Friday, November 30, 2007

Design, she is a Fickle Mistress

Beatrice is finished. All ends are woven in. Blocking is history. But I don't like her. She's, um, kind of ugly. Ungainly. I'm just not happy with the finished product.

Why? Well, the shawl doesn't hang like I had expected. I did the Faroese-esque shoulder shaping popularized by Myrna Stahman, but can't get the finished product to hang like Myrna's shawls do. The sizing is right, and the execution was bang on, but she still doesn't hang properly. The problem is with the shoulder area - back to the blocking drawing board, I guess.

I think I'll put her in time out for a few days, then re-block. Hopefully that will solve some of the problem. Unfortunately, I know it won't solve all of it. There is too big a gap between the finished product I had in my mind and the actual completed shawl.

I don't think I'll be offering this one as a pattern for sale. It doesn't seem right to be asking money for a pattern that results in a shawl that even the designer feels failed her.

But that leads me to wondering - what do other designers do when the end product doesn't meet with their expectations? Some designers seem to sell the pattern anyway (there are some really disappointing designs out there). They pump out designs so regularly it's amazing. I have to wonder if that is motivated by financial need, or by a demanding public following? Other designers produce fewer patterns, but those that they do publish are consistently interesting and of high quality. I guess I want to be (eventually) associated with the second group, not the first.

While it might seem wonderful that a designer publishes a pattern a month, sometimes that is just too intense a pace. I now feel I've spent the entire month of November wasting my time on a failure, and that it's time to take a break - from designing, from trying to force my passion to be a source of income, and most of all, from guilt. I've got a huge list of things that I promised various family members would get done - but all that list of items is doing is weighing me down with guilt.

Well, guilt is what killed my passion for quilting. I don't want guilt to kill my passion for knitting, too. I need to step back and cut cleanly the guilty hold that certain things have over me. To that end, I will be packing up and sending out the components of the projects that glare at me from the corners of my studio. My MIL will be getting the bits of her imaginary vest back. She won't be getting hand-knit socks, either. Dad & Marion won't be getting the place mats I promised them two years ago. Mom won't be getting her requested bag (but I did re-block the red cashmere scarf I made her - she can pick it up next time she visits).

I think I'll be throwing out the projects that are stalled at the WIP stage. If I'm not sure how to finish it, or I'm no longer feeling it, out it goes. It's time to use the garbage can, if only to lighten the psychic load. I'm so tired, so weighed down by all of the crap I carry around in my guilty conscience - I need it to be over. DONE. WITH. Enough already.

There may be another break in the blogging, too...

Monday, November 26, 2007

It never happens like I plan

Just when I'd decided to put Beatrice away for a while and focus on sock design, I had a breakthrough. All of the design problems I'd been unable to figure out just vanished - I woke up one morning (really, really early - like 2:30am early) with the solution fully formed in my mind. I guess it was just Beatrice's time.

So, here she is, modelled by a napping Emo. The bottom border is charted, the final instructions are written, and now all I need to do is (re)execute them. I actually finished the shawl this morning, but found a mistake that was going to glare at me loudly and forever, so unpicked the cast-off and pulled back 14 really long rows. Ugh. However, I'll be happy with the end result, and that's all that matters, right?

Another shot, taken after I finished the second skein of yarn. The full shawl took four skeins. I blocked after two skeins to make sure I was happy with the design - and I was, thus the whole keeping-going-ness.

This is the view of my legs, in their standard state while knitting. Fae is keeping watch so that Emo can nap without interruption.

And, finally, because it was so darn cute... Fae sacked out on Emo, on the couch in my studio. Aww. And yes, I need to vacuum.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Sock-ish Question

Hmm, long time no post. Sorry!

Beatrice (my second shawl design) is coming along - I'm nearing the bottom border, but have put her in time-out as there are a few details that aren't really pleasing me right now. Yep, she may end up frogged.

However, I've also been playing some sock-y games. I'm loving Cat Bordhi's new sock book, especially the way it gives you architectures for shaping, but lets you go off on whatever design tangent you want. I'm tempted to put my designing mind just to socks right now - but I don't want to have to write out full sock patterns. Is it wrong to just want to focus on the stitch pattern / body patterning of the socks, and ignore heel and toe shaping? Probably not saleable, but maybe some free patterns...

In my brain right now are two (maybe three) men's dress socks, and four womens' socks. I just want to knit single socks! Maybe I want to design like Cookie A. when I grow up...

Hmm. Things to think about.