Friday, September 17, 2010

Knitting Evolution or GAAK

Over the last month I have been considering the evolution of my knitting. I have looked at the projects I now am confidently tackling in volume, complexity and diversity. I have revisited the techniques I have mastered.

More recently my thoughts have turned to the processes I undertake when planning, resourcing and starting a project.

Pattern Selection
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.

Yarn Selection
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


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.


LynS said...

This post just makes me realise how much GAAK I still have to achieve. What a great post - and I agree totally about the achievements of the Inner-City branch of the Guild.

Rose Red said...

I was just looking back over my projects page and thinking about my evolution as a knitter (and photographer!) too! Snap!

I also agree about guild - it has been great. I really hope I can attend the workshop on steeking.

Bells said...

this concept of a the super big swatch is really starting to strike me. I'm a good swatcher, but the idea of learning more and doing bigger swatches is appealing.

DrK said...

i feel like ive done a lot of GAAK in this way too. sometimes from not doing the things youve listed here and learning the hard way! but the big swatch is really a life saver. your organisation is inspiring.

Yarna said...

Gosh - how organised! I am in awe! I do agree though, that this is the best approach. That Liz Gemmell workshop was such an eye-opener and, although the large swatchwas a bit confronting at first, it really is crucial to a successful outcome. Well done on you GAAK!