Category Archives: Patterns

Executive decision – streamline the project list for Christmas

I’ve decided that I’m going to put a stop to any Christmas and birthday knitting that hasn’t been started or planned in detail yet. I took one good look at the Excel spreadsheet I set up and realized that I was really putting myself in for a hectic few months ahead.  Did I really want to make knitting into a huge chore? Did I wan’t to put myself through endless guilt trips for not starting, or starting late, or procrastinating on getting things finished?

No.

So I’ve scrapped the list, and I’m only going to work on two gift sweaters and a pair of socks for this year.  If I just happen to make socks that might fit someone else… then that doesn’t count. Ooops I made a pair of socks for you. See how that works?  The two sweaters i’d like to knit as gifts this year are: Bristow and the Central Park Hoodie (with a hemlock stitch variation). I’ve purchased the yarn for both of these sweaters. I just need to get them started. I’m planning on starting the CPH Hemlock in Cascade 220 yarn (Lake Chelan Blue) as soon as I finish one of the projects currently on my cue.

Also, I’ve decided to frog the Tangled Yoke Cardigan. I’m just not happy with the way things are working out with this sweater. I’m sure it would look lovely on me, but I’m not into working on it, and I’d much rather focus on finishing my “Side Impact Sweater” with the lovely Artfibers Rush that I purchased this summer. I have to say, this yarn is a true “Winner” and I suggest it to anyone who wants to make a nice fall cotton sweater. You do have to be a little careful about splitting the yarn as you knit, but I’ve discovered that if you build this ‘careful knitting’ into your rhythm of knitting stockinette then you’ll encounter few problems with this yarn. People complain all the time about splitty yarn (I think those people are whiners… come on buck up and take it), but I believe that if a yarn is ‘reasonable’ then you can avoid the splitting with just a little care. Despite this the color variation and dye work has resulted in such a rich pattern of colors in plum, grey, and purple (Color # 5 in Artfibers Rush). If it’s possible to fall in love with a yarn… I think I’ve gone off the deep end for this one.

There’s also the Lochinver Gansey that I’ve been making quite a deal of progress on.  I guess I want to really focus on learning new techniques in sweater construction rather than put myself through the rigamarole of getting a bunch of tiny projects done.

Side Impact Sweater Progress 8/5

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I have Sock ADD

STR Gypsum in Spiraling Socks

STR Gypsum in Spiraling Socks

I don’t need to start another pair of socks… I think I have three on the needles right now and I’m planning another set of Socks that Rock (in Coriolis for the Naked Sheep Class I’m taking this weekend). I’m trying to finish up the Gypsum socks above. I’m to the bottom of the calves now and I really don’t like the pooling that’s going on with this colorway of yarn. The Instep and sole looks great though. I guess these will be boot socks.

Fabel Socks

Fabel Socks

To be fair… most of the socks I’m knitting for now on are for Christmas Gifts. I’ll try to chart the simple lace pattern for the anklets. I originally was making them for me… because I love wearing white lace socks with my Mary Janes.

Anklets on

Anklets on

Cascade Heritage Lace Anklets

Cascade Heritage Lace Anklets

And I just got more new sock yarn! Yikes! Most of which will again be converted to X-mas gifts. I do have time to cast on for these before the end of the year. It is indeed the Year of the Sock. I have decided not to participate in the Knitting Olympics because I set my own steep hurdles to jump over. Though I might be able to count my Coriolis sock ala Cat Bordhi as my challenging item.

Imagination Gingerbread House

Imagination Seven Dwarves

Imagination Seven Dwarves

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Dr. Who Pattern Debacle

Addendum 5/17 – Looks like the BBC and the author of the “Adipose” pattern have made peace.  It’s a happy ending as the BBC is negotiating a deal that includes a licensing for the pattern (which hopefully will be provided for fans on the BBC website). Plus Mazzmatazz may get to make Adipose babies for the BBC team and meet the Dr. Who crew.

See hostility just doesn’t pay. Now just about everyone is happy… the fans, the pattern maker, and the BBC.

Article posted here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/newsid_7400000/newsid_7406200/7406217.stm

If you haven’t heard anything about this, there’s been argument over some knitting patterns developed by a Dr. Who fan. In a nutshell, the fan created doll patterns of certain creatures from the popular BBC Series and made them available for free. In a rush to preserve the Dr. Who brand, the BBC has forced her to take the patterns now. Here’s a full version of the story.

