Beginning Patternmaking: Perspectives on Frogs and Rips

So a couple of announcements to start this week's post--Mom, AKA Amy, is going to be out of town for the next two weeks visiting some of our more far-flung family. Dad and I will be doing our best while she's away, but hopefully Mom will, for your sake and ours, keep her phone on hand. (Right, Mom? Mom?)

Naturally, this marks the end of the Fall 2014 class season at Kniticality, but we've all got projects to finish (or start) and the holiday season looms in middle distance. We're here for you! (Albeit more with, like, moral support until Mom gets back and then, yeah, man, bring it). Scheduled classes will resume in January. (If you want a reminder, throw down your email addy and get the newsletter.)

We're also getting ready for a Very Special Kniticality Winter Event--keep an eye out for more information!

My terrible concept drawing for the intarsia cowl. You're welcome.

My terrible concept drawing for the intarsia cowl. You're welcome.

In other news, I kind of feel like I've leveled up recently as a knitter--I just learned intarsia for a cowl I'm designing--pics to come! I finished the prototype last week and was rather surprised that the intarsia was the easiest part. (Oh man isn't the first 25% of a project the best? I'd just like to never get any further on anything, ever! And rip it all out from there, over and over again. Yup.) I've never done colorwork more complicated than horizontal stripes but I Had This Idea and now I'm obsessed.

I started by doing a couple of drawings, much like the one above, and then got out the yarn and needles and just started knitting. My first set of stops and starts got the intarsia skillset going, everything after that was the result of one bright idea after another winking in and out of brief existence. If you count every time I got four or five rows and and then realized x or y wasn't working or had something better occur to me, I probably started over between 15 and 17 times.

I sewed for a while as a teenager and always enjoyed making things up and trying new ideas. Sometimes I'd buy a pattern and try to make something elegant and sophisticated, but usually I was thinking more like "the worst part of sewing is the sewing, I will find a way to make a Zero-Sewing Skirt" and then wearing whatever the results of that happened to be. Incidentally, the best version of the Zero-Sewing Skirt was sort of like a kilt made with a bazillion external safety pins, worn with very Large Boots.

The point here is that something feels different about designing for knitting. There's something slightly less onerous about ripping back a few rows, or all the rows, than pulling out a seam and redoing it. Maybe it's something about creating the fabric as well as the object? In the moments between realizing that Everything Is Not Awesome and casting on again, watching the fabric disappear into a pile of wavy string does have its own sort of magic.

Mom's been pulling some new designs together, too, I'm getting them ready for print as we speak! Designing layouts for instructions is a fun new problem--making sure everything makes visual and actual sense so that the pattern is as easy to follow as possible, but also Really Pretty. 

Anybody out there doing some designing or having a good time making it up as you go along?

--Janine Paris, junior Amy at Kniticality.