Three Piles: Thinking, Frogging, Casting On

I've set up three piles. Depending on my mood - I can go to one of them and have something to do.

1. Set aside - figuring out what to do next.

2. It's just not working - start ripping.

3. Dumb simple work - grab it on the way to the orthodontist appointment or any time you need to work without paying much attention to what you're doing. Great to fill that "I need to finish something".

Quite a few things in pile #1: freeform sweater coat. new freeform project to fit the theme "Though Your Eyes"

Pile #2 has only one item - the Faffe Fassett/Regia sock yarn scarf project. The stripes are working nicely colorwise - but the shape isn't working.

Pile #3 has a fun new scarf from Knitty - Loopy & Luscious by Natalie Wilson. I'm using Kidsilk Haze & Crystal Palace Raggedy instead of Berocco Hip Hop. Looks great so far - and extremely easy to pick up at any time. Not loving the 19 needles - I'm awkward and clumsy with them.


Knitted Stockinette Pleats Pattern

Piece #1 of my Black Sweater Coat project

The first piece is a little over 2" wide & has a good firm structure. It's made with "Love" by Southwest Trading Company - a blend of Bamboo & Silk that's wonderful to work with. It's smooth and soft, but not annoyingly slippery like some silks can be.

Following are the knitting instructions I developed for this stitch:

Stockinette Pleats
Southwest Trading Company "Love"
Size US3 Double Pointed - use 3 needles
Finished Size:
width: 2.25" wide. length: not known as yet


Keep a crochet hook handy. It's easy to drop stitches as you move them. The crochet hook lets you scoop them back up quickly. I also counted stitches on both needles at the end of the "transfer" as this was a good opportunity to drop stitches and not notice. Counting at this point lets you figure out when you've slipped a stitch before it becomes a hassle to go back.
You should have 13 stitches on the front needle & 11 on the back.

Having tried this quite a few times, I feel that it looks best when worked tighter than usual. You have a better structure, the rib stitches blend nicely with the stockinette pleats and the pleats stand up nicely & can be seen more clearly. For example - the suggested needle size for this yarn for is US7 and I preferred the results using a US3.

  • CO 24 stitches. K1, P1 rib for 4 rows, slipping the first K stitch of each row.
  • Divide stitches onto 2 needles: 1. Pick up first stitch (a knit stitch) and slip it on a needle in front of the work. 2. Pick up second stitch (a purl stitch) and slip it on a needle at back of the work.
  • Continue like this until you come to the last 2 stitches. Slip them both onto the front needle.
  • Work stockinette stitch for 8 rows, slipping the first K stitch of each row K-wise.
  • K1 from the front needle, then P1 from the back needle across row. Last 2 stitches are on the front needle - K the first one, P the second one.
  • Work 7 more rows in K1, P1 rib, slipping the first K stitch of each row. (8 rows total)
  • Divide stitches as before & continue in pattern until you've reached the desired length.

Let me know what you think. If you try this pattern and have questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments section. And if you use this pattern to make something email me a photo - I'll add it here & link to your blog or website!

Design Inspiration: Tao Kurihara

From the Spring 2005 collection of Tao Kurihara for Comme de Garcon. These seem to have been a one off - the collection looks very different now. The one on the left was in W Magazine in May 2005. I'm intrigued by the refinement of the freeform knitting and crochet. The way the shapes of the knit pieces produce the shape and fit of the garment. There's a great mix of textures and an almost-but-not-quite monotone colorway. On the right there's a much simpler combination of cables - but again good thought has gone into the fit and shape of the garment.

From May 2005 W Magazine article "The Tao of Design":
Tao Comme des Garcons: Once upon a time Rei Kawakubo gave her talented protege Junya Watanabe a shot at designing his own collection, and now Watanabe is doing his own talented assistant a good turn, too. In the house's showroom on Sunday, Tao Kurihara, who has worked in Watanabe's studio in Tokyo for seven years and graduated from Saint Martin's a few classes behind "Stella and Phoebe," quietly debuted her own delightful line called Tao Comme des Garcons, which will be sold in Comme des Garcons boutiques worldwide.

Starting with a simple notion -- mixing lingerie and knits -- Kurihara whipped up an elaborately girly collection. There were boned cable knit corsets with frothy lace frills, cozy knit camisoles blooming with crocheted rosettes and knitted tap pants bedecked with bows and pom-poms. A strapless petal-pink sweater with covered buttons boasted stacked ruffles around the bosom, while a pale blue knit corset bloomed with a bonanza of bows.

Each season, shifting her focus from lingerie to, say, dresses or denim, Kurihara, will explore a single concept in depth. This time out, though she is just as press-shy as her mentor, the 31-year-old designer blushingly admitted that the collection expressed, "romantic feelings." It was the beginning of a fine romance.

