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.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Not Getting Things Done

As many people do, I did some naval gazing around the New Year. One of the things I decided to work on was the intensity with which I work to Get Things Done in my hobbies, which, by definition, should be enjoyable.

I have a knitting project going nearly all the time, and I get twitchy in the brief moments between the bind off of one project and the cast on of another. I rarely allow myself to lie fallow, and that means I rarely let my brain really contemplate new projects that would be creatively fulfilling.

For example, I own the Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook. I think I would really enjoy finding an object that is meaningful to me and developing a stranded pattern inspired by that object. But that takes time, and instead it is easier for me to cast on another pair of socks.

Then I have to Finish the Socks.

When I finish the socks, I have to start something else... which then has to be finished. You see the track this Crazy Train barrels down.

So, one of my new year's goals is to be more intentional. I want to give myself creative space. I want to knit less. I want to give myself permission not to Get Things Done. I want to color in a coloring book if that sounds fun, and I want to give up on a sweater that I don't love, and I want to tell the voice in my head that insists I continually do something productive to shut the fuck up.

Um, but I can't do all that right now. (Can't can't do that right now?) Right now, I'm doing some knitting for a designer, and it has a deadline.



But after that, I'm going to Not Get Things Done.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Brown and the Antidote

Simply Socks had a sale, and Andrew picked out some yarn. I was in the mood for some mindless knitting, so I made him socks.

 Ribbed socks (mine ravelled here),
knit in Crystal Palace Yarns Sausalito, Chipotle colorway

I did plain old k2, p2 socks over 68 stitches.

I cannot express how boring they were. I know better than to knit with brown in the winter. Only stubbornness kept me going. Once I was done, there was only one thing to do to restore equilibrium in my brain.


Ribbed Fluormanias (mine ravelled here),
knit in Schachenmayr Regia Fluormania Color, colorway 7187

Better. Much, much better.