August 26, 2011

Meridian! In Twist Collective!

So, something very exciting happened a couple weeks ago – the new Twist Collective came out, and I’m in it!!  My design, Meridian:

meridian!

Here it is being modeled by me, but you can head over to the Twist Collective page to see their shots (or to ravelry).  This was a huge deal for me, as I’d submitted design ideas to them multiple times before this one got picked up – I love Twist Collective so much and am so happy to be a part of this amazing issue!  And, I am super duper happy with how this hat design turned out!

meridian!

This is pretty different from most of my accessory designs – if you are very familiar with my patterns, you’ll be surprised to hear that this hat has a set gauge (well, three different gauges for three different sizes), no short rows, no variations beyond choosing either a crochet edging or a ribbed front (both of which will take care of the hat front’s urge to curl up).  It’s a straightforward seamless construction – start flat, increase out a bunch, then join around and decrease in a bunch.

meridian!

And let me tell you, it’s a fun knit!  It works up fairly quickly, considering that slip stitch designs always take longer, and it’s constantly changing row to row, keeping it from ever getting boring, but always easy to follow the intuitive striping pattern.  Just when you start feeling like it’s going slowly, it’s time to join around and then the decreasing begins and it’s almost done!

Meridian construction

So hey, want a big glimpse into my design process with this one?  It started out with a sketched out concept of a hat that’s knit starting flat in the back, worked up around the back of the head, then joined in front and decreased in at the top of the head…

original Meridian idea

That idea turned into this original prototype pictured below, worn as I’d planned it out in my head… Well, damn, I thought, design fail.  This hat looked terrible.  All that work and… wait… let’s play around with it for a minute…

original Meridian prototype original Meridian prototype

…what if I put it on backwards?  Hey!  Much better!

original Meridian prototype

And my design prototype was born – very similar to my final design!  Because of the way I had thought about the shape as I made it sort of backwards the first time, and just because it was my first try, this one had some major size/shape issues.  Mainly, the height was just about right, but the width was way too large.  Also, that front curling up issue was something I’d have to deal with.

original Meridian prototype original Meridian prototype

But, there it was, a pretty cool design, I thought.  And so it was submitted, got accepted (woooo!) and I went on to solve the problems…

original Meridian prototype

I started out with some spare yarn in approximately the same weight, just as another prototype attempt.  As you can see, I changed it quite a bit, and it ended up looking much worse than the original…

meridian prototype fail

But, as these things do, creating this super failed hat version taught me what needed to be done to make the design work.  It was too short, lumpy, and came together all wrong in the back, but I used it has a learning tool and moved on to my next try…

meridian prototype fail meridian prototype fail

Now using my official yarn (Sunflower Yarns Windham, which was great!), this is how that next attempt turned out:

oops!

Wow, right?!  It doesn’t even look like a hat!  Because of the weird construction, it was just really tricky to get those increases and decreases to make just the right shape.  Obviously.  So, several partial froggings and reknittings later, and I finally got that shape to curve just right, and Meridian was here!

meridian

In case any aspiring designers are interested in this aspect, I’ll tell you, as I did all this knitting, reknitting, frogging, reknitting… I was keeping track of everything in written pattern form, saving copies of old tries as I made changes, in case I needed to go back and reference them later.  Once I had my successful version, I kind of finalized that written pattern, then charted the whole thing.  Then I knit up my second example from the finished pattern, to double check everything.

The pattern pdf includes both the complete written pattern and the entire hat charted, so you can use whichever your brain prefers.

meridian!

As mentioned, there are 2 ways to prevent the front from curling up – above, you can see the crochet edging option; below, there’s no crochet needed because the first front bit is ribbed, which is hardly noticeable but does the trick.  The other difference between these two is that the top is size small, which just barely fits my head, and the bottom is size large, which fits me loosely and is a good man-size.  You should be able to make a child size by dropping to a finer weight yarn, but I couldn’t tell you the exact gauge you’d need…

meridian!

And as for yarn variations – I really liked that self-striping combo in my failed attempt, so I frogged that and am making the yarn into a new hat for myself!

Meridian beginning

You’d think after all that work in creating the design, knitting and reknitting these hats, I’d never want to make another, but now that some time has passed, I’m really looking forward to knitting up a new Meridian!  If anyone wants to join me, perhaps we can put together a casual knit-a-long in the leethal ravelry group!

