Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Indigo Flowers Sketches

I suddenly remembered that I haven't done a pen-and-ink sketch for Indigo Flowers Vest yet. How can a design be a design without a line sketch? So here it is: a one minute sketch.

You see, I have finished the front pieces, but haven't started the back yet. Once again I face a dilemma. This time it's about the ratio between lace and solid Stockinette stitches.

As typed on the sketch, the dark hatches represent Calmer and the wavy lines Zephyr.

Which one do you like ;-)?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Indigo Flowers III

Click to read about Indigo Flowers and Indigo Flowers II.

These flowers have been on and off needles for sometime now, and when they are on my needles, I love how they grow (albeit slowly). Both yarns (Calmer and Zephyr) are smooth and soft, and I have yet to get tired of the cool colors. Good signs! I surely hope that this vest would become a wardrobe staple for me. Well, although there were a few moments that I had to pause and double-check my decreases and see on which row I was at, it took me less time to finish the second half front piece.

Now both front pieces are waiting for three-needle bind-off ;-):

Looking at the neckline, I frowned a bit and decided that some finishing touches might be necessary. I did not expect to get this irregular neckline, but hey, it's lace and lace is supposed to be wavy!

Now this problem directly leads me to another one: the back neckline would be wavy, too--vertical ripples will appear. My current plan is to finish it with a few rows of garter stitches. Or maybe I can add a ton of beads along the neckline?

Oh and I almost forgot to say that the two lace panels are not mirror-imaged. I thought about that before casting on the second half. Then I decided to make them identical, because:
1. It is easier to keep track of the shaping.
2. When sewing with a print fabric which has a very small pattern repeat (6 X 6 sts here), few people would try to match the pattern precisely. It's simply unnoticeable.

On Saturday I made a few delicious pom-poms with Belle. My first time for such decadent pom-poms and my hands were (almost) shaking when cutting the wrapped yarn apart. Since then I could not keep my hands off them ;-). Silk pom-poms are supposed to be delicious, aren't they?

That's all for now. Maybe my next post will be the last for Indigo Flowers--stay tuned and have a great day!


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Back to Blog

I just discovered that I have not written anything here for almost three weeks! Shame on you, Iris! Well I may protest and say that I actually did do some designs which I cannot post for now. But alas, the Indigo Flowers vest is still miles away from finishing, although 20 hrs was the projected knitting time and still is.

The good thing is that I cleaned up a small room on the first floor and started to call it my studio. Beautiful tall trees covered with dark green vines aren't bad to look at, and to watch red squirrels running back and forth on wires is surely entertaining.

Do you want to see what color palette I am into this week?
Baby Kid, my favorite aran weight mohair, silky and warm.

They do shed though. Leopard and I went to a friend's wedding recently and I was wearing a shrug made with this yarn to cover my bare shoulders. Two hours later, Leopard looked like a silver fox!

Three balls of Belle, a 100% silk DK weight:

Well, are these really a proper winter palette? Personally, I can pull it off only with some shocking red accessories. Otherwise I'd get frozen just by looking at them!

Oh I almost forgot to mention that my Malabrigo gloves appeared on CRAFT magazine blog earlier this month. Guess I don't need to say that I'm a little thrilled? I frequent their blog to see their newly added cool pattern links. These people have an eye for fresh and whimsical ideas!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Indigo Flowers II

It's the weather. High temperature and high humidity had successfully prevented me from knitting anything for the past ten days. Instead, I spent my leisure time drawing, sewing, and reading art history books. When I finally picked up the smooth bamboo needles (last night), it was refreshing. The result, my friends, was this piece of Indigo Flowers.

The schematic sketch was done a while ago. Shown here is the sketch for the sample. There is a bit of waist shaping, and the V-neck starts 2" (5 cm) below the sleeve openings.

There are several things to say about the design. Firstly it is done on two straight needles. I prefer knitting in the round, but when I am not 100% sure about the results--in this case it's the look and shape of the large lace panels--I work on straight needles to save time. Secondly, I started with a front piece instead of the back piece, for I have to see how the lace works at the shoulder, then decide how wide the back lace panel should be. Finally, the back neck shaping is undecided at the moment (see the question mark?); again it is because we are dealing with lace here, we just have to wait and see.

This vest has been sized up to 45" chest circumference, as I consider it a flattering piece for most women. Now that I have a large enough piece, I can see that the lace panel actually provides a lot of ease, and follows the curves smoothly. It seems unnecessary to change the shaping for larger sizes--it suits me well, I'm lazy ;-).

So far it has been smooth and easy, and my projection of the knitting time is surprisingly short (~20 hours). I guess it's because of the needle size (US7, 4.5 mm) used. The very simple, 6 X 6 lace pattern has helped too. Only after I bound off the stitches for sleeve opening did I start to spend time thinking about how to distribute the decreases. After some sketching, I decided to decrease over the Calmer part until there are 6 stitches left, then decrease over the garter stitch border of the lace panel. Finally the outer most lace repeat will lose a few stitches--we'll be at the shoulder by then.

All right, that's all for now. I'll keep you updated ;-).