Friday, February 25, 2011

Found Objects

My mom found this illustration of mine in a drawer of my grandma's house. We've been working our way through many years of accumulated things, and this was a really funny and pleasant surprise. I remember those styrofoam figure 8s featuring in many of my early arts and crafts projects. I think they came from the shoe factory that my grandmother worked at, but I'm not sure.

In this portrait, it seems that my five-year-old self glued the "8" on first and then drew around it. Not too sure about who the subject is, but it may be a portrait of either my grandma or my cousin, Ernie, as the title at the top is somewhat vague.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Color Inspiration

A friend of mine thought I might enjoy this clothing line from Spain called SkunkFunk, and boy was she right!  I love their creative clothing items - often they have multi-uses and/or options like zips that show or hide lovely bright patterns and color.  I love clothing items that are flexible and, needless to say, colorful!

Photo from LookBook

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Research: What's on my knitting needles!

People sometimes ask how I research a pattern:  how do I know how to make something I've never made.  Well, the short answer would be: I make it.  Or at least, I try to make this thing that I see in my head.  But, before I jump into making something abstract, I definitely do research.  I look for all kinds of knitwear (or crochet-wear) exhibiting the features I'm interested in, I find other patterns that have an element or feature that applies to what I want to do, and then, when I have time, I make these items or parts of them in order to learn the way they work.

Currently, I have this idea for a pair of colorwork mittens, but I want to be sure that this idea will work out.  My goals with the project are twofold: first is thickness - I want a pair of knitted gloves or mittens that insulate and secondly, I want to use this wonderful colorwork chart I've created!  So, thinking of solutions for warmth, I contemplated double-knitting the mittens, but after doing a gauge swatch, I realized that double knitting is really more suitable for larger blocks of colorwork and my focus in color was really a lot of seeding (1 st in color A, next st in color B)... This technique won't work with my chart, but maybe it will be the perfect solution for another project.

So, I re-read my Alice Starmore's Book of Fairisle Knitting and did a sample swatch, and then I found a really great reference in Northman Mittens by David Schulz. His pattern includes something I haven't seen so often - instructions for a lining!  The mittens also include a really simple thumb gusset, and this was one area where my expertise was lacking so I wanted to be sure I could replicate in my own design a clear explanation of what to do when you get to the thumb.

With all this in mind, I finally bit the bullet and knit 1 mitten from the Northman Mittens pattern, and was really pleased with the results.  Already in knitting I made some adjustments to the colorwork and sizing, and next I'll knit the lining.  Here's the one finished glove...

Northman Mitten: Researching for Design

Learning Through Making