Filed under: hats,knitting — leethal @ 11:56 am

August 16, 2011

Having too much fun with my new toy!

So yeah I haven’t checked in for awhile… I’ve been keeping busy, partly with work, and partly with… well, not work…

fun with my new iPad!

I made that comic of a few random things I’ve been up to lately with one of my favorite apps on my new iPad!  My new time-sucking toy is a combined wedding and christmas gift (thanks Matt and Mom+Dad!!), which had some complications causing the delay, but now I have it.  And holy crap you guys, it is way too much fun!

fun with my new iPad!

I’ve been playing with many imagey apps – like Pixlr-o-matic, which made the pictures directly above and below:

fun with my new iPad! fun with my new iPad!

And ComicBook is super quick, easy, and fun – a couple more comics of just random stuff I’ve been doing:

fun with my new iPad!

(Oh yeah, another thing that’s been taking up some time is family visiting – first, Pete’s uncle Terry came to take us to see the Go-Go’s, as mentioned above, and now his mom is visiting, so we’ve been having some fun times with her…)

monday

Another fun image-making app – Photosynth makes panoramic photos, which you can scroll through on the iPad (it’s actually an iPhone app, so it’s miniature on the iPad, but still looks cool) after shooting it… it’s hard to explain, but it looks awesome.

Zoo Concert!

Instagram is fun for taking a photo, adding a quick filter/border, and then tweeting immediately, all in one place.  This one is also iPhone-sized.  (Some time-suckage has also been due to our new addiction to this board game, Settlers of Catan… yeah, we’re nerds, I know.)

fun with my new iPad!

This app – joyOfLight – is simple but cool looking.  I couldn’t find a way to save images in the app, but I did learn how to take a screenshot, so that works (as shown below).  Oh wait, after I wrote that I played around with it some more and found that touching the screen with 3 fingers saves the image.

light play

And this one, oh man, super addictive – Flowpaper.  I just want to scribble on it all day long.

fun with my new iPad! flowpaper is addictive!

These are all just quick scribbles I’ve done.

flowpaper is addictive!

Too much fun.

flowpaper is addictive! flowpaper is addictive!

Most of my iPad time wasting has gone to researching and downloading recommended apps – apple gazette blog has been super helpful, with lots of app reviews, and posts like How To: Get the Most Out of iPad’s Virtual Keyboard and 10 Essential Free iPad Apps for Newbies.  I got all the apps on that list, have been heavily using Dropbox (screenshot below) and Kindle, and have played around a bit with Moleskine and Flipboard…  (and I know, I still haven’t blogged about my pattern in the new Twist Collective, which is ohmygod so exciting, yes, and you can see a glimpse of it below; it will be blogged soon……)

iPad screenshot iPad screenshot

I’ve been using Pandora (screenshot above) a ton, and the NPR music app (screenshot below) is great, though it’s iPhone size.  I’ve bought a couple fun multiplayer games that Pete and I have played around with a little so far – Catan (I told you we got into it) and Sketch n’ Guess, which is like Pictionary, super fun!  And the New York Times free crossword app is awesome; and Sheep Shift (screenshot below) is a must-have free game for sheep lovers (they all have different baaa sounds!)…

iPad screenshot iPad screenshot

Those are most of the ones I’ve gotten that I’ve been using lots so far, or know that I will be… there are many more I’ve gotten but haven’t taken the time to explore yet (like Goodreader, several sketching and/or note-taking apps, many rss reader and/or news apps…).  So hey, iPad owners, what else should I get?

ipad cover!

And then, check it out, I made an iPad case!  I used my Screen-Friendly Gadget Case pattern, made to custom fit my iPad.  My major change was that I decided I liked how the reverse stockinette side of the fabric looked better than the stockinette, so I made the main case part inside-out.  Bad idea; don’t copy me with this modification.  Part of the reason the case pattern works well is that the stockinette naturally curls around the gadget – when turned inside out, it wants to curl back, away from the iPad…

ipad cover! ipad cover!

But hey, it still works okay, and it was just a test anyway.  I chose some old leftover hand-dyed yarn that I don’t really like, just to try out the pattern on the iPad and see if it would function well.  Conclusion: yes, it does function, but there are some issues (needs to be removed to use the camera, for one) and I just ordered the official Apple smart case because I think that seems like the best thing out there to protect it.  I might end up knitting up another one of these in a yarn I like, fixing some problems, for a padded cover for carrying it around in my bag… we’ll see…

ipad cover!

