Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Confluence of Ideas


Confluence is a sweet little shawlette, a play on my favorite theme of a center panel with neck shaping inserted into a top down triangle shawl. It is mostly garter stitch, which is so pleasing, except for the lace panel which is stockinette lace with a few well chosen beads. Simple and charming.


I promised a release a couple of days ago. Obviously, Confluence is not out yet, and for a good reason.

For a good while now, I have been receiving occasional letters from sight impaired knitters who thank me for taking the time to write out line by line instructions in my patterns.

If you think about it, it makes perfect sense that sight impaired or blind knitters would need written instructions in order to knit lace, or to knit anything for that matter. As I understand it, there are readers available on many computers for this purpose, and if not, some knitters will engage sighted people to read the pattern to them as they knit, or record the pattern instructions for later playback, an ingenious idea! I am reminded of Lucy Neatby's recent writing about how hard it is to keep your attention where it belongs, on your knitting, while at the same time trying to focus your eyes on multiple things (chart, pattern, knitting) and all the while, manage to knit a complicated pattern. Lucy recommends recording yourself reading the lines of the pattern instruction at the speed you like to knit so you can keep your eyes and your attention on your knitting. Brilliant.

Anyway, when I get a letter of this sort from a knitter I generally respond with apologies that not EVERY pattern can be written out line by line. And this is true.. Shetland Garden, for instance, would be a book-length pattern if it had written instructions. But these communications give me a good kind of reboot as I consider what the world would be like without all different sorts of knitters with all the different life experiences we bring to the craft.

It still blows me away that there are blind and sight impaired lace knitters out there. If you are one of those brave and fearless knitters, I bow my deepest, most humble bow to you.

As much as I love knitting from charts, and as many times as I have cajoled and begged and even ordered my students to knit from charts, all of that pales in the face of knitterly courage that will not accept limitations.

So, come time to release a new pattern, I must assess whether to bite the proverbial bullet and write everything out "longhand" as well as provide charts. Sometimes, like for Shetland Garden, I feel it would confuse and not enlighten, so it is left out. Sometimes it is the right thing to write it out.. and then there is always the worry that with more words on the pages, there are more possibilities for published errors, every designer's nightmare.

All this is by way of explanation of the lateness of Confluence's publication. I promised it would be out two days ago, but here I am. I hope the new written instructions will be worth the wait for those who need them in order to knit.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Two down, one to go

It doesn't rain but it pours. And now it's pouring.. not just figuratively. It is the beginning of the rainy season here in the Pacific Northwe(s)t. I am watching it more carefully now that I am trying to walk every morning, and I am gathering up some assorted rain gear so I can keep walking even through the coming damp weather.

OK.. weather aside, what's pouring???

Things have been building up for a while now, and it is time for several designs to come out.. some new, some that have come back to me after being published elsewhere, and some that are under wraps for a while until their time comes to be revealed.

Finally!! Three patterns are ready to be born, two that were just let out today and one that will emerge tomorrow.

First up, Aphrodite.


I love that picture so much, taken in Vancouver by M. Scott Ault, with Jamie Bowen modeling.

You may remember Aphrodite from the esteemed Twist Collective, where she held a spot in the Summer 2009 issue.

Now she is mine.

I deliberated quite a while before I decided to publish her in my own line of patterns. After all, she will be up at Twist for perpetuity, or at least I hope so. But I am becoming more sensitive to the needs of yarn shops to have patterns that are available for purchase right there in the shop, for yarn support. And I want Aphrodite in all her glory to be part of my own trunk show that is building. So, here she is.

Second, Tallulah.

Tallulah of the whispering pines and falling water. Tallulah was inspired by a wonderful family reunion that took place in July 2010 near Tallulah Falls in North Georgia, and the first sock was improvised and finished on the plane trip home. The first pair was a gift for my mother and her pair contain no beads, but my pair had to have them! The beads, inset into the openwork rib pattern in the front and around the top rim of the sock, give an impression of sparkling water drops that catch the light now and then.. a lovely effect.

And now, with beads.. here she is.


Thanks to Vivian Aubrey, who is becoming my photographer, teacher and friend, for these lovely shots. Please do look up Vivian's photography blog here. It is exquisite.

Tomorrow, Confluence!!!