Freeform Paisley Scrumbles

Looking back over freeform shapes I came across these paisleys I did for an exchange with members of the Yahoo freeform paisley exchange group.


Freeform Sweater Coat

All winter long I've been looking for the perfect sweater/coat to throw on. Need a black one. Not too heavy. Interesting to look at but easy to throw on. Looks good with everything - casual to dressed up. Can't find it anywhere. Big enough to be comfy - but not oversized and sloppy looking. Sleeves shouldn't be too wide so they don't get in the way. Should be just-below-knee length. Interesting lines, styling. I want it a little more refined than the general freeform crochet I've been doing. I want a coat not an artpiece.

I've gathered up some bits, pieces and skeins of black yarn. Drafted a muslin pattern as the "outline" and have a few ideas of shapes and seamlines. While knitting up the first piece I realized that I want to really keep track of what I've done. The first piece took quite a few go-throughs to get it looking right. Problem in the past has always been I can't remember what I've done - how I got there or how to repeat what I've done. And I never want to take the time to figure it out again. This time I'm going to keep track - take measurements - write down the pattern instructions as I figure them out. And I can keep them all here - so no flipping through bits of paper with notes scribbled that I can't read.

Further thoughts 2/19/08 (from my Ravelry page):
I’m embarking on a new adventure in freeforming. I’d like this next piece to be a more structured, controlled and refined garment using knit and crochet techniques. Sort of controlled reckless abandon! This came into my head because my closet is sadly lacking a fabulous, throw-on-with-anything sweater coat. Sort of a look-at-me-not-the-sadly-underdressed-body-this is-hanging-on.
My design inspiration starts with Tao Kurihara, who from what I can tell made these lingerie-inspired knit pieces back in 2005 and then changed direction completely.
I’m trying to introduce structure, order and discipline into my knitworks, so my plan is to document each piece as I figure it out, keep track of the yarns and pattern notes as I go and then have something to look back on when I want to recreate something I’ve done.


Klaralund Sweater in Noro Kureyon

I've finished blocking and assembling the Klaralund Sweater in Noro Kureyon yarn. Lots of fun to knit - simple pattern and it's always interesting to watch the striping emerge. Was in major need of blocking - seems to always be the case with Kureyon yarn.

I'm resolved to finish one project before I start another, and to make something with yarn from my "collection" before buying new yarn. This was technically finishing a project with yarn from my collection - so I've got a couple directions I can go in now...


How to Block a Knit Scarf

I seldom bother to block anything. Things usually just look okay. They're soft and knit and stretchy and they generally fall into place. Not so this Argosy scarf (free pattern on Knitty). The edges are all curled up and the squares would much better if they were squares and not parallelograms.

So I'm breaking down and blocking the thing. I haven't blocked anything in years. I pinned it down to this fabric covered board and hit it with some steam. Now I'll let it dry and see how it goes. I'd really much rather be working on this new scarf I have in my head....

Blocking was actually much more painless than I anticipated. The key was definitely to use the press board with squares marked on it. That made lining up the grids of the scarf a breeze. I also quickly figured out that if I stuck the pins in almost horizontally against the cloth of the press board I could steam right over them, and even apply a bit of pressure with the iron as I went. I'm now a blocking fool - I've already got a sweater on the board that I've been avoiding for weeks because I was so put off by the prospect of blocking. Face your fears - they're usually worse than whatever it is you're afraid of. Oh heavens - now I'm feeling philisophical - good sign it's time to get to work...


Freeform Crochet Scarf - Finished!

Finished! Shape makes it easy to throw on & it looks good no matter how it lands.

Finished size:
14.5" at widest point.
85.5" at longest point.
left side is 33" from center
right side is 52.5" from center

Day 6 - The ends are in sight

The left side is finished - right side is almost there. All that's left is to fill in a few uneven spots & it's done.

Looks as though it was planned for Valentine's Day - serendipitously coincidental!

I love words. The web makes it so easy to instantly learn all about them..
ser·en·dip·i·ty (srn-dp-t)
n. pl. ser·en·dip·i·ties
1. The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.
2. The fact or occurrence of such discoveries.
3. An instance of making such a discovery.

seren·dipi·tous·ly adv.
Word History: We are indebted to the English author Horace Walpole for the word serendipity, which he coined in one of the 3,000 or more letters on which his literary reputation primarily rests. In a letter of January 28, 1754, Walpole says that "this discovery, indeed, is almost of that kind which I call Serendipity, a very expressive word." Walpole formed the word on an old name for Sri Lanka, Serendip. He explained that this name was part of the title of "a silly fairy tale, called The Three Princes of Serendip: as their highnesses traveled, they were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of...."


Freeform Scarf - Day 5

Missed a few days... Finally got the basic shape to work. Now I just need to figure out the ends.

Freeform Scarf - Day 4

Must be the time of year. It's looking like a big heart.