Beautiful Knitting

Where Mt.Mom knits, crochets, designs, and seeks Beauty as food for the soul.

Archive for January, 2011

Galaxy Tams — Design Process, Part 1

Posted by mtmom on January 25, 2011

I thought I might share a bit about how my design process went for the tams I just submitted to Cast On magazine.

The Idea.

Years ago, I borrowed a copy of Barbara G. Walker’s book, Knitting Counterpanes — about preserved examples of an old tradition of bedspreads handknit of tiny cotton yarn.  (Interlibrary loans are a WONDERFUL thing!)  In it, I saw several spreads/counterpanes constructed of small, repeated medallions.  I recall swatching a few of them, and sketching several others.  I made a child-size beret out of one of them by working a center-out medallion for the top, then a sort of turning ridge of several rounds of reverse stockinette, then I decreased back down while trying to maintain as much of the patterning as I could.  A plain ribbed band finished it off.

Pink Swirl Tam, side view

Pink Swirl Tam, top view

The Opportunity.

Cast On sent out a call for designs for the summer 2011 issue, with a special emphasis (among other topics) on tams and berets.  I remembered the pink tam and the gears started turning.

The Swatches.

I no longer had the Walker book, and I didn’t keep the pink tam in front of me to check.  I went from (fallible) memory while also keeping in mind some changes I wanted to make.  I started knitting at the center, and when the swatch was large enough I began to think of an edging that would lie flat.  I decided on garter stitch, but didn’t want the spirals to just STOP at the edge of the border —  hmmm, could the spirals continue THROUGH the garter st background, as they had over the stockinette?  YES!  I liked this very much.

I had 2 different yarns I was considering working with:  the white yarn was new to me, but came highly recommended; the purple was left over from a shawlette KAL 2 autumns ago, and I had thoroughly enjoyed working with it back then.  I made a swatch from EACH of them and decided to send both.  I would let the committee consider both and choose.

Swatch in white alpaca/wool worsted weight

Swatch in purple mohair/silk laceweight doubled

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The Sketches.

I figured the different yarns would make different fabrics that would drape differently, so I sketched out the 2 options:  one floaty, one droopy.  I traced the bare essentials of 2 faces from a clothing catalog and added in the hats freehand.  The results were not bad, and they communicated the ideas.  I described how I would construct the hats and how I expected each version would look.  I filled out the rest of the paperwork (yarn brands and alternatives, gauges, sizes, etc.) and mailed it all off to Ohio.

The Decision.

The editorial committee wrote back and asked if I would knit BOTH hats, to show the different looks!  OK, I’m in!

Next chapter (Lord willing):  the yarn, the pattern-writing and the prototype knitting.

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Posted in Cap/Hat, Design, Knitting | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

FOs and Repairs

Posted by mtmom on January 22, 2011

My weekend schedule changed a while back, so Sundays are not always blog days.   I haven’t really settled into a new rhythm yet. . . .

I have finished several things, some fresh and some long latent.

white tam

pink

Firstly, I finished and mailed in to Cast On magazine, the 2 versions of my Galaxy Tam.  The pattern I e-mailed in a few days later.

Also, I finished a second little “hoot!”, by Ysolda Teague.

hoot! #1

hoot! #2

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One is for my DS, away at university.

The other is for his girlfriend.  She said of hers that it is “adorbs”.  (I translated that to mean “adorable”.)  🙂

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And then, I FINALLY seamed up a knit/felted bag I started about 1 1/2 years ago.  I don’t think the shape and size will be adequate for a daily bag, so I’m not sure what I’ll do with it.  (It measures about 10″ – 12″ across, and 5″ – 6″ tall in the middle, where the stuff would sit.)  Yarn is Poems; design is my own.

"back" side

"front" side

I’ve had some more requests for repairs; this time for unusual gloves.

Glove from Latvia, here with hoot-owl

The first pair were a gift to me, purchased by an old friend when she traveled to Latvia one summer.  I’ve let my son wear them for a couple of winters, and one thumb developed a hole.  This past week I mended that.

Thumb "Before"

Thumb "After"

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The second pair are Norwegian.  I haven’t started to work on the repairs yet, but I’ve enjoyed studying them.

Norwegian gloves. Thumbs replaced by another knitter.

Finger with a hole. Notice the spare color carried between stripes up by twisting strands.

See how the ends are NOT woven in -- just knotted and left! Amazing.

Posted in Cap/Hat, Design, Knitting, Mending | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Links I’ve Liked This Week

Posted by mtmom on January 9, 2011

Work continues on the 2 tams for summer 2011 Cast On, but in the mean time, here are some links to a video, a photo tutorial, a clever product, and a lovely poem.  The first 3 were referenced in a recent Berroco KnitBits e-newsletter, and the last, from Nicky Epstein’s “Talks from the Yarniverse” interview by the folks at the Lion Brand studio in NYC.

(1)  Berroco video about attaching a buttonband that has been knit separately (Norah Gaughan) (embedding not working today);

(2)  Photo tutorial by Sarah of the “Live and Let Knit. . . and Craft” blog, about a Japanese version of 3-needle bind-off;

(3)  Make your own fabric-covered buttons with a kit, recommended by Cirilia Rose of Berroco;

(4)  Loved this Knitter’s Christmas poem when I heard interviewer-Patty and Nicky Epstein read it at the end of their “Yarniverse” video interview.  It was written for Nicky by her husband as a Christmas gift!

Posted in Videos -- made by others | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Snow Days

Posted by mtmom on January 1, 2011

Very cold temps and moderate amounts of snow.  Thought y’all might enjoy some images!

DH shoveling driveway

2 birdfeeders: millet and Nyger thistle

Dark-eyed Juncos at my back door, enjoying some millet.

and a little closer-up; 2 females and 1 male in this frame

and somebody else in exTREMEly interested!

Video: 

And here’s an interesting idea:  “Project 365” — a photo a day.

Posted in Yard/Garden | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »