On Designing

Is that too pretentious of a title? Meh. Anyway, I have finished many things recently, but I am not ready to write everything up about them just yet. So instead, I thought I’d share a bit about how I go about designing patterns.

Most of the time, it starts with a swatch and a bit of math on paper. I have to write it out, and often a few different times, so I can see what is going to happen. With these socks in particular, I had to draw out the increases several times, and I am having to do that for each size because I cannot wrap my brain around it to just jump into it.

Other times, I can just measure a swatch and work from there. But that just means I have to do the piece over and over. Like with this blanket. I thought I was going to like the larger squares, but it was too much.

The second time I started this blanket, I still went too large with the squares. But I did find out that you can get a full scarf out of a single ball of Lion Brand Heartland Tweed yarn, in case that information is of use to anyone.

Third times the charm for this particular blanket. Once I finally make the piece I was aiming to make, taking notes on it all the way, I write the pattern up fully, wait at least a week, and then make one following the pattern exactly to make sure I’ve gotten all the steps down. That final version is usually the one I use for the pictures I include in my patterns, though I sometimes also include the one from which I wrote the pattern if it didn’t change much.

There’s a bit of a sneak peek into my design process. Hopefully it’s helpful for anyone looking to design their own knitting or crochet patterns.

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Test Knitting The Snuggle Bug Sweater

Recently, Claire Jackson (aka Perfectly Knotted) released her Snuggle Bug Sweater pattern and I had the pleasure of being one of the test knitters before the release. I had trouble getting gauge with the namesake Snuggle Bug yarn, so instead I used Brava Bulky. Still makes for a very soft, very warm sweater.

This pattern works up so quickly in the bulky yarns that I was able to make two within the two months of the pattern test, even with having to wait for two different yarn shipments to come in. The sweaters feature raglan sleeves and a split hem, along with an optional neckline zipper. I added the zipper into the first version, but I left it off the second one.

I did modify the second one slightly by starting in the size 34 instructions and then increasing to the size 38 instructions for the body to give a bit of a closer fit in the shoulders and the regular amount of positive ease. I also created stripes in the second one by changing colors every 20 rows in the body after doing the top section in a single color. In fact, I ended up with more stripes than I intended because I was using some old yarn that I had and some new and the dye lots were so different that it let me create different stripes out of the same color.

You can find more detailed infor on yarn, needles, etc. in the Ravelry project for each sweater. Click here for the plain sweater. Click here for the striped sweater. You can get the pattern and make your own version on Ravlery here.

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The Snuggle Bug Sweater by @perfectlyknotted is live! This sweater is super fun and a relatively quick knit done in a bulky yarn. The pattern is size inclusive, from 30” to 74” chest measurement, and features a split hem, raglan sleeves, and an optional zipper. Mine are made from @knit_picks Brava Bulky yarn on size 7mm needles. I included the zipper in the first version, the plain one, but left it off my second version. I think it really works both ways, if you are hesitant to sew a zipper in. Head to @perfectlyknotted ‘s latest post for a discount code in celebration of the release today! Image description: Slide 1- A light blue sweater with a zipper at the collar and raglan sleeves lies flat on a wood floor with the sleeve cuffs folded in toward the center. Slide 2- A sweater with raglan sleeves and gradient blue stripes from lightest to darkest from collar to hem lies flat on a wood floor with the sleeves spread out and going out of frame. Slide 3- A plain sweater stacked on a striped sweater, all laying flat on a wood floor. Slide 4- A close up of the split hem on the striped sweater with the front hem folded off to the side to show off the split. Slide 5- Close up of the split hem on the plain sweater with the front and back stacked up to better show the difference in length between the front and back. Slide 6- Close up of the cuff of the plain sweater sleeve. Slide 7- Close up of the zipper in the plain sweater unzipped. Slide 8- Close up of the neck opening in the striped sweater without a zipper. Slide 9- Close up of the raglan detail on the striped sweater. Slide 10- Close up of the zipper when it is zipped closed. #SnuggleBugSweater #PerfectlyKnotted #SweaterKnitting #HandKnitSweater #DIY #Knitting #Sweater #BravaBulkyYarn #KnitPicksYarn #KnitPicks #KnitPicksBravaBulky #TestKnitting #TestKnitter #PatternRelease

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An 18-month Shawl

I knew this shawl had been hanging arounf for a while, but I did not realize I had started it in February 2019. That means it took me almost 18 months, ignoring the fact that it apparently took three attempts to get started, from start to finish.

Not that I worked on it consistently, of course. I was focusing on it for a while, especially when it was small and a row took under 10 minutes.

Once I ran out of the pink, which was some hand-dyed Knit Picks Shadow Bare that I had dyed with drink powder, and moved on to the white, the rows started taking longer and I started getting bored more easily. It started getting set aside for longer intervals, though it did get dragged along to sports practices.

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Growing ever so slowly. #knitting

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Once I ran out of white and hit the blue, the rows were taking at least 30 minutes each. Not to mention the sheer amount of markers I needed and how paperclips get tangled into stitches so often.

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Adding in color number 3 in the shawl. #knitting

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Still, I kept dragging it along whenever we went out, because that is how I could force myself to work on it without getting distracted by other things I’d rather be doing.

But sometimes I would be able to focus at home while doing other projects that didn’t require my full focus.

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Projects on projects today. #knitting #stickers

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It eventually got to the point where each row was taking an hour, so I tried to fit in partial rows whenever I could.

Don’t even ask how long the picot edge binding off took. It was spread over days, possibly even weeks. I honestly can’t remember at this point because it took so long. But it is finished, it is giant, and it is up in my Etsy shop.

I had originally intended to write up the pattern for this, but I don’t think anyone really wants to make a shawl this big that takes this long. Maybe I will revisit it and make some adjustments to reduce the size and write it up smaller.

A pink and white shawl propped up on various items in a large spiral, showing off the immense size.

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