Trials, persistance and the process

The sample for my latest lacy Lena design is now complete and work has commenced on pattern writing.  That was my focus yesterday and will be for today as well.  I should finish today. This phase has definite merit, and I'm grateful to say that I enjoy it as much as the knitting – well, almost as much.  There's nothing I like to do more than knit. 

Writing about the process has a welcomed way of shoring, while wrapping, things up. It's the point at which I smooth out the tangles of the trials encountered along the way.  Despite best planning, it's just impossible to forecast all that will come up and often necessary to engage the needles, being prepared for some rips and retakes.  This happened twice during Lena.

The first instance was about the direction of the shaping – the increases and decreases.  My usual inclination is to face slants inward for decreases and outward for increases.  I know there are no rules for this, it's just what I usually do. I had several inches underway when I realized how my usual conflicted with the nature of its double wing lace. The slants were fighting with each other – not pretty – so ripping and restarting ensued.  In my remake I worked the shaping with the lace, echoing the slant direction at the point each occurs. Opting for consistency with the lace turned out much better.

The second instance I handled differently, pausing for a prototype. Worked in the round I decided to separate the front and back bodice with a 2 stitch border of reverse stockinette and apply shaping inside of these on each side.  Again, consistent with the stitch pattern of the lace it provided a separation without calling undue attention to itself.  Then once it split at the armhole and was worked flat, each side would have 1 of the reverse stockinette stitches along with an added selvage. As I got closer to the split point I found myself second guessing this solution.  How would it look? I wanted invisible seams.. Not keen on more ripping, I put Lena aside and cast on a second piece as a prototype to test.  About an hour later I proved its success and carried on. Removing my doubts, this time was well spent for sure.

So now back to pattern writing.  Lena's launch is scheduled for next week, following Juliet's photo session.  Can't wait!

July is Lena

I've got my July design nicely underway, named Lena for my great grandfather's cousin. (It's this family line – the brother of my great, great, grandfather who traveled with him from Switzerland in the late 1800's – that eventually marries into my husband's family long before I do, but that's a story for a future knitted piece that I'll get to pretty soon.  Sadly I am running out of family names and will eventually resort to assigning design namesakes to those of us who are still living, though this may well please my pals. Family tree research sure has been fun!)

The design for Lena was spawned initially from my search for a lace.  I ran across the Double Wing pattern in one of Barbara Walker's books.  It's easily memorized (a requirement) with short repeats and I loved that there was both an open version

and a closed one.

Initially I thought they might look cool paired, but after swatching I found the open version more appealing so I stuck with it. 

At this writing, Lena's bodice will be shaped, as per my usual, and with a wide scoop neck.  Her sleeves will be slightly longer than those for recently published Marjorie.  I like this silhouette, and lately like playing with raglan sleeves so I stuck with these design elements too.  I'm working the sample with Quince chickadee, also my usual, but in the new-to-me petal color that I've found to be unexpectedly fantastic –

at first glance almost colorless in its pale-ness, but while working it has become nicely saturated.  It feels quite rich to me by now, and a favorite. 

Also note, I'm tweeting!, turned on to twitter by Juliet who found, to my delight, that fellow tweeters were mentioning my designs.  For those of you who tweet too, you'll find me there as @DebHossKnits.  I hope you'll follow me as I post regular updates about my knitting progress, and maybe a bit more.