shawl

On Submitting A Pattern (and taking a little break)

On submitting a pattern...

I’ve made references to my big project (which is actually rather small in real-life scale) as The Project That Ate The Entire Universe, but I haven’t really talked about it. I actually can’t, because the project was a knitting pattern that I submitted to an online publication and I’m not allowed to show or give away any details until it is either published or rejected. I can’t even tell you what the pattern is, or what its name is, but I did want to talk a little about the act of submitting my first pattern somewhere. Partly because it was a very important goal to me, and partly inspired by this post by Rachel at Stitched In Color. In that post, Rachel talks about getting personal on your blog – do you do it? Do you avoid it? In either case, why, and how to you find the right balance for you? I’m summarizing, but it really struck a chord with me. I think about this a lot. I really don’t want my blog to be just an endless stream of show-and-tell, one project after another with no sense of the person that made them or what connects them all. But I find it difficult to inject ‘me’ into my writing – I’m only just now starting to feel like my posts read as if I actually wrote them.

I want to try and make an effort to tell you more about me, let you get to know me better — in the hopes that, just as it is when you meet people in person, you will see something in me that you can connect with (beyond a love of yarn or embroidery floss) and stick around with me. Maybe you’ll even feel moved to tell me more about you. That would be awesome.

So, here’s a start. I submitted this pattern and it was an awful lot of work. More than I expected actually, and very rewarding in a way, but still a lot of work. But I felt like it was an important thing for me to do. If it’s not picked to be published, I can just lay it out in my own style and release it myself, and I’ll have a higher quality pattern than anything else I’ve done so far. But if it is chosen, something I did could be seen by a lot of people, and maybe a few of them would like it enough to knit it, or to find out more about me and what I do. That would be flippin’ sweet.

I really had to push myself to get this done, because I have a terrible tendency to find reasons not to do things. I suppose a lot of us do that, it’s kind of natural, but I’m really trying to stop. I had the idea for this pattern a while back, when I was encouraged by Eirlys of Scrapiana to submit a pattern for a book she had heard about. I would’ve loved to, but the deadline really was way too short by the time I heard about it — like two days until submission of the pattern and finished item by post. I’d have had to time travel back several weeks to make it, but it was the push I needed to give me a design idea that I really loved. I decided to stick with the idea and submit it elsewhere, something I’d been thinking about for a while anyway. I mulled over the pattern details for almost too long, starting the finished pattern and knits a little too late, but I pushed myself to get it done in time anyway. I could so easily have used the lack of time as an excuse not to submit – a true one, but still an excuse – and I knew if I let that happen, I would always feel like I’d been a chicken. Anyone remember my resolution at the beginning of 2011? Stop wimping out.

I barely slept for a week, I snagged some awesome testers who helped me just because they’re awesome, I paid a friend in cookies for her photography services, and still owe another some cookies of her own for her testing and editing input. I discovered a massive mistake just as I was binding off the last sample piece, literally, and shed actual tears. But I fixed it, re-knit, wrote it up, edited, and got it all done with a day to spare before the deadline. Phew! I keep daydreaming about what my reaction will be if it’s accepted, and what it will be if it’s not. I can’t help myself, though I am really, really trying not to get my hopes up too high and accept that the odds are against me. The competition must be so fierce. It’s a cute pattern, if I do say so myself, but I’m realistic enough to know that it’s not going to take the knitting world by storm. But I did it anyway, and I can honestly say that’s all that matters this time. No matter what happens, now I know I have the guts to do it. I’ll have already put myself out there, and you only have to do that for the first time once. Thank goodness.

Of course I’ll let you know what happens but, in the meantime, I felt like it’d be nice to work on a just-for-fun knitting project before I start work on my next pattern. Cleansing the palate, in a way.

Magrathea Shawl WIP

So over the long Jubilee weekend, in addition to being cruelly struck down by a cold that I’m still recovering from, I cast on for the delicious Magrathea shawl by Martina Behm. I’ve been trying to find the perfect yarn for this for about 6 months, unable to accept anything that wasn’t very bouncy and very pink. This is one of those rare cases where I wanted my version to be almost exactly like the sample.

Magrathea Shawl WIP

I found the exact yarn at iKnit: a very sproingy superwash bright pink-with-a-touch-of-coral yarn with silver sparkles. It doesn’t photography terribly well, but it’s perfect. I am so smitten with the yarn, the pattern, the whole thing. Magrathea is an uncommonly clever design and a pleasure to knit – I’m already kind of sad that I’ll finish it at some point!

Big Week Off: Knitting

So, as mentioned yesterday, I took last week off – pretty much just for funsies. When you’re part of the unemployed hoard and trying to make a go of the crafty thing, at least as much as you can in the meantime, there’s an icky guilt that comes with any time ‘off’, so you kind of stop taking any. But even so, progress is still so much slower than I’d like, which makes me even less likely to take any.

