Thursday, January 16, 2014

FRACTALS

Continuing in the New Year with a resolution to blog more, yet again. And actually having a lot to share, but not quite having a lot of time to write all I want to say about a certain process here and there. Thoughts are fleeting and majority of the time they want to become sketches and stitches instead of words...

Today I want to take you through my process of designing a really fun accessory, that actually have started the triangles theme for me last year while still in Japan and as the inspiration continued catching on, it gave life to Sankaku Shawl, but here is what it all started.

I admit I have not always been good at or admired geometry. In my younger years math was a bit of a struggle, maybe that is why I sought out education as a linguist and a teacher, but as time goes by I get more and more intrigued how I found my way back to math and geometry through my love for knitting, bit backward I am sure, but it now excites me just like solving riddles of creating a new stitch pattern or puzzles of construction that I like to take on.
In my recent posts, I have described that I have discovered a really cool dot grid notebook from Muji that is really versatile - you can draw using dot grid as visual markers or join those lines to create square grid for drawing a stitch pattern idea as well as for flat sketching of your schematics. Since I prefer doing it old school vs drawing directly into a computer program, notebook and my erasable pen are now a ritual.
On one of those rituals I took these tools to "town" having fun drawing out some geometric shapes.


Once I spend a certain amount of time thinking about this patterning, I feel my mind becomes more and more open and I start noticing it in various incarnations around me. Fractals are actually nature's geometry at work! But my fascination with them was simply enhanced..

Here is my favorite piece of architecture in Tokyo, Prada Building in Aoyama. Every time when I was in the vicinity I would try to walk by it. It is truly inspirational!


And my friends, knowing me now so well surprised me by getting me this Baobao clutch for my Birthday (aren't they amazing!!!), which is basically triangles adhered to fabric, but allows movement, so every facet helps transform the shape of the bag. And I heart it so much!


A WONDERFUL find which is this silk fabric, that got procured with the help of a friend in Australia and which I turned into the scarf and it makes me utterly happy when I wear it!


I really miss taking trains everywhere in Japan, the trips were quite lengthy and here is the prototype being worked on in fingering weight yarn.
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/fractals-hat


Nature of fractals is that it is a set pattern and altering it a tiny bit in the beginning would be very hard to adjust for later on and still stay within pattern.
So I had to design my hat with the right yarn weight and needle size! And this entire process was very much worth the result.

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/fractals-hat

I have picked a very new to me yarn, Anzula Cricket, which is merino and cashmere with a dash of nylon. Being colorwork, it worried me for a second if my yarn choice was right, but after washing my swatches, I didn't doubt that the result will end up what I was needed it to become. The yarn really bloomed, evening out colorwork and transformed into luxurious bright hat.



I have always loved grellow color combination (maybe obsessively so), but recently I have been really enamored with camel and pink together. It is such an unusual combination, yet very fun!




And the result is Fractals hat  comes in 2 sizes, has charted and written instructions and my now favorite tubular cast on. So find your favorite Sport or Dk weight yarns and fall in love with geometry all over again!

Find Fractals Hat On Ravelry


$6.00

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

IROKATA


I was planning to publish this design much earlier in the summer, but silly me for thinking that with major knitting deadlines and international moving I could keep up with all of my designated plans. Alas, making things works little by little! Finally got our furniture 2 days ago, and most excitingly my yarn and knitting chair. Would be nice not having to MacGyver things around the place on everyday basis.

I find, however, that a lot of my creativity thrives under pressure, so nothing like creating 7 new designs before taking that international move to keep one's goals straight!


That time in April when things were warming up finally, I have started dreaming of wearing linen again and all the great benefits of it during a really humid summer as we have been having here on Atlantic coast. And keeping a close eye on fun color blocking trend of t-shirts, shoes, knits and everything popping in stores I decided to get my hands on some more of Shibui Linen. I have been looking forward to using that yarn again every since designing Sanagi dress previous summer, but using it as a single strand. Most of color blocking in my mind comes with a scary word to some - " intarsia", but this time I have decided to take a different approach.

Irokata - 色形 - from Japanese meaning "color form" or "essence of color" - is a great light summer tee that is designed to be worked flat and then utilizing some short rows for shaping and color direction, but nothing more complex beyond that. And in the end it is only 2 spots to graft and 2 mattress stitch seams that complete this summer tee.


The color placement lines are well thought-out as one can pick to do lighter front and darker back for a more visually slimming effect. Or the other way around, just like in the original to bring more attention to one's shoulders and help to balance out body proportions.


Personally, I love to pay attention to every single detail and believe me there is a lot of deliberation and choice making goes into something as simple as why this increase method was used and not the other. To me, every design, however simple and minimal looking, needs to have that something special that any knitter can enjoy learning or doing with their hands for the sake of a perfect result. Maybe you can even spot the incorporated I-cord running along the sleeves' edge. Quick and neat!


Irokata knits up fast even on US 4 needle, you start with less stitches and then you progress.
I now need one in a brighter color combination as well! Suitable really for any fingering weight linen or cotton or bamboo blends yarns that would provide enough drape and keep you cool with your favorite bottoms.



Queue IROKATA TEE on Ravelry

Level
Intermediate

To fit bust sizes
30-32 (34-36, 38-40, 42-44, 46-48, 50-52, 54-56, 58-60)”

Finished measurements
Bust 32 (36, 40, 44, 48, 52, 56, 60)”

Yarn
Shibui Linen (100% linen; 50g, 246yds/225m)
MC - color Tar 2 (2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3) skeins
CC - color Ash 2 (2, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4) skeins




Thursday, July 25, 2013

SANKAKU


I had to laugh thinking how many times has it taken me to get this shot! Road to perfection requires lots of attempts while taking a photo by yourself or have a photographer do it. It took me 23 tries.

