Monday, May 30, 2016

I'm Convinced This Went Faster the Last Time!

Do you remember the "two weeks until the end of the contest" shawl that I designed and knit?

The one that I spent days convinced I was going to miss the deadline, that I didn't swatch for (and I regretted that decision) and finished up with a couple of days to spare?

I ended up charting every stitch in the shawl, which involved having an excel spreadsheet that was over 500 cells wide, to make sure that everything stacked up the way I wanted.  Grabbed a size smaller needles and cast it on again, after the contest was over.

And here we are, well over a week since the contest ended and the picture, although of a second shawl, is almost exactly the same as one I showed you before....the 40% mark.

For me, one of two things happens the second time I knit something.  Either it goes much faster because I am familiar with the pattern already, or it goes much slower because, well, I get bored easily in my knitting!

That would probably be why I am not a monogamous knitter!

This past week I also played with a ball of yarn that warped the space time continuum in a different way! 

When you are the designer and about to run out of yarn for a project you are working on, there are several choices.  Add more yarn?  You could do that.  Change the design?  Yes.  Stop where you run out and claim that was always the intent?  I've done that before.

This time around I had some very definite ideas on how the pattern should end, so I did that horrible thing called math!  I calculated what percentage of the yarn I could use for the body of a piece to get exactly the width of border I wanted.  I knit a swatch, weighed my yarn, did some more math and calculated how many rows and stitches that would get me and I cast on.  After some trials with counting I ended up where I thought I should be and started the border.  I knit the border to where the piece should end and there was still an awful lot of yarn left.

After some recalculations this is how much yarn was left when I hit the end of the pattern!

Just about perfect!  (Excuse how dirty the scales look, I didn't notice it until I was editing the picture...guess cleaning my kitchen appliances is next on my to do list!)

In other knitting news, two shawl test knits are progressing.  Looks like each one has an "over achiever" who is much further ahead in the pattern than the other knitters.  Seems like every test I do someone really raises the bar on knitting speed.  (Which I love!) 

It is funny, the patterns always seem new to me when we hit the testing phase.  Probably because I chart first, knit second, write third, wait several days, re-read, edit, send off for secondary edits and input, then put the file together for the testers.  By the time they get it I have been "out" of the pattern for anything from a few days to several weeks.  Then I see the yarns they pick and want to knit the pattern all over again, but in the meantime I am charting something else, knitting a second thing and in the process of edits for the third, so my hands are full!

A long time ago I had a friend who needed a pattern to make something, I can't even remember what it was now, and I wrote her up an "off the cuff" pattern stitch and pattern to go with it.  She asked if I was going to start writing patterns "for real" and I said no.  But you know, once I got started doing it, I can't seem to turn it off!  I am three completed patterns ahead of my editor and test knitters right now, with three in various stages of the process.  Maybe knowing how completely I throw myself into doing things was why I said no all those years ago!

And now that word has got out, among the people I know in real life and not just through the blog or online knitting groups, that I am writing up patterns that are more than three or four lines on a yellow post it note, requests are coming in.  Could you write a pattern for this or that?  Add that to everything in the world from math, spelling and biology to an afternoon's walk at the conservatory, turning into pattern inspiration...I don't think that being three or four patterns ahead of the testers is going to stop any time soon.

Well, I have some serious knitting headway to make before starting dinner!

What's on your needles this week?

~M









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