But your brains do still need some rest from time to time. So I spent the week doing, well, crafty stuff. But crafty stuff that was just for fun, not really useful in any way, and did things as I felt like it. Very relaxing! I hurt my arm / hand somehow, so there wasn’t as much knitting as I might have done otherwise – but even injured, I ain’t no slouch. I finished the Terra shawl and pinned it out for blocking:

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And, sadly, frogged the Umaro lap blanket and started over with fewer stitches. I’m not sure it’s going to be big enough to bother with at this size, but it’s awfully fun to knit, so I’ll just keep on for a little while and see how it goes. I really love knitting this one, there’s something so deeply satisfying about the pattern:

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And then I started some plain stockinette Noro socks. Pretty much just to watch the amazing colors emerge from the skein:

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Yum, I can’t wait for that red section to come out and play!

When to say when …

I seem to be on about a two week rotation right now with knitting and embroidery. I binge on one so severely that, after about two weeks, I desperately need a break from it. Which of course makes me go crazy for the other and I end up starting a million new projects at once.

Which is exactly what I’ve been doing for the last few days. The G on my Sajou sampler had me stumped so a break seemed sensible. I like to let these things roll around in my head a bit before I decide what to do. So I started the Umaro blanket (pattern by Brooklyn Tweed, see it on Ravelry) and have made some decent progress already.

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And then the Terra shawl, also by Brooklyn Tweed. (He’s amazing.)

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I blame this one on my awesome friend Holly, because she was knitting a Terra so beautiful and squishy, I just couldn’t resist.

Then I spied a delicious Big Herringbone Cowl on Instagram, knitted by the also awesome Jaclyn, and had to cast on for that too.

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Oy vey, have I no self-control?!?! But in my defence, all of these new projects are using up stash yarn, which is always nice. On the other hand, there’s a good chance I’m going to run into yardage issues on all of them, which could mean trying to hunt down and buy more. Not really in the spirit of stashbusting.

In any case, I think it might officially be time to say when. These WIPs are in serious danger of getting out of control. And I’m not even counting the cardigan I’m meant to be knitting for my brother, or the socks that don’t ever seem to grow, or the new designs I’m going to start messing with this week. I’m pretty sure my project basket is at its maximum capacity.

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And you know what? I’m already starting to feel itchy for the Sajou sampler again. Oh boy.

Handspun Cladonia Shawl

Cladonia Shawl

Finally! I’m so pleased with how she came out – isn’t she pretty? To be honest, I wasn’t totally crazy about this shawl while everyone else was knitting it. I think the colors the sample was knit in just aren’t for me and sometimes that clouds your judgement of the pattern as a whole. It shouldn’t, we knitters should be able to look past the sample yarn and just see the design, but sometimes it’s hard! I’m sure it works the other way too – a design you might not have liked otherwise looks better to you if it’s shown in a color or yarn you love.

Cladonia Shawl

Anyway, I was on the fence about Cladonia until I saw the amazing version knit by Monika of Smoking Hot Needles. Monika’s an amazing knitter, only in part because she has such a beautiful way with pairing yarns to patterns, and I was smitten with her version. Introducing a new high-contrast color into the lace border was genius, and popping in just a touch of a bright color (her green) was even better. Her color arrangement made all the sections of the shawl really work perfectly together.

Cladonia Shawl

So what better way to show my appreciation of Monika’s knitting than to shamelessly copy her?! (If you see this, Monika, sorry about that, I hope you know it’s a compliment!) In a mad fit of spinning mojo, I gathered up a pile of batts I’d bought from different people (I’m sorry I don’t have the labels anymore, so I can’t give credit to the lovely batt-makers) at different events only to discover that they looked perfect together. I still needed a fourth yarn for those eyelet rows so I actually just took the leftovers of the lighter purple (from the stripey section) and over-dyed it! I figured that if I kept within the purple family, an over-dyed version of one of the yarns already used would have to match. So I dumped some magenta over it and hoped for the best.

Cladonia Shawl

I’m so in love with it, I can’t wait to wear it somewhere! And because I’m not really the best spinner in terms of getting the yarn weight I was aiming for (it’s always thinner than I intended), my yarns were more like a very heavy laceweight (maybe ever so slightly heavier than Malabrigo lace) and the shawl came out very airy and drapey. Funny how Cladonia started off as a shawl I was just so-so about when now I could knit a million of ’em!

One row to go

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Lace section restored and the color layout much improved, I’ve reached the edging row (aka the last row) of Cladonia. Whee! I decided against the looped edging and to go with a simple picot edging as a few other Ravelers had done. I felt the looped edging was too much – especially for me, I’m not usually a dainty edging kinda girl – and has too much potential to look sloppy if it’s not blocked just so. do Funny thing is, in 5 years of knitting, I’ve never done a picot edge before! Turns out it’s simple enough, just a little time-consuming. I suspect it will take me more than one evening to get this last row done, but the next time you see this shawl, it should be all finished and blocked.

In the meantime, I’m planning for my next just-for-fun knit, the Magrathea shawl in yarn I plan to dye myself this weekend. That’s already a bit of a story, but more on that later.

In the even meaner-time, there’s been a lot of stitching been going on behind the scenes over here and I hope to have some news to share very soon! Eep!

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