I believe that many knitters are naturally creative people, and knitting is a powerful skill to have, because you can create all sorts of objects. When we like things or find them appealing, sometimes we want to recreate them for ourselves. It’s human to want to own things or have them in our possession. I collected Star Wars bubble gum cards and action figures when I was a kid because I loved re-living the scenes from the first three movies. I wanted to re-live the story because I liked it so much. Mazmataz recreated the Ood, the Adipose Babies, and the Tardis perhaps because of similar sentiments towards the Dr. Who series and its characters. I get it.

But the BBC doesn’t get it and from their point of view as a business that owns the intellectual property rights of Dr. Who they probably won’t.

I came of age (in the business world) in a large corporation who was ever so paranoid about loosing it’s brand. I suppose this is a law of nature that once on top, you become paranoid of others taking you down. It’s probably a king of the hill type syndrome. The company I worked for was so afraid of brand violation, they had numerous face to face course about how to protect their brand.

Now, I’m torn about this issue, because from a completely business point of view, I can understand why companies want to and need to protect their brand. However, from a historical view, I think that over-zealous protection of copyright or brand can only harm the rest of us or the general public who can benefit from the proliferation of new ideas and products.

New things… objects, ideas, concepts… do not just generate themselves out of nothingness. New things often come from older things. The gasoline combustion engine that drives cars was born from the ideas and objects developed by other tinkerers. The Model T Ford was developed from prototypes developed by others. If Henry Ford wasn’t able to pull the work created by others he wouldn’t have developed the automobile that made his company what it is today (probably someone else would do it). There are very few ideas or concepts that come from ‘thin air.’ They are usually based on another idea or concept or at least inspired by something else.

On the other hand, because we all live within a grid of monetary value where products from ideas can be exchanged for money. There will always be those people who take what’s offered for free and make money off it. Such was the case for mazmataz’s Dr. Who Patterns. Apparently people were knitting the patterns and selling the toys on e-Bay. That’s just pure opportunism. On one hand I think those people have violated a request not to use the patterns for profit. On the other hand, they were simply responding to the demand/value created by our system of demand/perceived need or desire for the said item.

In my mind this whole debate again raises the question whether intellectual properties should or are changing/evolving because of the advent of the Internet. It much easier to share information, instructions, ideas, objects and products on the web. They don’t have to be isolated or hidden from other people who may build upon them, improve them or even create something new.

I believe that some of the greatest creative and productive eras from history occurred when information was shared between cultures, peoples, or individuals. On a smaller scale, I have to say, the sharing of patterns both free and paid on social networking sites like Ravelry seems to encourage creativity amongst the population of knitters and participants. It also, encourages commerce. For example, a knitter might see a pattern knit in a different yarn and actually seek out and purchase that yarn. Or another knitter may have a stash of a particular yarn and need inspiration for how to use it. She/he might actually review the projects made by other knitters in this yarn and purchase a pattern made by a designer who advertises or posts information on their available patterns on Ravelry.

I know it will take some time and probably some ugly wrangling to get the intellectual property and copyright laws ironed out, but hopefully we will still be able to reap the benefits of the sharing and collaboration that takes place via the Net. In my head I’m still trying to think up a scenario that explains how all this sharing can be bad for us, because it’s good to think of things from more than one perspective.

knitted toys

Images from audreyem’s occasional blog. The original Adipose doll knitted pattern toy is on the right. A crochet version of the doll is on the left.

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Went to the Beach.. and reflections on what I want in a sweater.

Last weekend… it was pretty cruddy and rainy most of the time, but we were able to get a wee bit of sun towards the end of the trip. I finished my Elizabeth Zimmerman Fair Isle sweater en route to the beach. Eric took a picture of me on the beach wearing the sweater, but I will not post it (because I look fat in the picture…. heheh, vain me). Instead you just get a picture of a very happy pug:

beachbumotto.jpg

I was just listening to Episode 44 of Stash and Burn, and it sparked some consideration of my tastes in sweaters for knitting and my taste in fashion in general. I love some of the beautiful patterns in Interweave Knits, but I find myself not wanting to knit many of them because my gut tells me that they can be dated given a few years (not to say there aren’t good classic patterns in IK). I think I’m a bit conservative when it comes to the sweater style. I don’t want any really distinguishing features in the sweater that might date it and I tend to go for a classic look a.la Sarah Dallas and Erica Knight patterns. I adore 1920’s and 1930’s style knitted goods and accessories. I might try to alter the stitch pattern or use a different yarn, but I really don’t want to veer away from classic patterns because I spend so much time knitting the darn things, I don’t want to wear it five or six years later and realize that I look like I need to unburden myself in a thrift store.

