First Steps

The GSoY design competition was my first real foray into knitting design. By which I mean, actually sitting down, drafting a pattern, charts, determining yarn, needle size… all of that kind of thing. I’ve made up patterns before – like hats for J, or scarves. And I’ve modified existing patterns to get a better fit or for the project to match what I want it to be.

But actually designing something properly was new.

However, the procedure wasn’t as complicated as I feared it may be. I’m a very practical and visually creative person. I have difficulty though in working out the steps in between imagining something and making it. That isn’t to say I cannot work out how to make it. It is that I can visualise it and make, yet fail to work out how I got from A to B. So slowing down and taking notes as to how I was doing something is rather alien.

The design competition has encouraged me to start developing my own patterns more frequently though… which now explains why my living room is covered in tiny swatches of lace edging.

GSoY 2012: Classes

I signed up to two classes this year: Silk Spinning and Tunisian Crochet.

I blame the first for going mad with the shopping and buying all the silk fibre I could find. The image linked to this post is my first bit of silk spinning -105m of fingering weight Tussah Silk. It is extremely addictive. And also extremely easy to tangle – which I did, repeatedly, when I was trying to ply it. And also when I tried to wind it into a yarn cake. But it is mine and soft and shiny and smooshy. Can you tell I’m proud of it?

The Tunisian Crochet class was brave on my part. While I have learnt to crochet this year. Me and hooks are an interesting combination. I once managed to fire a crochet hook across the room while trying to do a crochet bind off on a knitted shawl. I have no idea how I managed this. The class went quite well, I learnt a couple of basic stitches and succeeded in not throwing the crochet hook around the room. One problem… everyone was complaining that their swatches weren’t particularly tidy or square. They hadn’t seen mine. Mum took the class too and also made this complaint. This is her swatch – not bad really?

This is mine… the random decrease in stitches… not intended.

So yeah… maybe I should rent out my crochet skills to make other people feel better about theirs.

GSoY 2012: Design Competition

And the first post of November.

One of the various events at GSoY is the design competition. Last year the theme was Charles Rennie Mackintosh. This year it was a bit different. This year it was Glasgow itself, focusing primarily on the motto and coat of arms of the city. This seemed pretty cool, so figured I should give it a go.

Obviously, this was knitting on a deadline. So it had to be something which fitted the brief and could be completed by the closing date. So what did I do… I decide to knit a blanket… a colourwork blanket. See what I did.  Made things complicated (especially when I spilt red wine on it while it was half done – not recommended!). But it got finished, and  – drumroll please – won both first place in the design competition and also won the People’s Choice award!

kentigern blanket

I also put in a second design, for a simple shawlette with lots of ruffles but based on bird’s wings. That one was rather overshadowed but I still like it.

The plan now is to work on getting both patterns written up and published. The blanket is nearly ready to go, but I want to rework the shawl a bit – I see a lot of test knitting in my future!

GSoY 2012: Yarn! Fibre! Shinies!

A big part of the School of Yarn is of course the marketplace. So many independent dyers and sewers… so many lovely products! While I was planning on getting some bits and pieces, I didn’t want to go too crazy (I swear that putting a bunch of fibre nutters in the same room equals trouble). So I did plan a bit before hand.

With a bit of assistance (thanks Mum!), and a long poke around my existing stash and my favourites list on Ravelry, I opted to try to get yarn to knit up a Colour Affection shawl.  Mum also wanted to get some yarn too and chose a crocheted version of the same shawl. I had some suitable lace weight yarns in my stash – so the aim was to use these as one of the three colours needed.

Enter the swatch card.

Slightly obsessive, but well worth it. It meant I could work out exactly what I needed (and more importantly match the already existing stash).

So off I set, swatch card in hand – found what I needed for the shawl and then restraint got… well thrown out the window. I learnt to spin with a drop spindle earlier this year… and well, fibre is a dangerous area. I did get a lot of pretties though! Yarns from The Yarn Cake, The Yarn Yard and Old Maiden Aunt, as well as fibre from HillTopCloud.


GSoY 2012: The Mackintosh Church

Amazingly, despite living in Glasgow for nearly ten years, I’ve never been to the Mackintosh Church at Queen’s Cross. I didn’t get to go to the Glasgow School of Yarn last year thanks to teaching commitments so this year I was determined to go.

I’ll post on the classes and shopping later, but the first area I want to focus on is the venue. The building is amazing. I have a soft-spot for Art Deco to start with, so I am a bit biased, but still – who couldn’t be impressed with this?