Oh, and it does work to keep it on for charging/syncing, and headphones, as pictured in the first shot.  I think the pattern is better suited for smaller devices, but it does indeed work for iPads, so that’s cool.

Ok it’s time for me to get some actual work done… hopefully…

Filed under: knitting,personal,random stuff — leethal @ 6:11 pm

August 2, 2011

Mystery hat revealed: Terrapin!

Here it is, my mystery hat knit-a-long design – Terrapin (on ravelry here):

mystery hat, revealed!

That above is in a sport weight (Brown Sheep’s Lanaloft Sports Weight), and then below is in a bulky weight (Malabrigo’s Chunky), for a very different look (but I love them both!!):

mystery hat, revealed!

And then there’s a no-buttons version as well, making it a bit more gender-neutral, as you can see on Pete below (in worsted weight – Imperial Stock Ranch’s Columbia).  And a close-up of the twisted stitch pattern on the body:

mystery hat, revealed! Terrapin!

Want to hear a bit about my design process?  After designing this argyle cuff last year, I wanted to take the whole solid color argyle-inspired pattern concept further… so eventually, I sketched+swatched up this design proposal for a magazine submission last year:

Terrapin original sketch Terrapin original swatch

The basic idea of the design ended up being pretty identical to my final Terrapin pattern – that swatch is trying out 2 different yarn types, with the different hat sections in swatch form.  The argyle twisted stitch pattern has changed a bit since that swatch was made, but the concept remains the same – interlocking diamonds with stockinette and reverse stockinette acting as the different colors in a classic argyle colorwork design.

Terrapin original sketch

Those are my other submission sketches – pretty close to Terrapin, again, though lots of details have changed.  So, the magazine didn’t take it, and the idea sat there for awhile, until the beginning of this year when I decided to re-address it and see how it went…

Terrapin prototype

That’s my first prototype.  I started the green brim kind of as a swatch, just working out the twisted stitch pattern with the sideways edge cast-on, but then I kept going and realized I wasn’t going to have enough green to finish the hat.  I did, however, have some orange of the same yarn (Brown Sheep’s Lanaloft Worsted), so I grabbed that and switched colors for the body!

Terrapin prototype

There are lots of minor differences between this prototype and the final design, but the shape and look of it are the same, so you can see with that how it would look if you wanted to make a Terrapin with 2 different colors.  (Ravelry user wonderfulone made a 2-color hat for the knit-a-long, so check that one out too!)

mystery hat, revealed!

And then I decided to turn it into an any-gauge pattern, so my next prototype was in the sport weight – some more minor changes happened during and after the making of this one, but it’s basically the same hat.  I love the orange with the blue buttons!

mystery hat, revealed!

Now that the design was finished, my next step was to make one in bulky weight, to make sure the any-gauge aspects of the pattern would work – the bulky did work, but the decreases got a little weird, which is why I recommend not going much heavier than an aran weight.  I do love this hat though, so soft and squishy!!

Terrapin!

Next, I decided to make a version of the brim with grafting instead of buttons, to make it more guy-friendly.  So, I made a third sample, in the worsted weight, finalizing the design for the knit-a-long:

Terrapin!

That one was made to fit my guy perfectly, but his head isn’t that much bigger than mine, so we can share it!

Terrapin!

I tried doing a quick little photoshoot of the two of us wearing our Terrapins together, but it didn’t work out so well… this is the best shot I got:

Terrapin!

As for the pdf… I added quite a bit more than what was in the mystery version of the pattern.  Photos, of course, including many process shots, charts of all the twisted stitch sections, a full 2 page photo tutorial on how I do twisted stitches (the easiest way I’ve found), a how-to on blocking hats… Here are a couple screenshots of the pdf:

a couple pages of Terrapin pdf a couple pages of Terrapin pdf

Since I always format my pattern pdfs for easy reading on your computer (or iPad, Kindle, iPhone, etc) screen, all this makes for a 25 page pdf!  If you do like printing your patterns, the pattern itself has only small photos so it won’t use up too much color ink.  The pattern costs the same as the knit-a-long ($6) and is available on my site or on ravelry.  Hope you like it!!

Filed under: hats,knitting,self-publishing — leethal @ 7:18 pm
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