Thursday, August 29, 2013

Strange Gradient

A new sweater is finished.
I called it Strange Gradient. Strange because Paul commented on the design being "kinda strange."

I dyed all the colored yarns, except for the grey, at different times.  They were mostly sport weight yarn, except for one heavy fingering weight, and one light DK. Some were natural dyed, some were acid dyed. Obviously I don't have a good habit of keep records of what I do.

I really wanted to make a gradient sweater for no reasons I can really name, so I got out all my hand-dyed yarns, and was able to assemble the yellow to purple range. Then I dyed the tonal blues specifically for this sweater. I felt kinda ridiculous like I was showing my class about color theory, saturation vs tones. And the thing is I really don't care for color theory. I think it's very important for painters to understand the basics in order to learn how to mix colors and able to see contrasts of all kinds. But I get so bored when I see paintings that screams COLOR THEORY! where colors are used by the book. So I felt a bit silly arranging these yarns.

At first I thought it was a pretty nice design of the sweater overall. After Paul's comment, I looked at it more objectively, and I'm definitely agreeing with him more and more.  I don't think the concept was strange, but somehow the result kind of is. Perhaps the super logical thinking of color theory actually contributes to its strangeness, like I'm wearing swatches or paint chips.

It's A-line in shape, knitted top-down with round yoke. I ended up going with short-sleeves because of amount of yarn I had and because I didn't want it to be too bulky looking.

I kept thinking the motif looks familiar even though I thought I just came up with it myself.  Halfway done with knitting the body I realized it looked a lot like Doodles' design Pods. I've always admire Chris' designs. This time I'd taken her design for inspiration without consciously acknowledging it.

I like the sweater in spite of its strangeness and in spite of the sweater is screaming color theory.    

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Ginkgo Collection

The Ginkgo Collection is finally here!

It has been a while since the patterns were tested and tech edited. I was enjoying the summer so much that I wasn't too motivated to spend much time on writing or putting the final touches on patterns. But procrastination no more. Here they are.

They 6 patterns, sweater, cowl, scarf, cardigan, shawl, and stole are available individually as well as a collection.

This is my very first knitting collection.  I'm really excited about it. I had great fun playing with ideas in various designs. It was quite a wonderful thing to figure out how to place the leaf motif in various items. The design and the knitting part was a joy. The production of the patterns, on the other hand, felt very tedious. Getting the pattern to the ready for publishing stage took at least 20 times longer than designing and knitting. But I did learn a lot from making the collection. Hard to believe it, but I'm actually begin to like the publishing process from grading 9 or 10 different sizes, writing and editing, coordinating testing, to working with tech editor. There were steps I enjoy more than the others, but I'm finding it not as dreadful of a big process after having done this collection all at once.

Now that I don't mind the process as much, I even took the time to re-shoot the photos for a more cohesive look to the collection. But I was till to lazy to go far, the pictures were all shot right outside our house. We bordered our neighbor's yard with no clear marker of property line.  We have no real yard acreage ourselves with our condo unit, except for the piece in the back with a lot of sage and pine trees that we'd rather keep it natural. But the neighbor kept the piece they have in the front and a bit of the back like nice little gardens. And there is a lot of common land with foliage surrounding us. So I took advantage of all these and did my photo shoots right outside our house. When the neighbors came home during my photo session, I chatted with them and informed Irene and Ron, a really nice retired couple that only stay at Tahoe in summers, what I was doing.  Hopefully they didn't think I was too nutty. They're kinda baffled by the idea of making patterns available online.  I know, even I'm still amazed that I can do that.

Yes, I still find it hard to believe that I can publish knitting patterns  It would be unthinkable 3 years ago for me. I wasn't even thinking about making my own designs just few years back, and now it's one of the true joy for me. I'm seriously grateful to Ravelry for allowing knitters try out designing as well.

Much thanks to my wonderful testers, Donna, Anj, My Anh, Emma, Bao, Magda,  Irina, Julia, Amy, Sandra, Masha, and Sara for their tremendous help.

My deepest gratitude to Judy Kaethler (judyka on Ravelry) for working with me so patiently and tech edited all 6 patterns. I can't say enough about what a wonderful tech editor she truly is. I've come to learn a lot about writing patterns from her.

Now that the patterns are finally completed, I can focus on my next knitting project.  And I have started one last night...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Summer Dress '13

Finally I have some knitting finished. This one had been going on forever.

I knitted at least one dress each summer marking the arrival of last 5 summers. This year, I kinda lost the mojo of knitting, but I still cast on for a dress so as to keep up the tradition.

Each inch seemed to take forever. There were weeks when I was too busy with sewing and other fun stuff, and I'd only knit less about 1/2". I finally picked up the pace this past week and got it done.

I like it. It's more hugging the body than I'd normally prefer.  But I don't' mind having one thing different for my wardrobe.

I used Quince & Co Sparrow in Nannyberry colorway, kinda mauvish pink, which made it even more noticeably body hugging. I had it in my stash for over a year and guilty had caught up with me. Initially I wasn't liking knitting with this yarn as much as I expected.  But towards the end, I definitely felt I would consider using the yarn in the future.  The swatch shrunk after washing so I planned the knitting based on that shrinkage.  It looked somewhat big after I cast off.  But I threw the dress into the dryer after hand-washing it.  It shrunk nicely, almost a bit too nicely, I wasn't expecting it to be so form fitting.  It was not tight, but I was just more used to wearing dresses on the looser side, especially around the waist.  The fabric really softened up beautifully after the dryer.

The construction was top-down in round, round yoke with yarn over as increases which created nice eyelet fabric.  I also added the eyelets at the skirt hem edge. Nothing too special but a comfy dress.