Recently, a new digital knitting magazine debuted: Skein Theory. The person, creator and editor behind this and the fairly new The Sock Report is Janel Laidman, author of The Enchanted Sole and The Eclectic Sole. I am honored to be in this new magazine with 6 designs! Van Alen is a coordinated set of a hat, lined cowl and mittens, featuring a color work design inspired by the Chrysler Building in NYC. Dash is a coordinated set of a beret, cowl and fingerless mitts; the design plays with the simplicity and texture of knits and purls. If you’d like to win a copy of this premier issue, please read on!
I was quite excited at the opportunity to submit designs for Skein Theory and sent in my sketches. I wish I could say that things went smoothly thereafter, but they didn’t. First of all, there was a delay in getting some of the yarn and I barely got them all before I had to leave for Columbus, OH for the summer TNNA trade show. The yarns used for Van Alen was Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light (loved the colors!) and Three Fates Yarns MCN. Secondly, when I submitted my designs, I had only planned on a hat for Van Alen, and submitted coordinated accessory options for Dash, but I was asked if I could come up with a 3-item coordinated set for Van Alen as well, so I ended up with way more work than I had planned. Lastly, I had a major design issues when working both the Van Alen hat and the Dash beret.
There wasn’t too much of a real issue with Dash Beret, but I did knit the beret twice….I just wasn’t happy with the resulting proportions. Mathematically, the way I designed the beret increases worked out, and it was a similar proportion to other berets I’ve designed. However, after I blocked the beret, it still didn’t seem right. So, I started over and reworked the math and the entire beret to a more visually pleasing proportion.
The biggest problem I had was with the Van Alen Hat. I swatched. I had a swatch with an early prototype (left), I re-swatched for my submission, and I swatched twice after I received the yummy Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light (one of the swatches show below left). I blocked and measured, counted, re-measured, re-counted, but still, MY SWATCHES LIED!!
Do you know what happens when your swatches lie? I mean, it’s not really a big deal for things like scarves and cowls, but it can make a huge difference when you’re working on garments in which fit will be an issue, like hats, sweaters and gloves.
In the case of the Van Alen Hat, I ended up with a hat large enough for a panda bear or a giant. My friend has been making fun of me and this little hiccup and said that I should turn the hat into an iguana hammock or a watermelon cozy. Hmph!
Needless to say, I had no choice but to rework my math and re-knit an entirely new hat, all under a really tight deadline. And y’all get the benefit of laughing with me on my design woes! The lesson here, my friends, is that swatching is very important and sometimes swatches do lie, especially with colorwork, so make sure you really make sure you swatch. In the case of a hat, you might want to block and check your gauge before you do too much of it. That was something I didn’t do here. I just wrote off the seemingly large hat based on the fact that I was originally knitting the Large size, was being a bit lazy (due to time constraints) and a little over-confident. This is the first time something like this has happened to me. Believe me, I hope it will be the last.
In the end, things worked out. Below are the finished photos of the projects from Skein Theory. The cowl is worked in one piece and is lined with the brighter color for a nice finished look. If you would like to win a digital copy of the entire premier issue of Skein Theory, Janel and her staff have generously provided me the opportunity to do that on this blog. To win, just comment and tell me what your favorite pattern is from this issue. It’s okay, I won’t be offended if you choose someone else’s design. 😉 My favorite is my Van Alen set, particularly the hat and the cowl, and Petiole by Miriam Pike. I’ll pick a winner randomly on Oct. 23.