Saturday, December 08, 2012

Random Knitting Thoughts and What I'm Knitting

I had a great Fall 2013 planning meeting with Susan Mills, Creative Director of Classic Elite Yarns, the distributor for Color By Kristin this week. Susan and I have worked together for many years and it is so nice that we are once again working together now that my yarn is with CEY. We cooked up dozens of handknit pattern ideas in a short time. Only problem is ideas are easy - it is the sitting down, swatching, writing the pattern and then knitting it that takes so long. 

I often think that there are "idea people" and there are "doing people." "Ideas" are easy - at least for me. I come up with new ideas all the time. Some are good and some get thrown out the window. Some are good but there is no time to make the project happen. It's the "doing" that takes commitment,  hours - days - months of working to get to the finish line and actually produce a finished project whether a book, a knitting pattern or just a pair of mittens.

The other day I overheard some knitters talking at our local library. They were talking about the price of yarn, number of balls needed for a sweater, etc. The scope of the conversation was that they weren't willing to plunk down $100 for a project that in the end might not fit them.  I thought about this all the way home and the entire next day as I was working on a photography project. Do all knitters think this way? Do they not want to risk their hard earned dollars on big projects? Is it more fulfilling to knit smaller things where fit isn't a big problem? After all if a hat doesn't fit someone it is easy to find a head it will actually fit! 

Interesting thing for me to think about as a handknit designer. I'm always trying to figure out what to design next. What do you think? Do you knit sweaters or only little things? Would love to hear your thoughts if you have the time.

I'm almost finished with the two pairs of Sebastian gloves I have been working on. Here they are - just waiting for some embroidery to make them more colorful. Pattern is available here. 

 

I'm also working on a Knit It Felt It Tech Cozy. I'm doing the "random" colorway in shades of blues, purples, chartreuse, and gold. This is it before felting. Looks a mess, doesn't it?


Here's the inside with all the color change ends hanging. Nice thing is you don't have to weave in the ends because they will tangle together when felted. 

 

I'll felt it this weekend and share it with you soon. Love this pattern from my PDF Collection. Comes in 4 sizes to cover all kinds of techie things. Each size includes instructions for both Fair Isle and solid versions. Makes a nice addition for a holiday tech gift you may be giving someone. You can buy it in my Shop Here or on Ravelry Here.


Have a great weekend everyone!

36 comments:

Anita said...

I do feel that it is a lot of work to knit a sweater when most of the time it does not fit right on me, but I still buy yarn for sweaters and mostly I buy the sweater patterns and dream. Keep designing those sweaters. I love them.

dorothee draft said...

I love the gloves !

Anonymous said...

Oh, I definitely knit sweaters (for myself and for others), but understand the feelings of those who prefer to knit something that doesn't have to fit a certain someone precisely! Price per project is a consideration too, no matter what one's budget may be. Then there's the satisfaction of finishing something quickly, whether it's a small item or it's a simply-shaped sweater in bulky yarn. Concluding thought: to me, sweaters and gloves are the height of knitting achievement. So please continue to design them, along with all the other things that come to mind!
-- stashdragon

Anonymous said...

Oh, I definitely knit sweaters (for myself and for others), but understand the feelings of those who prefer to knit something that doesn't have to fit a certain someone precisely! Price per project is a consideration too, no matter what one's budget may be. Then there's the satisfaction of finishing something quickly, whether it's a small item or it's a simply-shaped sweater in bulky yarn. Concluding thought: to me, sweaters and gloves are the height of knitting achievement. So please continue to design them, along with all the other things that come to mind!
-- stashdragon

Susan said...

I love the idea of sweaters. Only problem is, I haven't finished one for myself since I was in high school, 40 years ago! The last one I did (2 years ago) was a wadder. So disappointing. So I've stuck to scarves, fingerless gloves, and baby things as gifts. Faster, easier, not such a huge investment. $100 is a lot of money to spend on a project whose outcome I'm unsure of. Warm winter things have very limited usefulness in the south, and iPhone covers, etc. don't have much appeal for me. So that leaves me with baby things and maybe an occasional pillow cover or something.

Pooch said...

It seems that the choice of a knitting project might be linked to the confidence/skill level of the knitter. If one knit-knit-knits and hopes it fits, then $100 is a big gamble. If the knitter knows how to adjust the pattern or knows how to get help on a fitted project, then $100 might be less daunting.

