Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Really - this technique is pretty cool!

One of the things I love about designing is the opportunity to develop elegant solutions to a problem*.  The Bolsillo pocket scarf allowed me to do just that:

This one is knit in KP's self-striping Chroma yarn, in the Rollerskates colorway.

While this one uses a random striping sequence (provided in the pattern)
and is knit with four different colors of Wool of the Andes.
While I was in the design process, I looked for patterns of scarves with pockets in them.  I even found a few free ones: link, link, and link.  But none of the patterns I found did what I wanted.

I wanted to make pockets that didn't require me to pick up stitches or sew seams.  Why?  Well ... you mean other than the fact that I don't particularly to do either of those things?  I don't like when my pockets get holes in them - and I can't think of a better way for pockets to get holes than for them to have sewn-shut seams.

So I pondered.  How could I make these pockets without seams?  How could I make them without picking up stitches?  I could knit them in the round, but I really wanted to have a distinct bottom and distinct edges, which I couldn't figure out by knitting in the round. I pondered some more.

And ... can I tell you how very proud I was when I came up with the perfect solution?  Seriously.  It's ingenious!  It's really a modification of tubular double knitting (but it's not as hard as that makes it sound), and it makes knitting this scarf feel like magic.  I've made three of them - that's a total of 6 pockets - and every single time, I got excited when it was time to open the pocket.

I've made a couple of video tutorials to help folks who prefer to see rather than read instructions for new/innovative techniques.  The first is here.  This will show you how to knit the actual pocket.  The pocket bind-off technique (that's the magical part!) is shown in a second video, which is available to everyone who buys the pattern.  Which you can do here or via Knit Picks.

* Mathematicians in the group may very well recognize one of their brethren ... "elegant solutions" are something I learned about while toiling away earning that math degree.  But really, I can't think of a better descriptor.

Back in the swing of things?

It's been a long, long time since I last blogged (well - maybe just about a year), and while that social experiment was great fun, I think it's probably time I take on a new task - blogging about something I've been enjoying for about 18 months and that doesn't actually put me in any danger!

Besides, it's the knitting that's been occupying my time. Sometimes I feel like all I do anymore is knit. It's not true, of course, but there are days when it feels that way. The "problem" is that I have so. many. ideas. Every time I think I've narrowed the list of things to design down to a manageable number, I come up with 3 or 4 more ideas. Now, some would tell you that I'm not at all modest (I think that's bogus!), so they may not be surprised to hear this, but ... those new ideas that pop up? They're good. I mean good. Usually. At least, they feel like it at the time.

In any case, I've currently got 3 in-process designs, as well as one that's been percolating for a few months. Since I'm planning to submit a couple of those for publication, I have to keep mum on them. (That is so hard for me! One of the things I love most about designing is sharing my ideas with others. Not being able to do that because of submission guidelines has been the single most influential factor in my choosing to publish independently. It's just so hard to not share right now!)

I can share the soonest-to-be-released design, though: the monkey blanket! Tentatively titled "Swingin'," this toddler-sized afghan will include written and charted instructions for both a full-color intarsia version and a solid-color textured version. Here's the design:

Cute, right? That monkey just can't wait to play with babies!

I'm estimating a timeline that will get the pattern out within the month. Then, if there's enough interest, I'll host a knit-along. Come on, you know you want to join! Okay, think about it. I'll let you know when it's time.