Really, if I’m going to spend up to three months making a garment I want to make good use of it for a long period of time. I feel like I’m going to have this sort of relationship with my Central Park Hoodie (even though it took me only a month to knit).  Having a good sweater is a lot like having a really good friend. They’re dependable, they go with you most places, and they make you feel comfortable and good about yourself.

Recent search of sweater images on line revealed the following treasures for inspiration:

Fair Isle Cardigan

I recognize this image… it’s from the Book: The Art of Fair Isle Knitting

I have this book and absolutely love it! Love it! I recommend it for anyone who wants to learn more about the art and history of Fair Isle.

leafcardigan.jpg

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February’s Sweater… almost done

Right now I’m about 70% done with my Elizabeth Zimmerman’s yoke sweater. Again, there was a lot of stockinette, and because I knit this in a cream color, I felt I was lost in a sea of milky stockinette.

I have to confess that suffer from an inferiority complex about the evenness  of my stitches when I knit it stockinette. I find that if I concentrate on getting things even, I just end up knitting fabric so tight it could double for a suit of armor. There must be some knitting workshop or exercise akin to the metronome exercises used to learn the piano that will help me achieve evenness in my stitches.

I did use the “Magic Loop” method to knit both sleeves at the same time. I’ve finally attached my arms and am ready to start the color work.

I think I can get this done before the end of the month. Fingers crossed.

Body of Yoke Sweater

Yoke sweater sleeves

Yoke sweater with sleeves attached

 Yoke sweater sleeves 2

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Sweater a month?

Please note: I finally had the time to edit this post and put it up. I’m actually posting this a couple weeks after I drafted it.

For the past few days I’ve been suffering from the most debilitating flu. I suppose I should have gotten my flu shot, but honestly, every single time I got the shot I got sick. So I figured this year, I’d pass. It’s been quite horrible actually. I haven’t even had the strength to knit. I think I may have been delirious because I do remember working out the dimensions and math for a blanket in my dreams….36 stitches by 60 stitch rectangles with patterns of 8 inch repeats. Maybe obsessing over the math actually helped me through the fever.

Yesterday, the fever broke and later in the evening I was able to finish my Central Park Hoodie. I actually chose this pattern to work on early in the year because I’ve been toying with the idea of really pushing my garment making skills a bit further. The Hoodie is a good project because it has some sleeve shaping that’ a little more complicated than your basic sunken arm sleeve. I felt that the hoodie would be a good start and give me a little confidence before I took on some more complex projects.

It felt like I was knitting an awful lot of stockinette, and I adjusted the cabling pattern a little.  Also, I adjusted the armholes making them a little wider and slightly longer, because I just didn’t feel that the size recommendations given in the pattern would work well. But, you know, all this work and the tedium paid off. I love this sweater in the yarn I used (Elann Sierra Aran in Lichen). It is the warmest most comfy sweater I own. Plus, if it hadn’t been for the illness, I would have knitted it in a month.

Hoodie armsHoodie hood

Hoodie back

So, I’ve been considering actually having the goal of a sweater a month. Of course, my sock knitting will lag and suffer, but, oh well. After knitting the hoodie, I’ve decided that the joy of having a new knitted garment a month is worth the toil. Plus … I HATE, HATE…. the fashion choices that we’re limited to by all the big name fashion retailers, and I feel that Portland is the BLACK HOLE OF FASHION. I like the luxury of feeling relaxed but there’s a point where you don’t want to feel like Ms. Schlumpy day in and day out. I’m not exactly Ms. Moda myself. I tend to gravitate towards more classic looks like the 1930’s cardigans and Fair Isle patterns, but there comes a time when you want just something nice or classic that doesn’t look like you purchased it at an outlet store.

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Goodbye Paper Patterns

I tried this and it’s actually working quite well. I uploaded jpg versions of some PDF patterns I had onto my iTouch and now I can actually access the pattern and view it without taking a piece of paper with me everywhere. I love it.

Technology can be so wonderful sometimes.

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