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Fire Thief KAL!!

April 29, 2015 - 3:33 pm

Fire Thief is getting popular on Ravelry again. I was so afraid I had muffed it when it went viral early, but it seems like the pattern is recovering well. I’m also getting an education in online social marketing, but I won’t bore you with those details now. πŸ™‚ Maybe after the release is passed, if folks are interested.

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I’m starting a KAL on Ravelry for Fire Thief. Here are the details:

  • I’m going to cast-on Friday, May first, and try to knit it out in a month, but you’re welcome to cast-on now if you’d like.
  • I’ll pick a random winner when I finish mine from everyone who posts FO photos of their project in the thread.
  • I’ll pick a second random winner from everyone who casts on.
  • Winner will receive a care package including yarn to make a nice Fire Thief.

I encourage you to try different ways of using the charts. They’re all modular and designed so they can be put together in different ways. If you have an idea and aren’t exactly sure how to make it go, ask me! I have all sorts of thoughts on modifying this pattern. For instance:

  • It could be a circular shawl
  • Or as a Curl without the circular start
  • It’s possible to knit out a smaller version by stopping the central motif after round 22 and beginning to Curl at that point.

Have fun and be creative with it!

Ok….. GO!!

Fire Thief Release Party!

April 28, 2015 - 2:38 pm

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It’s alive!!!

I have so much to say about the process of designing, testing, revising, and releasing this pattern. It’s been at least 50% of my working time for the past month and some. But it’s done and out in the world! I’m going to dinner and a show with a friend tonight to celebrate. πŸ™‚

So the Ravelry page has a discount for the next week, or you can join the newsletter for an even better deal. More tomorrow, I promise. 

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Shaping Success!

March 6, 2015 - 1:38 pm

First the triumphant photo:

2015-03-06 09.51.18.jpg

That right there is my GINORMOUS swatch for Fire Thief, using all the charts, but only working a small part of the circular center motif and a couple repeats of the curl expansion chart. I believed in my geometric intuition about how this would work out, but I needed to test. 

Imagine the glass bowl represents your shoulder. The shawl is designed to hug your shoulder and Curl around your neck. (heh heh. See what I did there?) This is a small scale swatch that would fit a two or three year old, and it doesn’t have any beading, but the shaping will work just the same in the adult size. Phew! It works!

Here’s a pic from the top:

2015-03-06 09.51.10.jpg

It’s a pretty straightforward knit with just a few tricky bits. More or less you make a circular start, work in the round for the circular chart, then knitted cast-on a couple stitches and take off working back and forth Curling in one direction and picking up live stitches off the circular motif in the other. When you have used up all the sts from the motif you just keep working the Curl charts.

If you want a looser, flatter scarf you can use the progressively larger expansion charts as you work outward, or for a tighter spiral stick with the first chart. 

When it’s as large as you like, work the edging chart appropriate for however you ended up working the expansion charts. 

I have all the charts and am just working up final layout and the transition explanations. I should have it all written up soon— possibly later today– and have a version out for anyone who wants to test knit along with me. I’m off to Ravelry right now to set up a pattern page. πŸ™‚

Let me know if you’d like to knit a test one! All I ask are nice photos. 

Progress

February 25, 2015 - 12:26 pm

As of about half an hour ago I have reached the end of the center chart for Fire Thief: 

Fire Thief center

The chart is quite pleasant to work, now that I put the time in to get it constructed correctly. Thanks again to JC Briar and stitch-maps.com

Over the weekend I bought beads:

Fire Thief beads

I also spent some time with construction paper, scissors, and tape, and I think I have a sense of how I want the shaping to work: 

Fire Thief shapes

I don’t really think there’s any way to know other than to work and see how it comes out. The white paper one in the foreground is the closest to what I think I’ll end up with.

There are eight repeats of the center chart, each of which divides into four arms, leaving 32. This is a number that pleases me. πŸ™‚ I didn’t so much plan it that way as notice it when I was starting to think about how to divide the segments between the various ways of working the expansion chart. 

Next up is to do a tiny bit more chart work to make the transition from the center to the expansion, and then start working and see how it comes out. 

Fire Thief Stitch Maps

February 19, 2015 - 3:39 pm

I’d love to have a pretty progress picture for the Fire Thief, but you’ll just have to imagine it looking sort of like half of what I showed you yesterday. Well, two thirds, maybe. I have ripped back to where I start the first purl column and am going to re-knit again, again, again.

This time I decided not to try to “work it out on the needles,” because that clearly wasn’t a winning technique. Instead I fired up JC Briar’s site stitch-maps.com where I can enter the pattern and visualize the knitting better. This is the new center motif chart:

Fire Thief Stitch Maps

Just for giggles I also entered the expansion chart

Fire Thief Stitch Maps

I encourage everyone to go have a look at JC’s site. It REALLY helps me understand what’s going on with the knitting. The data entry is a little tedious, but nothing compared to hours of frustration from ripping and re-knitting. I’m now confident I have the chart correct, and I can just knit it out.

