My design process that is. I've been thinking a lot about how I want to continue expanding Irish Girlie Knits Designs in the next year. One of those ways is to continue learning. As many of you know, my first for-sale pattern was Cotty, a sock design that was born at sock camp. I think by that point I had knit 50 pairs of socks, none of them plain vanilla socks, either. Once the design bug hit me, the sock designs just kept coming. The sock provides a very comfortable canvas for me to design on. For example, I knew as I was designing the Sleepy Hollow hat that this pattern would work well for a sock.
One sock finished in the lovely new Bare Naked Wools Breakfast Blend sock yarn from Knitspot. I just need to get this baby written up, get it to test knitters, and finish knitting the second sock. I cast on that second sock immediately!
But just as comfortable as I am designing socks, it has been a steep learning curve for some other designs. Infinity scarves, baby things, hats, those aren't so hard. Before the sock obsession I knit a lot of those. But shawls. My first shawl that I ever knit was my Bellingrath Shawlette. Silly me, lace with patterning on both sides! But I did love that design. And I think I enjoy designing shawls lately because there is the challenge of learning and trying something new. So one of my goals this year has been to knit other shawl patterns to. Especially since last year I didn't really knit any project other than something I was designing or had designed. Well, I did knit a pair of Toast (um....a tube!) and a wee pumpkin. But that's it. I blame those graduate school classes.
First up, Hazeline from the Fall in Full Color Club, by Anne Hanson (duh! if I want to learn more from other designers, why not go to the best, right?!). I cast on this weekend in a vintage Plucky Knitter MCN sock yarn.
Ah! Such a freeing feeling to knit someone else's pattern! To not have to worry about making notes all the time, or decisions about next steps. So nice to just follow along and knit. I'm not putting any deadlines on these projects and I'm using stash yarn that I love but probably won't design with. And I'm hoping at the end of the year, I just may have a gift pile going for the holidays.
Which leads me to another process, and that is my process as a knitter. I've gone from knit like crazy for everyone at the holidays to the last two holidays knitting very few things if any for anyone. The only Christmas gift I knit last year was a pair of Toast for Lil' Snowboarder's teacher. I rarely knit teacher gifts, but she is AMAZING! She deserved cashmere. And I really truly enjoyed knitting those for her and gifting them to her. It made me remember why I loved knitting things for people who truly appreciate them. Designing hasn't made it easy for me to frantically knit those gifts late into the night, but I am going to make a more conscious effort to knit for those I love this year. I'm hoping that having someone else's pattern on the needles may help with that. We'll see.
My knitting time last year was so limited that I was always working on something design related. I didn't feel like I could afford the time to work on something else. But I realized while knitting those Toasts at Christmas that I have some extra knitting time if it isn't something complicated. I whipped those babies up in no time between car rides, waiting in line, and at the movies. No, I can't knit on a new design on a car ride or at the movies unless I'm at a certain point, but I can knit on an easy sock. The plain vanilla socks I've been avoiding (so boring to me!) may serve a good purpose now. I'm giving it a try. A very very very mindless knit will be on the needles at all times. Again, something with no deadline, no rush to finish. First up is a sock for dad. I grabbed the first STR heavyweight skein that was already wound.
I'm surprised how far along I am given how little I've knit on these. Just this week I've knit on this sock, the shawl above, and knit one of my sleepy hollow socks.
But here's the downside I discovered. I'm really enjoying just knitting. The easy sock. The shawl pattern that isn't mine. It has been so refreshing. So much so that when Anne released the first pattern in her Bare Naked Knits Club (I joined the pattern only version which is still open) this weekend, I had to resist casting on the hat. Seriously. I quickly thought up three different yarns in my stash that I could use. I contemplated if maybe I should see if there was still a spot open in the yarn version of the club because then I could definitely work on my goal of learning new things if the yarn just showed up too.And then I remembered my to-design list and those pretty new yarns from TNNA and resisted. For now.
I think this is why I love our craft so much. There is still so much to learn from knitting and that continues to bring me so much joy. It is why I know eventually I will start spinning too.
Does any of this resonate with you guys? What is your process as a knitter or as a designer? I'd love to hear.
Oh, and before I go, can I ask you guys a favor? It is my baby sister's birthday tomorrow and she isn't feeling well. Can you help me wish her a very happy birthday in the comments?
Lots of organizing and cleaning happened this weekend and I finally put this picture in a frame. It is one of my favorites from that day! Happy birthday little sis!!! I love you!!