Planning and persistence

Among several tasks on my excellent, new, to-do tracking system for last week, there was only one real priority – to re-publish my May design (that I posted about a few weeks ago in Catching Up). The task seemed do-able.  

It's true that what started out as a simple rewrite to modify yarn and add metrics had taken a turn when I decided to redevelop it to be knit in the round instead of flat and embed its shaping invisibly inside the cable stitch pattern instead of at its edges.  Then the gauge of my new yarn, Quince's cotton Willetturned out to be slightly different than its obsolete predecessor and required a bunch of recalculations.  But by now I had made great progress on the bodice, and had only to trim the neckline and work the ever-so-short cap sleeves.  Then I'd be done.  Re-publishing within the week seemed do-able and I would happily check this off of my list!

Cotton is less elastic than wool, and because of this, I found out, tends to be less forgiving in some aspects of sweater-making, such as picking up stitches along the deep v-neckline of May for its rib trim. The stitch counts my calculations told me I needed left noticeable gaps, and after a few trials I determined that the problem lay in the absence of a selvage along this neckline.  Since the v starts below the armholes and the piece is knitted bottom-up and now in the round, this remedy required both sides of the bodice front and its back to be unraveled down to this start point.  I took a breath, did this, and began again.  

After 2 days of re-knitting, with my neckline now complete with selvage, I gave it another go – with the same disappointing result, unfortunate gaps along the pick up edge.  I took a few more breaths, (I did breathe in between these trials, but hardly), unraveled for the second time, re-knitted it as it was, and while I was doing so thought hard about another solution.

In my third attempt, I tried a method I'd read about but hadn't used before.  With smaller needles I picked up a stitch in every row along the front v edges  many more stitches than I needed, but with no gaps.  On the trim round that followed where I introduced the knit 1, purl 1 rib, along these front v edges I modified the sequence as knit 1, purl 2 together to decrease these extra stitches away.  Finally, success!  

4 days later.. so much for planning.

Among several tasks on my new to-do tracking system for this week, there is only one real priority – to re-publish May.  The task seems do-able.


Update  revised May finally re-published 1/15/2016.

Making boxes

With holidays now over I can post about my gift to the new couple that was most certainly a labor of love. Digital images are just fine, but I wanted Juliet and James to have something in their hands, to hold, when they reminisce about their wedding weekend. 

Using Artisan State, I made 6 layflat books where landscape-positioned photos (most shot by Fat Orange Cat Studio) each span across 2 open pages.  See more details about this project here.  (I heartily recommend both vendors, btw, for book making and wedding photography, respectively.) 

Once the photo books were in hand it was clear they could use a case, and that's when my project took the unexpected turn of opening up the world of my not-that-distant past (which sometimes feels like a lifetime ago) and re-igniting my interest on that front.  In addition to knitting over the years I've had fun making books and boxes to present personal collections of photos and objects.  When I left my administrative job at Harvard I intended to focus all attention on these.  I don't recall when or how my interests shifted and knit design took center stage – where it remains – but it will likely have to share a little of the spotlight for my attention from this point on.

Venturing into my wedding box project, after all this time I had to remind myself about the technical details.  My glue containers, labeled with dates to track shelf life, told me it had been 5 years since I touched them.  I also soon realized that I needed to find new sources for some materials.  Paper Source, once great for book artist supplies is now more of a gift store.  And although Blick carries book cloth, its sheets are very small and weren't suitable for the project.  A google search yielded Harcourt Bindery in Charlestown that sells supplies along with fabulous hand bound books for all purposes, and a trip to their studio workspace reminded me why I loved this craft.  I walked away with a sheet of book cloth large enough to wrap my dimensions twice, and renewed inspiration to get started. The project also motivated me to take an inventory of where I'd been.   Here's some of what I found.

5 years ago, I left 2 projects underway – Watch Boxes (a collection of the 24 wrist watches Marlene and I had saved over the years) and Postcards (postcard correspondence collected by my mum during the 1930's and 40's).  
I'll aim to get back to these, finally, in the new year.