Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Scandinavian Stocking Design Process

Stocking Design Process 1

The design process is so personal and different for everyone, but I am always really inspired by seeing people's processes. Maybe you'd like to see mine? 

The only stated goal I remember having for this year is knitting family stockings. This is the last one, and it's only September! I fully expected not to do them and freak out about it on November 15th, to be exact, so I am high-fiving myself on not procrastinating. Above are the first three stockings. 

The first and third charts were adapted from Poetry in Stitches by Solveig Hisdal. It turns out it's out of print and I could make bank if I were willing to sell it. But don't ask, because I am not. Don't go buying that book for stocking patterns either, because there aren't any in there. Nevertheless, it's been worth it's expanded price tag to me. I browse it once a month or so.

 For the middle stocking I wasn't finding anything that sang to me. I wanted a floral border with movement, so I charted it myself. The most important thing about charting intarsia designs is to remember that stitches are wider than they are high. Thus, you chart the thin man and knit what ends up looking like a gnome.

Stocking Design Process 2

I don't know how I decided I wanted to do fireflies and firs, unless it's from this picture, in which there is a conspicuous lack of fireflies. "Why fireflies?" you ask. "Fireflies aren't a part of Christmas in your hemisphere." Do they have fireflies in other hemispheres? I don't even know! Properly speaking, pine trees have nothing to do with the first advent of Christ any more than fireflies, but no one questions them. 

So in this picture I am playing with different sizes of bugs. The originals on the right are from Lesley Stanfield and Melody Griffith's The Encyclopedia of Knitting. It's a title that sounds pretty conclusive for such a small book, but its strong point is really in design ideas rather than technique. I reach for it twice as often as the more exhaustive Vogue Knitting Book. In any case, I arrogantly thought I had it all figured out here, and just needed to chart the repeat. 

Stocking Design Process 3
This is the repeat, and I started knitting and recording my steps in case I ever needed the pattern. Oops. The repeat was 2 stitches too big. How did that happen? It looked funny. 

Stocking Design Process 4

How to get rid of 2 stitches? How how how? How to do it when I was so bleary eyed from needing a nap that I couldn't chart the simplest pine tree, much less a repeat?  

Stocking Design Process 5

I ended up shrinking the bug more, but it decreased the pattern from 28 to 24 sts. The nature of the pattern doesn't gracefully allow a decrease of 2 sts, more's the pity. I decided to just deal with it. 

Then I knit it up, and the trees were too stubby while the areas around the fireflies were too open. The trees could be pulled in, shrinking it up more, or I could find another solution. I decided on little star pinpoints, and now I think I am on the right track. What do you think? You think it's upside down. I'll just have to ask again when I am done.

When you are making something new do you tend to plan it all out, or just dive in? Are you more inclined to seek perfection, or settle for speed?


Tami Rebekah said...

Lydia!! I followed you over here from Pinterest!! Im loving your blog!! You are a talented girl. I will have to keep up with you!!

lydia said...

Thank you! I hope you enjoy!


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