Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I have been taking some steps toward becoming a bona fide knitwear designer. I have been so grateful to hold a Cottage License from Little Turtle Knits to create her entire line of diapering knitwear (Picky Pants/Shorts, Skirties, Soakers). Theresa (owner of LTK) is a fantastic designer and I aspire to her creativity and skill. She's been generous with me in terms of modifying her patterns to create my Transitional Inseam design and Interchangeable Cuff design (no pic yet, that' still in process), but I've been feeling like I want to branch out even more and create my own designs from scratch. So that's what I've been doing.

Now, let's be clear. I've been making up patterns the entire time I've been knitting (22 years). But as I mentioned before, I was using crappy yarn and I was not writing anything down. So no matter how awesome something was I could never re-create it. And nobody would wear it because it was with nasty squeaky acrylic yarn. But now I am giving myself license to use wonderful yarn and put my full attention toward this knitting thang so things are changing 'round here. I'm writing things down! I'm making them more readable to others who might like to re-create my designs! It's daunting and a little scary but also the most fun I've had in a long time. Professionally, I mean. Let's not exaggerate.

Knee Socks
So my first foray into from-scratch designing THIS time around with my new resolve was a pair of knee socks for a lovely woman on Hyena Cart as part of a yarn-for-socks swap. I've made socks before, I've even made reeeeally long socks which I suppose could be considered knee socks, but not because they were specifically designed to hug the calf. So this was a true first for me. It also incorporated my new favorite thing: cables! Yes, it's true. For 22 years I avoided cables. Not because I was particularly afraid of them in terms of technical skills (I have a pretty big ego), but because they reminded me of little old ladies. Now before you start typing some mad hate toward me in that tempting comment section, let me re-iterate that I was TWELVE when I started knitting. So back then, 25 year olds were "little old ladies". My current 34 year old self may as well have been the crypt keeper in my 12 year old eyes. So don't hate me for hating cables back then. Feel some mild distaste for my unwillingness to change that opinion over the subsequent 22 years, sure. I'll grant you that. But anyway, the most important thing to take away from this tangent is that I LOVE CABLES now. In fact, I may write an entire blog post about how much I love cables (go ahead, mark that on your calendar so you can prepare by grabbing a scone and some tea - because all my readers are refined - and hunker down to read all about my thoughts on cables).

So my point? That my first knee socks have a beautiful plait running down the front of the calf. Pictures, you ask? Why yes I do have pictures. Why are they not here, you ask? Because I can't figure out how to embed them in this post. I will figure that out soon. In the meantime let me share that it has taken me many months so far to design these socks (the future recipient is so very patient - thank you) but I am pretty pleased with how they are turning out (except that blasted toe which is still wonky and I still have to fix). They are completely customized to the recipient's leg (it must have been so fun for her to take 802934072 measurements). And as anybody who has ever worn socks knows (that must be just about everybody, right? Except of course my 1yo daughter who flat out REFUSES) - it is important that they fit well. There is nothing less attractive than a bunchy sock. Unless, of course, you're back in 1984 when slouch socks were ALL THE RAGE and it was even cooler if you had TWO pairs on of different colors and you transposed the order on each leg (I was SO cool, even back then). So the sheer amount of math required to make the sock contoured to a specific person's leg was downright scary! And yet, intoxicatingly fun. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Except not any time soon because my brain needs a break. Anyway, I am about halfway done the second sock, and hope to finish them by the end of the weekend. Hope to. We'll see.

Figured out the picture thing! (Yes I know the toe is wonky in this picture, this was pre-first-frogging...I have to re-frog the toe AGAIN because it still ain't right)

Doll Clothes
After my brain exploded during the creation of the above knee sock pattern, I decided to create some smaller things that rely a little less on exact custom measurements of an individual's body. And what better to achieve that than DOLL CLOTHES! Who doesn't love doll clothes?? Dolls themselves love to get dressed, children love to dress them, and parents who are confident enough in themselves to admit it - love to dress them too.

I started out with some boyish longies (these are still available for purchase, by the way...I'm just sayin').

They were so much fun that I decided to tackle a girly version for our Beatles theme at Bella Tesori (a Hyena Cart congo of which I am a proud member). The result was my "Michelle, my belle...bottoms" (these are also still available for purchase...hint hint).

I think this is my favorite creation so far. I love the button, I love the shape of the pants, I love the way the straps loop around the button and create a very dainty multi-string strap, and I love the delicate grass stitch I selected for the top. If it made any sense at all, I'd buy it myself!

On the horizon

So what is next, you ask? Well, in the immediate future I will be finishing up some customs and swaps. Once I have cleared out my queue a bit more, I will be doing some more doll clothes. This will include writing up the patterns for sale and making the clothes themselves, also for sale. I'll be working on doll sizes from 10" through 18". Some lovely ladies from Hyena Cart have already sent me their dolls' measurements so that I have some numbers to work with, but if you're reading this and happen to have some dolls you could measure to give me even more data, please e-mail me so I can give you the looooong list of measurements I need.

Also on the horizon is the completion of my Interchangeable Cuff design, which I will write more about in a later blog post. I think this post is plenty long enough, thank you very much! My little 1yo, she-of-the-no-socks, must take her nap now. Thank you for reading!!


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