Monday, August 17, 2009

Making of the Blue Lotus Sweater

Current state of the sweater

I'd always loved scandinavian knitting and fairisle. In fact, my very first two knitting projects were two Norweigian sweaters by Dale. Lately, I'd returned to that fascination again. Being interested by color work, I thought I would give designing one a try.

This sweater is a real test not only to my motif design sense, but to my patience, my work ethic. The design and knitting is going a lot slower than I'd expected.

I felt like I worked and reworked the charts 100 hundred times. Oh, and the knitting part feels like endless ripping back.

This is a lesson in not fully worked out a concept and do all the swatches before I jumped into knitting.

Its very first existence was a plan to work in rounds and dividing into 4 vertical panels of blooming lotus with decorative motif panels in between. Well, after charting out and proceeded to knit, I realized I'd need to work with 8 different little balls of yarn in order for the motifs to work. I cut and wound up little balls. But yarns just got tangled up too easily. So I abandoned the idea.

Then I decided to just work the Lotus motif at the bottom edge, and figure out what will work as I go.

I knitted 7 rows of Garter border for the bottom. Then I ripped it back and designed water-like lines. After two days of working on that and finished the first Lotus pattern, I decided the water part really didn't work out at all with the hand-painted yarn. I couldn't even tell what they were. Since I did like the way the lotus looked, instead of ripping back all, I cut off the bottom and picked up sts from the bottom of Lotus pattern and knitted garter border again with orange color.

The water motif that didn't work out

I changed my mind again! I knew there was a reason I ripped that garter border back the first time. The proportion just wasn't right. The border got ripped back again.

I charted a fancy design and spent probably 8 hours knitting it. At the end of day, it looked so not right. Again, ripped back.

Finally I settled on the double garter border with contrast blue yarn. That's it, I'm not changing the border again.

Picked up the top part of the Lotus pattern sts to continue, I charted the second Single Lotus. After its completion. I decided there were too many rows in between the Lotus patts. Guess what? rip back again, that's right. Back to the drawing board, and I tweaked the Single Lotus chart a little. That turned out much more satisfying.

I really want to finish this before school begins in 2 weeks. With the rate I'm going, I have much doubt....

all the charts and some swatches.

Right now, plans constantly changing, I don't even have a very clear idea what the exact shape of the sweater is going to be. I know it will have set in sleeves and slightly shaped waist. But I'm still going back and forth on what type of neckline.

I know I should've planned everything out first. But that's really not my way of doing things. For the most part, I really like working out the proportion and combination of motifs as I go. This is mostly due to my lack of extensive experience so I have a harder time envision how all the details will go with each other in terms of proportion and design until I actually knitted them.

Even with all the challenges, I am enjoying the fact that I'm learning through both successes and failures.

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