Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Focus in Knitting

I have a problem. It goes something along the lines of queuing every single pattern I come across that I stop at for more than 2 seconds on Ravelry. In fact, I have 370 patterns in my queue and it's not stopping! It's really getting (if not already) ridiculous, even from my perspective. There are probably enough patterns there to have me knitting for an entire lifetime - at the rate that I knit - and still not be finished by then. So here's the thing: I want to put some more focus on what I choose to knit.

So to start with, what do I want from my knitting? I think, for the most part, I knit because I want the finished product. I want to wear something beautiful that I've created with my own two hands. And, for the most part, I've succeeded so far. I'm pretty satisfied with the projects I churn out, especially as of late (specifically within the last 2 years or so), but when I think about what to knit next, I totally panic! Justifiably, I think, because hey! I've got 370 patterns in my queue! I look through it every so often and cut stuff out that I don't think I'd wear even if I did get to knitting it up (I actually got to 400 queued items and cut it down to 370 already).

On that note, I've been thinking that I should make some basics, sort of like an "ideal wardrobe". The most recent dress I made, the frost flowers one, fits into this category, I think. It's got its little lace details, which makes it that much better for me, since it isn't too boring, and it's long enough that it's appropriate for most things. I want more of that sort of clothing: plain, simple, and most importantly comfortable, but still special enough that I'm going to reach for it over and over again.

So to put in short, maybe wearing something handknit every day, if that's not getting too ahead of myself. I don't mean I'd only wear handknit items, but I'd like for me to be able to incorporate it into my everyday life. Some clothes I already do, some fewer than others because the fit or the style just isn't doing it for me, but for the clothes that I do wear often, I want more of that sort. So over the course of this year, I think I'm going to make some sketches of what I'd like to add to my wardrobe. I've made a few doodles (in class, of course, where else?) that I can probably link to some patterns I've been meaning to knit for well, forever. So that's another one of my little side projects I think I'm going to try to keep up this year. This is just to lay down my thoughts so I know what direction I want to go.

Monday, January 6, 2014

First FO of 2014

First finished object of 2014! Hurrah!

Detail of the side lace insert.

The frost flowers dress I was aiming to finish by the end of 2013 didn't quite get finished in time... but I was close! And so it is now the first finished object of 2014! The details are all more or less on my ravelry page, but in short: I am ecstatic with how this turned out, although there are a few things I'd like to change if I were to knit this dress again or knit something similar (which will probably happen, considering the fact that I purchased 4 more skeins of Botany Lace in a beautiful dusty rose colourway).

So here are the little quibbles I have with this dress so far (I haven't taken it on an outing yet, and it also has not been blocked; I usually don't block my garments, only lace):
  • The bottom hem bothers me a bit. I had to knit it a little longer so the garter stitch didn't flip up - I tried doing decreases (which I kept, but also bother me because I did the decreases on the purl row instead of the knit row directly before the garter stitch hem), but the hem still flipped up and out, especially at the back. Next time, I would do the decreases on the knit row, then switch needle sizes (half of this hem is done in 2.5mm needles, since I ripped out the BO and added to it) and do 10 rows of garter stitch before using 3.25mm needles to do the BO loosely, as I have done.
  • Pull in the raglans a bit. Do the decreases over fewer rows. It's fine as it is as well, though, but a closer fit around the underarms would be great.
  • Do 0.5-1" less of knitting between the last bust increase and starting the AH, in order to pull up the lace a bit. On that same point, only do 1.5 repeats instead of 2 full repeats of lace, and start it as though I were doing 2 repeats (so start the lace a bit later so it ends up a little bit higher).
  • The neck could probably look better if I had done a bit better planning, but it's actually fine the way it is. It would be fixed by fixing the raglans.
It looks like a lot, but I'm still really happy with this dress, and hopefully I'll be able to write out a pattern for it, since I'd like to try my hand at pattern-writing and publish one pattern this year. We'll see how that turns out, especially seeing as how I simply fudged the neck while I was knitting this up!
Here's one of the four skeins of Botany Lace I purchased at Romni's Boxing Day Sale.