More recently my thoughts have turned to the processes I undertake when planning, resourcing and starting a project.
I start with an idea of what I might want to knit. Cardigan, Shawl or other itemI consider the projects already completed by my friends (Ravelry is awesome for this). I will look at the blogs and patterns of my favourite designers. I will do a search on Raverly and look at all the completed projects and the notes. Especially modifications and fitting notes. Usually settling on a pattern after a few days.
If I start with the yarn I will look at the projects it has been used for in Ravelry. Consider what it has been used for and widen the pattern search to similar patterns. (as per above).
If I start with the pattern I will look at the different yarns that have been used. Often looking more widely at yarns with similar content, twist and drape (by my estimation) or that have been sucessfully substituted.
Probably the biggest change I have undertaken.
Not only do I now swatch but I swatch BIG (at least double the size of the guage requirements. Last month I was lucky to attend a workshop with Liz Gemmell (at the Inner City Group of the NSW Knitters Guild) and as a result my new motto is
KNOW YOUR YARN
Swatching is an essential part of that.
- Making them reasonably sized, washing them and simulating wear are all part of the process. See how the final fabric will act when made up and worn.
- Measuring your swatch in 3 places rather than once to get a more accurate guage. Rounding only at the end (and to nearest half or whole stitch).
Mostly I have become more organised. Labelled swatches, Notebooks (a sketch book A3 size and a smaller A5 size with lined and blank paper) and thinking time. The ever present measuring tape and some pearl head pins. The Swatching and planning toolkit including Graph Paper as well!
It is interesting that my GAAK (growth as a knitter - coined I believe by RoseRed) has evolved from exposure to other knitters, and more recently the structure of the Inner City Guild Group workshops (The current about to be outgoing team have done an amazing job - Kris, Geraldine and Rosemary) that have really challenged me to think about not just the advanced skills but the basics!
Next up Steeking.