Me? I'm a moody knitter/crocheter. It's more about the process and what I feel like knitting.

:)

Caffeine Girl said...

I am one of those people who is afraid of investing the time into a project that might not fit. I'm trying to get over this and dive into sweaterland.

Carol Seitz said...

I knit mostly sweaters and yes, I do worry over fit, but have figured out what works for me. I actually use Garment Designer to verify the fit of sweaters. And, yes, that's another cost, but it makes such a difference to know that what I knit will fit. And, yes, yarn is expensive, but it's my passion. Good, wool yarn is such pleasure to use, that I cannot imagine worrying about the cost. So--keep on designing sweaters--and I love your yarn.

bittenbyknittin said...

I knit sweaters, some I even wear in public! I also gave one away that fit sizewise but not stylewise. Several local yarn stores have "trunk shows" where you can come in and try on finished sweaters. That helps give me more confidence.

Sarah said...

These days I like smaller projects as I have a lot of gifts to do. I am hunting down Dr. Who patterns! I have a sweater on the needles. It is slow going and will only be the second one I have ever made. I am worried about how it will come out and do consider cost for large projects.

Anonymous said...

I will knit sweaters for myself. And in between sweaters i wll make alot of smaller projects.

Savannagal said...

I would prefer to knit larger garments. But if you look at my Rav page you'll see that I have yet to finish one. All my completed projects have been small. The 3 larger projects I am working on are all a disappointments. Either the patterns is written poorly or the sizes don't end up fitting the way they should based on the sizes given on the pattern (and yes, I swatched many times for all of them). It's very discouraging to spend so much money on primo yarns only to rip out and start over, and over and over.

Anonymous said...

Hi,I work fulltime so my play time is extremly limited. I tend to knit the smaller items of hats, scarves, once in a while socks and baby blankets. Unless its for my mom( price is no limit when it comes to making something for her), I do think about the cost of purchasing materials. I have stashed some yarn( disconitnued and therefore on sale) to make a sweater and have even ordered some from Ireland to go with yarn that was given as a gift to me from Ireland ( same woolen mill). I ordered the extra skeins in different colors with the intention of making myself a sweater. I enjoy your blog and colorful designs, please keep the creativity going.

Kathleen C. said...

I completely understand those knitters' concerns. The fact is that every body is different and no pattern can be expected to fit every body. At least not well!
I do knit sweaters, but I've invested a lot of time learning methods to alter patterns to suit my shape.
I adjust stitches top to bottom for larger hips and narrow shoulders. I add short rows in front for a full bust and behind for a small dowagers' hump. I decrease at the waist to show off my curves (which can be hidden by my front belly). I add to make the sleeves large enough because I have larger than large arms (while matching armscye opening)... and I knit to my arm length (which is usually shorter).
It's a lot... maybe more than many. But if I didn't do these things the sweater would not fit. And that's a waste of time and money, and hopes and dreams. So it's worth it.
BTW, I sew for a living. So although the process of altering a knitting pattern for fit was new to me, the concept was not. Maybe that made me braver?

Auntie Shan said...

ahh...yes...The **STASH**...

Some People count "sheep", I count "BUCKETS" of YARN!! -- I have this "ROOM" [think INCA King ransom room of gold] *filled* to the DOORWAY with RUMBERMAID-Buckets of mostly "HANDICRAFTER" Cotton [the big honking balls], and a couple dozen BLANKETS crocheted from such. Then, there's my newly-acquired-in-the-last-year-and-a-half 100% Wool for Knitting [I've only been that for as long] STASH... 85% of that is PATON Classic Wool, and a bucket or 3 of my "LUX" quality to-be-saved-for-something-really-special assortment of Alpaca, Silk, Merino, and of course, "JULIA". Oh, and the bucket of really-old-needs-to-washed-Thrift-Store-Finds-100%-Wool. -- I don't do Synthetics...

BTW, *ALL*, bought "ON-SALE"!! -- I use those 40%-off-coupons for one-ball-at-a-time at MICHAEL'S so often, I've made "Friends" with the STAFF! -- Then again, I am usually There twice a week...