I’m going to sign off and do just that. πŸ™‚

Fire Thief

February 18, 2015 - 4:01 pm

I am working on a new pattern. I’ve decided to try something different, and rather than hide it under a bucket during the design phase I’m going to blog freely about the design. If you like the idea and enjoy watching my process drop something in the tip jar over there —>

I’ll also be looking for a test knitter or three when I get this sorted. Let me know if you’re interested.

Hunter’s Curls are my favorite thing right now. I have one completed and a second on the needles and they are fantastic. I asked her how she would feel about me designing a Curl of my own, and she was enthusiastic. So! Here we go.

I decided I wanted to design to commercial yarn this time, and picked the Abstract Fibers colorway Bonfire on the base Temptation. It’s truly lovely. Look: 

496 ss bonfire

Bonfire is a great name for this colorway. I wanted a stitch pattern that was evocative of flames and worked with the yarn’s color changed instead of fighting them. I decided I needed big yarn-overs in every row in order to show a lace pattern, so came up with this swatch I posted a couple days ago: 

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I worked it on US 8’s, and it opens up nicely and the little three to four stitch runs occasionally stack to make little snaps and flashes of color. Perfect! 

You might notice there’s something going on towards the top of the swatch. There’s a line of faggotting that pops up in between the pattern repeats. That’s because I want to enhance the curliness of my curl, so the stitch pattern will expand as it’s worked by getting spaced out by more and more columns of faggotting. I worked up this chart:

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 10.53.23 AM

The idea is that you start with the bottom eight rows and repeat them a few times, then knit the blue transition row and move into the second set of eight, and so on. I haven’t decided how many a “few” is yet. 

The other idea I want to pull into this is something I’ve been playing with for a while, which is making two-sided scarves. I don’t like having a right and a wrong side to my neckwear. I don’t want to have to think that hard when I get dressed. πŸ™‚ So I reworked the pattern to have an A and a B chart, with knits and purls: 

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 11.45.25 AM

Looking at the key there you’ll see notation for beads. Because, well, beads are fun! so there will be beads in the faggotting as well. 

The other notion I’ve been playing with in some pattern starts that may never see the light of day is having a circular start that at some point breaks free by having some number of stitches cast-off and the remainder getting worked into a rectangular shawl. I personally prefer long shawls to triangles or circles. 

When I saw Hunter’s Curls I immediately started thinking about how to work this into the start of a Curl shape instead of a rectangle. I am still not sure exactly how the circle will transition into the Curl— I’ve got some ideas but they will require testing. For the moment I’m focussed on getting the circular start done correctly.

I found a fabulous circular motif that was recently published by the inimitable Franklin called the “Laura Star.” It isn’t quite right for this project, however. I want it to flow nicely into the zig-zags. So I’ve added a lot of rows and inserted some columns of k2tog, yo to break it up into 4 st columns like the motif for the body has. You can see them starting to develop below:

2015-02-18 15.22.52

I’m setting them up as alternating knit/purl sections to flow into the flame pattern properly, and that has been the task of the day. Because there are so many increases and decreased it’s damned difficult to chart this out properly. I want the purls to start where they need to start and end where they need to end for the pattern to work out correctly. That means I need to count backwards from where I want to end up to where I need to shift from knitting out of the yo’s to purling out of them, and that turns out to be HARD, at least for me, at least today.

I have found out the hard way that I can’t rip this motif and then put it back on the needles, not even in little sections— if I screw up I have to tink back stitch by stitch and row by row, unless of course I want to start over from the cast-on. Which I have done twice. I have lost count of the rows I have tinked.

That tangle of yarn at the top? yeah. That’s the start of the next tinkage. I’ve dropped stitches down to where I need to rip- four or five more rows. 

The good news is that I’m working all of this out in beautiful charts, so it will be easy for *you* to knit once I’m done. Or, as easy as knit/purl lace that has no resting rows can be. πŸ™‚ This is not going to be sleepy knitting. 

I’m jazzed about this design, and everyone I waved swatches in front of at Madrona was interested as well. I think Susan at Abstract Fiber and I may do a knit-along once I have something ready for the rest of the world.

This, by the way, is what you pay for when you buy a knitting pattern. Done well they are gorgeous and simple for the knitter to use. All of the work that goes into making that simplicity is invisible in the finished product, just like we don’t see the hours of practice when we watch a figure skater or a gymnast perform a flawless routine. Trust me, there’s more going on behind the scenes than you might imagine.

This is perhaps 10% of the way to having a pattern ready to ship— if I’m lucky and don’t hit an impossible problem. I’m not offering advanced sales yet because I know I may not find clean ways to solve some of the problems I see in front of me. How exactly am I going to Curl this circle? Stay tuned and we can find out together.

In the meantime, this is the song I took the pattern name from: 

Thanks so much to Hunter, Franklin, and Susan for their inspiration.

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