Friday, 1 February 2008

Knitting By Design

One of those weeks that's flown by with lots of busyness at work alongside of which I've had blocked ears and a cold which has made communcation difficult. As a result I didn't make it to my knitting group on Tuesday. Despite this there's been the secret hug of delight every time I remember that I'm working on my first major project to design my own piece of knitting.
Having taken my lace scarf as far as it can go until the new wool arrives from Lerwick in Shetland, I decided to try out an idea I've had for some time to make a cardigan using various balls of Rowan Wool Cotton that I've acquired in my stash. It's a double knitting yarn and my baseline reference is a standard DK cardigan pattern with the right tension in an old BBC book called Knitting Fashion which I'm varying as I go along. This was also how I approached Other Half's fingerless "photography" gloves, which were a great success by the way. (And I'm to say that his travel and photography habit is not a fixation but an obsession. So that's done.)
I've got miscellaneous colours which should be enough for a complete garment but obviously I've got to make them all work together. I've started off with a pretty picot cast on and garter stitch edge in an earthy brown shade, then carried on with pale pink and a lovely warm cherry red in a modified stocking stich that has a rib row instead of every other knit row. I like the chunky textured effect this gives but am not sure that I want to use it throughout the whole piece. Placing the colours and making sure they balance across the cardigan is going to be the main challenge I think, so having done the first section of the back I'm now doing the two fronts. I'm sure there's a more scientific way of working this out but at the moment I'm enjoying the sense of freedom that trial and error involves. However, I do have in vivid memory one of my early attempts to mix colours for a cushion I was making for my Mum that ended up looking like the RAF Roundel! Unfortunately I didn't keep the sample as I was so embarrassed by it. This is rather a shame, I now realise, because often in creative work we learn as much from our mistakes and failures as from our successes.
I had a similar moment this week when I introduced some navy blue into the cardigan after the cherry red and realised that with white to come there was every risk that this would end up looking like a Yale man's cardigan from the 1950s, not the effect I was after at all. So out it came and now I'm browsing in my stitch dictionaries for some inspiration about where to go to next. Will keep you posted.