Why even Today, despite being rather busy, the MANAGER [*His* idea btw!] went rooting through the store-room to give me first dibs on a yet-to-be-unloaded-and-shelved-shipment of my Fav Yarn!! A good thing too, as there was only ONE package each of a couple of NEW Colours! I would have missed out on them otherwise!

Of course now, I have to find a PLACE to put THEM... I need a Sale on BUCKETS!! -- And to learn how to Knit faster... Not to mention, actually SELL some of my STUFF!

;-D

Kieren Dutcher said...

Gorgeous as always, Kristin.
I knitted myself a big coat sweater a few years ago, and it turned out HUGE. I put it in the washing machine to shrink it and it got way too thick and stiff.. would have been good for potholders... so I get it. Yarn IS expensive. I've been busy in grad school so haven't done much knitting the past year or 2. My son is now begging for a scarf for xmas, so I need to get to work. He's at RISD and it's cold back east for this California boy!

Meghan Jones said...

Oh I love to knit sweaters! I like to have at least one for myself and one for the Hubs on the go at all times. They are time consuming and especially ones for me at a voluptuous 3X but I love knitting and wearing them. I think that math is a knitter's best friend, as long as you have a gauge to go by and a calculater there is nothing you can't make fit right the first time.

Elaine said...

I certainly agree with Kathleen C. above. If we would only take the time to measure (and have someone help us measure) ourselves, using Elizabeth Zimmerman's technique and swatch, swatch, swatch there should be no need for tears sbout a sweater/coat not fitting. Perhaps most people are in just too big a hurry to get something done without making thenecessary preparation.

Lindy said...

I totally understand the idea of not wanting to spend the $100 or so dollars only to discover the garment does not fit properly or did not turn out as planned/hoped for. Education is key. Knitters who only knit scarves, hats, etc. need to get over their fears and the only way to do that is through education - take excellent classes from excellent teachers.

sally said...

Hi Kristin,
I do a lot of smaller projects be cause I have so many ideas while I'm knitting I can' wait to try them all. I love playing with my yarn. I also am of a mind that a sweater which costs a lot of money but doesn't suit me might end up warming my closet shelf.
I hope your family has a great holiday season.

Casey said...

I just finished a sweater,(cost $90.)it will join the last sweater I knit($120.) in the ill fitting part of my closet.The previous sweater was knit, ripped apart and reknit, still doesn't work right. When this happens, I stick with smaller projects until that sweater bug bites again.

grammynan said...

Both!!! But I am more likely to finish the small projects. I find that my personality makes me want to make things for others so I find myself making small projects so that i can reach more of my family/friends with my handmade gifts. So, love to do both but probably 75% of my knitting is small projects and mostly for others.

Helen Hart said...

Can understand all comments. But I was taught to check for gauge, swatch and swatch, I know dull. And you can measure a favorite sweater. Small items are great for gifts and self. The reason one spends over $100 for a sweater is because of the quality of the yarn and how much time it takes to develop and produce it. Now we have the exotic fibers included so that ups the price more. Love your colors and patterns Kristin and reading your blog. You are soo creative. Happy Holidays,
Helen in frigid Wyoming.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Megan Jones I make lots of sweaters for self, kids and and children. All I do is measure and swatch. Biggest lesson is learning the way different fibers behave as far as stretching, hanging, etc. I made several cotton mistakes before learning what can and cannot be done with cotton then other fibers as time progressed. The yarn is never lost though because it can always be frogged and made into something else. I like alot of your classics to be able to wear forever. I do only a few trendy things whose style will not last.
Happy Holidays from NM,
Sharon

Carol said...

I like to knit sweaters for both adults and children, but good quality yarn has been getting very expensive, so that you really need to think carefully about what a project will cost before you jump in. I recently went to a very nice shop near my home and saw some beautiful samples at a trunk show - all of which would have cost between $150 and 200 to make with the yarn they used. What about designing vests? I like wearing vests; not too warm and much quicker to make and less expensive! There are lots of shawl, sock and scarf patterns out there, but not many good vest patterns.

Marcia said...

No sweater knitting here. I've only been knitting for a few years and there is much I don't know which can't be found in a pattern. Most of the actual sweater knitters I know use dress forms, alter patterns, and such. Way beyond my capabilities and now I'm older, my hands are stiff, and I'm veeeeery slow. So I'll probably never knit a sweater. But I do scarves and hats and I love to crochet afghans. I have a house full of afghans all from wonderful yarns. I hope I find some good homes for them. Well, some times I fantasize about knitting a sweater.

