Beginning a new design is always an adventure. What to make? What yarn? What colour? Knit flat or in the round? Or maybe I should just say screw it and go do the dishes?
It always starts with some idea floating around in my head. I usually leave it there until it has become a full fleshed character, and wakes me up at night demanding to be let out. That’s how you know it’s ripe!
This time it seems I am knitting a bunny. I have wanted to make something out of left over sock yarn for a while now, so bunny’s yarn choice and colour were decided before I knew it would be a bunny. It doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes the character comes out and I go looking for the right yarn in the right colours. In this case I wanted to come up with something to use all of those wonderful sock yarn bits we all have rolling around in our stash. They are often fabulous colours and beautiful yarn, you don’t want to just leave them do you? Check out bunny’s yarn:
Trekking XXL, yummy! I just finished my socks with this yarn, and couldn’t put it away. It became the muse for this project. Once little bunny figures started floating in my head I sketched them out:
I don’t always sketch, although it is a good way of getting the character out of my head so I can sleep better. In this case I had started the knitting, and did the sketches just to help firm up the shape. Of course, the other part of designing is keeping notes on what you have knit. Writing the pattern would be a lot of bad guesswork otherwise.
I write my design notes in an old notebook rather than my “good” knitting journal. I don’t like having the journal all full of scratched out instructions and torn out pages. I transfer my notes over to my journal once the pattern is done. That it s the first step to translating my scribbles into pattern language that other people will understand, rather than chicken scratches that even I am squinting at. And yes, designing – for me at least – involves lots of ripping back of knitting and scratching out of notes. Things just don’t always look right the first time. Last night I knit an entire ear before I realised it looked like ass. But for me ripping is learning – as in I just learned that those decreases look bad, or that knitting this bunny in the round wouldn’t work because the fabric was pulling funny on the needles and making holes. It is not (usually) too discouraging to rip something back. If I want a usable, saleable design it has to look right. Of course, ripping back the same thing over and over isn’t fun. That usually means it’s bed time!
For me the tricky part of this design – the head/body piece – is now done. Thanks to last night’s learning session I have a pretty good grip on the ears. Tonight is my knitting group and I’d really like to take a bunny rather than a blob. So I will bid you adieu, and promise more in progress pictures tomorrow!