A Wee Bitty Obsessed

On Monday I submitted my first-ever knitwear design to an editor/publisher.  I’m waiting to hear back as to whether it was accepted, fingers firmly crossed.  It was a fun project to puzzle out, incorporating many features that I’d never worked with before, so there was a huge learning curve.  Turns out I love huge learning curves—who knew?

Designing knitwear is largely a matter of geometry and tracking rates of change.  I very much enjoyed the exercise.  In fact, it’s given me a whole new appreciation for knitting and a new sense of freedom about what’s possible.  If I can create a 3D model of the human body, and then through sampling and swatching figure out the fabric per square inch to cover that model.  Well, then I can knit whatever the heck I like!  No more being a slave to patterns.  Whoo-hoo!

I’m also thinking that this fabric-to-3D model work might work for designing fabric with woven cloth.  Which might just get me over that “designing clothing” mental block.

(Speaking of designing clothing, have you seen the cool Handwoven / Väv design challenge? I’m giving it a thought.  Heck, I’m starting to scheme ways to get to Sweden.  Smart textiles is one of the conference topics, how cool is that?)

Anyway, back to the pattern that I finished up on Monday.  No spoilers, but here’s a sneak peek.

Sneak preview of knitwear design

My looms are all tied up right now with challenging weave projects, so when I wanted something mindless to do while taking Kai to after school events, or waiting at the doctor’s office, I turned to my stash and discovered a pile of miscellaneous balls of worsted weight cotton (Sugar n’ Cream) in a variety of colors.

I briefly puzzled out my variant of the “Stupid-Simple Wash Cloth” pattern.  You know, the one where you increase for a while, and then decrease for a while.  After I knit the first one, I thought “pair that with some homemade or fancy soap, and that’s the start of a fine holiday present.”  It felt wonderfully thrifty to be converting stash into presents.  Add to that the near-instant gratification of knitting a wash cloth in an hour or two.  And…my brain got a bit stuck on wash cloths.

Handknit wash cloths

I’ve knit eight so far, with no sign of stopping.  I promised myself I’d stop when the cotton ran out (the whole point was to use up stash, right?) but then I taught Eric to knit a dishtowel.  And then Kai wanted to learn, but he wanted blue yarn.  So I wound up at Michael’s and some cunning balls of yarn leapt into my shopping basket when I wasn’t looking.

Only one or two…or perhaps three.  But at the rate I’m knitting wash cloths, I still have a chance of winning.  Especially since I’m recruiting the whole family now.

As long as I don’t enter a JoAnn fabric or Michael’s I should be fine.  Right?

On a related gift-giving subject, since we are in the final lap of the holiday-gift-crafting season.  Eric, my husband, has a need.  With the weather cooling down, the coffee in his French press gets cold before he can finish it.  He’d taken to wrapping it in a towel to keep it warm and opined that he wished there was something like a tea cozy, only for coffee presses.

Bouyed on by my recent knit-design success, I dug into the stash and found a bulky feltable wool.  (I recently learned from Teresa Ruch that feltable wool is more insulating than superwash wool.  Which makes sense if you know how superwash wool is made and think about it a bit.)

I whipped out my measuring tape (after searching for it for a good long while.  I swear, gremlins come into my studio and hide the dratted things) and measured the press in several places.  I have a cunning plan, involving wool, DPNs, and ribbing.

French press cozy, some assembly required

I got Eric and Kai to watch Franklin Habit’s video on holiday knitting.  Eric, a laconic fellow, said dead-pan afterwards: “That seems…familiar.”  And Kai, less laconic chimed in with feeling, “Yeah, REAL familiar.”

Nevertheless, I will be knitting Eric a French press cozy for his upcoming birthday.  Likely there will be cables.  Hope he didn’t want roller skates.

Compulsory Weaving Content

I got an email asking how the singles wool/alpaca fabric turned out.  I never got the interesting tracking or crinkling I had hoped for.  I washed the samples two ways: full on machine wash with hot water and towels,and the “hand wash” machine cycle.  (The third sample on the right is the unwashed fabric.)

washed samples

Both felted too much for my liking.  So I cut off another chunk of fabric and washed it by hand (something I try to avoid, hence the machine-cycle testing) and liked that result very much.

hand-washed alpaca woll fabric

Please share your thoughts: I enjoy your comments and feedback!