Karen at Struan Farm said...

I love knitting sweaters for myself and others, although lately I've been making cowls and shawls too. I guess I don't understand the theory about something not fitting, since you can always rip it out and re-knit, right? It's not like it's money down the drain!

Game Players said...

I agree with the knitters you overheard. I always think that since I wouldn't buy a sweater for $150 I'm certainly not going to knit one that I may not like in the end. Even large shawls can be too pricey. Since I like to use nice yarn when knitting, I stick to smaller things or baby patterns.

bookagent said...

I do tend towards the no fit required projects but am moving into sweaters with infant and child versions to learn the process. Besides these little gems are done so quickly! While I agree it's daunting to think about buying a sweaters quantity of yarn for myself I do hope to try one sometime in 2013.

Pam H

Beth in Maryland said...

I'll tell you what I would love and that is a pattern with both a vest and sweater option. Then I could knit the vest and see how it fit before committing to the sweater. Ideally there would be both a cardigan and a pullover version. I like vests anyhow, they are handy for the office, where I'm never sure whether it's going to be hot or cold. Make it with a bit of color interest as only you can, but not so much as to intimidate me! I adore your gloves, not just the color but also the cable pattern and the way the design emphasizes the different elements of the structure.

Rebekah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rebekah said...

Most of the time I knit small things: gloves, fingerless gloves, and hats. Occasionally, I knit a sweater (wearing one right now!), and I do not feel intimidated by it. This was not always the case for me, however. As soon as I realized how to use the information I gather from my gauge swatches, and doing some math to see how my knitting compares to the designer's, I've gained a huge amount of confidence. And its simple math, too. If I just sit down and think a little, I'll figure out the outcome and this gives me peace of mind.

Staying within budget is always a hard thing for me to do when knitting a sweater. I like to knit with wool and wool blends and we all know you have to pay the price for natural fibers like this. When I knitted a worsted weight sweater with long sleeves in 2009, I managed to come in at $36 which I thought was incredible. I tried shopping again for sweater yarn this year and it is near impossible to get near this price range. Yarn has inflated significantly I believe. I would never spend $100 on a sweater, even if I feel confident about my knitting calculations.

Sweater patterns always inspire me so please keep them coming. I do suggest, though, that you include more options for shorter sleeves and vests, for they don't use as much yarn and knitters will be more attracted to them because of this.

PatB said...

Thanks for asking the sweater question, Kristin. I agree with all the sucessful sweater knitters above. You can't just pull out a pattern and the recommended needle size and any yarn and knit a sweater and expect it to fit.
I'm always amazed when people say "I followd the pattern but I wanted to use some different yarn. Why doesn't it fit?" Turns out the yarn was sport wt and the pattern calls for worsted wt. And "No, I didn't swatch because I hate to swatch."
I'm also appalled at, based on the classes I've taught, how many knitters are lacking basic arithmetic skills. It actually doesn't matter if you swatch if you don't know what to do with the results.

Angela said...

Cost has become a huge factor for me, not that I'm happy with that being a decision factor, but that is economics in my family since 2008. All the sweaters I've ever made fit and were worn, but now spending all my grocery money on yarn (and I hate the cheap stuff of course) isn't a possibility. Thanks for asking - designers do come at it from a different viewpoint!

Daisy said...

When I was young and slim and everything looked good on me, I knit a lot of sweaters for myself. Now I'd like to knit for my son, but he's 8 and getting picky about what he wears. It's happened that after a lot of hard work, he'll wear a sweater once and then say he doesn't like it. My latest project is a shawl for my mother. I know she'll be very appreciative! It's gratifying to knit hats and other small things since I don't have that much time.

failbetter said...

(failbetter is my ravelry name)
Once I've finished the Christmas knits (which unavoidably are small things!), I'm about to start on my first big project where I have to get things right from the start because I won't find out until well into the process whether it fits. It is a cardigan for myself, relatively fitted and knitted in pieces that are sewn together in the end.

Before this, I've knitted top-down seamless raglan sweaters which can be tried on as one goes along.

I'm feeling a little bit intimidated by the challenge. Of course I will do it, but not without some fear. I'm thinking I might cut out the pieces in paper so that I can measure my knitting towards these as I progress.