Lessons learnt

Alert: I will be back at Cafe Crimson tomorrow from 2pm to around 4pm. I will, as it happens, have a few Namaste bags with me; so if you’re curious to see them in the artificial flesh, now’s your chance. The lovely Gabrielle is meeting me; will you?
Details: CC is on Upper Richmond Road, Putney, about a block away from Stash and right next to the theatre. Easy access from Putney rail or East Putney tube. Email or leave a comment if you want my mobile number and/or directions.
What’s that? You’re on the Outer Hebrides, you’re utterly crushed that you can’t make it and you’re dying to see Gecko Ridge? Well… if you insist.
I’m telling you, this is lightning fast progress. You may not think so, but you have to consider that these (nearly) six squares were all made on a handful of suburban train trips. I have been working on The Coat at home for a while, and The Scarf at the office and most train rides, and this has just filled in a few gaps. Lightning fast. Too fast. I don’t want it to end.
So, now the coat is behind me, I’ve quickly started swatching for the next at-home project.
The Silk Dream from Ally Pally. It is incredible stuff. I want to take a bath in it. So soft! So pretty! I’m planning a long fitted cardigan, with a little lace, a little beading and a little colourwork.
The coat, y’see,* was an interesting lesson. I loved making it. I took care to design full-fashioned shaping that would sit just so. I was very clear that I wanted something fitted fairly closely to the body — not the unstructured sort of style you would normally expect from a chunky knitted coat. And because I’ve screwed up a fair bit with my designs lately, and I wanted to get this utterly right, I was careful to check my Designing Knitwear book (Deborah Newton) for advice. So I took my measurements, both from my body and from coats and jackets I like. I calculated ease, length, gradient and all the rest. I worked out what I wanted to do. I asked Deborah for advice. And Deborah’s advice contrasted markedly with what I had planned. I thought about it, I looked at my numbers, and I compromised.
Obviously, I screwed up. You know that, right? My plan was a good one. The book, while full of wisdom, didn’t happen to get it right for this particular combination of structure and yarn and so on. The compromise screwed everything up. And while the coat came out pretty well, it’s a little wider than intended, and the perfect structure is a little lost.
Note to self: trust your instincts. Or if not instincts, then at least trust your meticulous calculations.
So. Anyone want a size 16, warm, snuggly, black and pink coat?
Oh: and the point of the story is this. I think it’s time to try following a pattern for a change. I love designing my own things, but I’m sick of screwing up. And it’s also occurred to me that I will probably learn more new techniques if I try following other people’s designs. So out came the seven years’ supply of Vogue Knitting, and I managed to find something** that suited both to my wardrobe needs and to the yarn, and I’m going to knit the damn thing just the way I’m supposed to.
Except for the colourwork and beading, that is. That I’m putting in myself. Well, a girl’s got to liven things up, right? (Plus, I don’t have enough of a single colour for the whole cardi.)
* No, you still can’t see it, sorry. I want to get the design published (after some essential improvements, natch), so it’s a coat purely for the mind, right now.
** I’ll show you the pattern next time. It’s pretty.

3 thoughts on “Lessons learnt

  1. Heh. You’re concluding you need to use patterns for a while, just as I’m concluding I need to stop using them for a while.
    I am stockpiling Kureyon. I love Lizard Ridge, but that stitch pattern would make me crazy very quickly. It has, however, given me ideas

  2. And the thing is, I think we’re both right. If you’re learning and you feel ready to fly solo, ditch the pattern and get creative, get confident. But I’m starting to realise my “I don’t need a pattern!” attitude is basically just stubbornness. And really, in knitting as in life, the “ain’t nobody gonna tell ME what to do” approach is… well… somewhat limiting.
    Re Lizard Ridge: quite. Ideas! I have such ideas germinating as I work on this. Such lovely ideas. Not for the first time, I find myself wishing I could clone myself so I’d have a slightly better chance of actually knitting all the things I’m planning. I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

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