This new pattern design Sankaku Shawl may looks deceiving that someone even suggested that I should have re-named it "This is not Crochet!" as there were so many people who confused this knit shawl worked in crochet or broomstick crochet. Sorry to disappoint you folks, but not sorry as it IS knit.
Sankaku means "triangle" in Japanese and that's the impression this patterning gave me while working it up. It's a mosaic of positive and negative triangles that has clean edges yet is very malleable and can easily be scrunched into a voluminous scarf.



I am personally very intrigued that there are still so many methods and ways of knitting to surprise. I think looking like non-traditional kind of knitting it can be a good challenge for knitters to test their skills.
To be precise, working short-rows, dropped stitches and if desired to learn how to work backwards - lots familiar techniques for intermediate knitters, but even beginners can wrap their mind around it just with a little bit of effort. It certainly helps to expand one's horizons in sense of understanding  knitwear from a different standpoint.


One of the biggest joys of being back to the States was the luxury of being able to go to a yarn store and feel and see all the beautiful colors and fibers in yarn available.
I have picked new-to-me yarn to create this shawl and what a pleasure this yarn is to work with.  
The Plucky Knitter Primo Sport has a unique blend of fibers and great tight twist of plies to keep the knit up fabric in a garment still very bouncy and crisp. And colors... let me say that I have been obsessed with the turquoise color for a while now as you can spy from my surprise hair color for the past or so year. But a good color that I love is called "Breakfast on 5th"... Think the color of the Tiffany's box and Breakfast at Tiffany's. That name is so smart! Sarah of The Plucky Knitter has been extremely supportive and a pleasure to work with. She and her team do amazing colors and no wonder The Plucky yarn is in such high regard and demand. All the yarns are colorfast regardless their intensity. What's more, my local yarn store Fibre Space carries plenty of Plucky, so I know there is more of designs out of these yarns in my future.



Given the temperatures we have been having here in Northern VA this past week, summer knitting goes much easier while working on light sheer items. Sankaku Shawl first right into the category of fun summer knitting.
Not talking about designers like myself though, for us summer is a very busy season in preparation for upcoming cold weather, so in this household it's lots of AC and cabled wooly knits in my lap.


And I know many might be curious but scared to try this pattern design, so to help and dispel any hesitation and mystery I have started a Knit-A-Long on Sankaku Shawl over at Olgajazzy Group on Ravelry. Please join us and share everything from your color and yarn choices and progress as well as if you need any help understand the technique. A photo tutorial is provided inside the pattern.

What will your Sankaku Shawl look like?

Some info about yarn and yardage
The Plucky Knitter Primo Sport (75% Wool, 20% Cashmere, 5% Nylon; 275 yards per 100g skein),
color “Breakfast on 5th”, 3 skeins.
OR 825 yds of any other sport weight yarn

$ 7.00


Monday, February 18, 2013

CIRCLES+DOTS

    When I think of the time Pam Allen has asked me to design a collection for Quince & Co I kept telling myself "is this real life"? I suddenly got transported back to the times when I was starting my knitting career and looking forward to every issue of the IK that she curated at the time and browsing through numerous books that she authored in the the local yarn stores. And now I get to do this! This excitement is quite often followed by some amount of self-questioning - would she like these sketches or not? To work with someone who has been in the industry so long has tremendous amount of my respect and reverence and I certainly didn't want to disappoint. When all the sketches got accepted (!!!) and the next stage was to pick the colors for the whole collection I couldn't contain myself as things just got even more real.


The inspiration for the Circles + Dots palette served this image for the Finch release as it comprised a harmonious combination of brights and neutrals, especially those hues of turquoise and orange, the colors that my blog used to be. And although I studied art at school for several years my sketching skills often leave much to be desired, however they conveyed the intent.



As you can see some designs went through transformation. The entire process is about making decisions what to add or what to get rid of in a finished design and it is done so to improve the wearability of the actual knits.
My initial idea was to make this collection a story of exploration into knitwear where dots and circles are represented in all kinds through various knit techniques. My interest in polka dots in particular started back in 2011 when I designed my Mizutama shawl in search of wanting to create a polka dot looking shawl without going the obvious route of intarsia. It got me thinking that there are more ways possible to create circular shapes with various looks and patterning in knitwear and I wanted to gather them together for a collection in such a manner that would show the correlation but have different placement, yet feel cohesive and "together". 2 garments and 3 accessories comprise this collection. I thoroughly enjoyed working the gradually decreasing in size eyelets for Flotilla Mittens and working the three-dimentional texture of Cowry Hat. Even more so developing a special stitch pattern for Effervescence Cardigan, the stitch that looks both eyelet and cables at the same time.
This creative process is slow and lengthy but all the efforts are worth it in the end. When I saw the final images, I was really stunned by the great light , composition and complimenting styling done by Quince&Co that brought the entire collection together in a beautiful narrative that I am very proud to be a part of.

I will let the images speak for themselves though, you can view an entire lookbook to enjoy pretty photography here

Compass Pullover




Cowry Hat



Effervescence Cardigan



Flotilla Mittens



Gyre Scarf



You can queue and favorite all the garments and view the collection on Ravelry here.
And please share your thoughts and impressions about Circles + Dots with other knitters in Olgajazzy designs group on Ravelry. I would love to hear some feedback and color choices for your own knits from this collection!

This collection is available as eBook for 18.00 and all patterns are also available individually.

$18.00


All images in this post are © Quince&Co/Carrie Hoge