Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Leveling Up my skillz +1

It's hard to compare where I am today (skill-wise) to where I was last year. I like to think of myself as a "mad hatter," more so than anything else. I mean, we all have our things that we love to make, whether it be socks or sweaters, but I just love making hats.

A lot of my major strides in knitting have happened during the past seven months. Looking back at my Ravelry set from 2010, I did knit a lot of hats. A LOT of hats. But I also experimented with a lot of smaller skills: three needle bind-offs, kitchener stitch, eyelets, picots, etc. Comparing my 2010-2011 knitting to my 2009 knitting is even stranger. Sure I knit a sweater in 2009, but that was mostly just knitting a giant tube. The only real challenge I had there was with the raglan top and I kinda fudged that up. Shhh...don't tell.

2010 also brought about stranded colorwork, my first modifications and test-knitting. I first tackled colorwork while test knitting for Ohdessa on Ravelry. I was immediately drawn to the sugar skulls on Ohdessa's Memento Mori Mittens.While I had knit mittens before, I was still a little apprehensive; I had never done colorwork and these mittens were covered in it! And Latvian Braids, another little skill I learned. This pattern also gave me my first taste of Continental style knitting.

I feel like my growth has happened most since I started working at my LYS six months ago. As I mentioned in yesterday's post, working at Wool & Co. has really inspired me to experiment more with different yarns and patterns. Since working there I've tried so many things I wouldn't normally have tried.

Like designing.

I read recently, in a novel, I think, that solitude can nurture creativity. These past few months have been some of the loneliest in my life, but they've also been some of the most fruitful in terms of my creativity. Since graduating, I've become so separated from all of my best friends due to distance and conflicting schedules. It's a terrible, terrible thing. I've made some great new friends (hello, my crafty bitches), but it was really rough there for awhile.

Spotted Cowl, my first design

Shortly after I started at Wool, we had a cowl designing competition.  And I designed my first pattern, Spotted Cowl. It was kind of a failure, to be honest, and I think only one or two people bought the pattern from the store. As a fledgling designer, I had (and still have) many things to learn about designing for an audience. First of all, the yarn I chose was relatively expensive; I used Kraemer Sterling Silk & Silver, which runs at about $20 a skein and this cowl requires one skein and a bit of a second. I also used  two skeins of Noro Silk Garden, but I was bring picky and could have gotten away with using only one skein. Either way, this is not a very fiscally friendly design. Second, I chose to use stranded colorwork, which doesn't appeal to many of our customers, but I didn't realize that then. Also, fewer people are willing to knit a double wrap, stranded cowl with sock yarn.

Designer Page on Ravelry
I didn't give up and now I have 10 (!) designs published on Ravelry. You can view my designer page here. I have so many more ideas for designs, but just don't have enough time to get them all done. Most of my designs are hats (of course), but I've also posted a few cowls. Designs for the future include more infinity scarves, a few vintage-inspired hats, a cropped cardigan & capelet, and (maybe) a pair of slippers.
Hats still remain my favorite things to design (and knit) and Calliope is my favorite design thus far. It has everything I love in a good hat: buttons, cables and a slightly cloche-like shape. And I love seeing all the finish objects others have been posting in the project gallery. It's exciting to see what the rest of 2011 will bring, especially since I made a resolution to try something new every single month.

January: A sweater for myself
February: A cardigan for Matt
March: A shawl
My design book


  1. Congratulations on getting so many designs out this year! I started designing in the last year also and there's so much for me to learn. Your stranded mitts are really beautiful too.

  2. I really like Calliope! Going in my queue.

  3. That hat is super cute. Congrats on taking the plunge into designing. XD

  4. Designing is a long term goal of mine. Your colourwork is beautiful too!

  5. Wow, trying something new every month - that's a hardcore resolution! I'm totally impressed. :)

  6. Congrats on getting your designs published on Ravelry! also, those mitts are lovely!

  7. Thank you all for your kind comments! I was really intimidated to start designing, but it's so much fun and really encourages creativity. I would encourage all of you to give it a whirl :)

    As for the "new thing a month" challenge, uh, some months are more successful than others haha.

  8. Incredible! I started knitting in early fall of '07, but I didn't start taking it seriously until last fall. Your incredibly trajectory is really inspiring, and it gives a "late bloomer" like me a lot of hope.

  9. *blushes*
    Thank you!
    I hope you are now a fully-fledged knitting fiend :)