sweater (in fingering weight), and although the yellow made it interesting, I did not want the yellow in this shawl. First, it would be too matchy-matchy with the sweater (I'll show you some matchy-matchy later), and everything else looks great in this yarn without the yellow. So as I wound it into cakes, I removed the yellow.

The result is that the color pairs are lovely. Both yarns transition to grays and then reverse themselves. I am pretty sure I won't end up striping the same color from both skeins at the same time.

This pattern is easy to memorize once you set it up and get going, so it's a nice piece to knit while watching entertaining blogs, shows, etc. I took it with me while I taught a couple to knit last week -- and only knit once I had them knitting along.

As a final note, I chose this yarn because it was in my stash.* I am mostly working from my stash, using yarn as is or over-dyeing it to make it match better with other yarns I wish to use. A couple of years ago two of my local yarn stores went out of business and I bought a lot of yarn, mostly with projects in mind. However, having lots of yarn sitting around makes me anxious that there's not enough time to knit up all my inspirations, so moving through it feels really good.

*As I neared the 50% mark, I realized the shawl would be too small, and I prefer and extravagant size. So, I searched on ravelry for someone with a skein they were willing to sell, and expect it any day now.


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Chronicling the Design Process

I've decided to chronicle my design process, partly to keep myself moving forward with my design work, as well as a way to share how my creative process works for me. I don't know how it is for others, but for me, it's never straightforward from concept to finished design. I can be working on a design and launch in on the needles, be excited about it the whole way. And then I take the blocking pins off or take it off its form, and flop. It doesn't work at all! I have found, though, that pattern-writing strongly influences my designs in what I think is a very good way. It forces me to use repetitive sequences rather than "quick fixes" or fudges and I appreciate that tremendously, especially when I want to replicate a project or part of one.

This happened the other day with a hat. I had finished it months ago (March, to be more specific), and it was okay, but it wasn't something I was going to write a pattern for -- which means it wasn't good enough. (It was part of my Chemowear Series, but I don't think I ever wore it during chemo.)



So, after making a successful beret recently, I decided that I'd make this a beret, and use an element from the Groovellous shawl I'm knitting for fun. (I sorely needed a break from knitting up my own stuff, as it felt like all I was doing was working! It's nice to knit up someone else's work.)

I love all these things about this hat, but it just doesn't work. It doesn't sit properly on my head, the hat band is too long, and this lovely element doesn't work, mostly because it doesn't bend very well. So now what? I like the stitch pattern in the hat band and I really like the combination of the two different striped elements.

  

Maybe it becomes a cowl? Maybe I take it down and make the hat band shorter and make it all stripes? One thing that does work is the section of garter ridges, so potentially I can keep that. Another option is to make it a cowl, and keep the hat band knit so far and finish the rest, inverting the color pattern.

In the meantime, this will go on the back burner. That usually works well for me, and I don't want it to take away from other planned designs I've been working on -- or rather neglecting -- because of what sometimes seem more "urgent" brain requests.

Fizzy Water Cowl
I've been doing a ton of design work recently, mostly based on my fizzy water stitch, and I've been seriously avoiding writing the pattern for the sweater. It's a big project, and I need to just start. I've done a miniature mockup, and I've made a lot of notes, so there's no excuse. There, I've said it, and now I have to move forward on it! For reference, here's the fizzy water cowl, for which I used this stitch the first time.

So, I will work on writing the pattern while the hooded version of this cowl is being tested.

Note: I am specifically limiting my attention to the design of this page so that I can focus on the projects I already have in mind, and not using this space to procrastinate. I am already an expert!