The Detectives of Crochet

Well, things have been so insanely busy. Deadlines galore! This entrance into the publication has definitely put me on my toes! My dear blog has been sorely neglected- and I apologize for that! I have a deadline for 6 patterns, all due this third week in October (eek).. So between writing and editing…and crocheting like a mad woman, time to breathe has been a luxury! One should see me.. I am very quickly learning there is a dimension above and beyond the realm of master multitasking… And my dear testers.. they are feeling it too, but soon it will be done with and we can all have a break.

I have this new fiber material I am working with.. And it is a shrinking fiber blend. So this past week I have been doing research galore on fiber materials and their properties.. For example, is it ok to stretch something when blocking it above and beyond its natural state? I found that many yarns behave vastly differently.. And what about fibers that shrink? Design something larger to allot for the shrinkage… ? Design it to size and then block back out? If it does not shrink, and you plan to include blocking in your instructions.. should you make it to size, or smaller and then block out? So many questions I have looming in my mind.

With this particular yarn I went on a detective hunt, so that I would have the most perfect pattern that I could possibly have. What was really amazing, is that I came across a pattern that Annie Modesitt designed using the same yarn! So I figured, what the heck.. let’s email her and see what she things about this shrinking/blocking/designing issue. So I explained to her I am using the same fiber yarn she used for a particular pattern, and that my issue- and within 5 mins she wrote me back! My jaw dropped.. what a sweet and kind person…

Thank you Annie for lending your expertise to me! I genuinely appreicate it! And for everyone else, check out Annie Modesitt’s Blog– this kind lady who gave a helping hand to this designer…!

I also called the yarn company itself and found the go-to lady for this specific yarn. She was quite helpful- told me everything there is to know about the yarn, any possible issues from customers on the shrinkage etc… So many little tidbits of information really valuable in helping me to design the most perfect pattern… So with that, and all of my detective work reading blogs where people discuss blocking and shrinking etc.. and then also working up my own swatches, and washing, drying , wetting and blocking I now feel strongly in which way to pursue this design.

No Sheep For you (Image used with permission from Interweave Press) Also in my quest, I came across this book: No Sheep For You, by Amy Singer (editor of Knitty Online Magazine). (If you knit, check out this magazine, looks like an excellent resource- articles, patterns etc.)! This book is available through Interweave Press- and we all know how great Interweave is!. I have it now on my wish list.. Do I have a wish list?? No.. but why not make one.. I guess this is an “in-the-mind” wish list.. one of these days to get that book.. it looks like an ultimate resource, especially for those like me who are thirsty to learn all they can about the the different fibers out there and their properties. Especially with the rise of natural fibers.. hemp, bamboo, etc. This book includes info on these, all the way to linen and cotton and other materials.

I also found this little tidbit on YouTube, of Amy Singer and her book in Toronto, discussing the different types of fibers (hemp, bamboo, soy etc.).. very interesting. There are models showing off her beautiful knit designs in this book.. and oh my- you have to see the fitted Aran Cable sweater, very chic, modern and plain sexy!

And the cover? Absolutely awesome…! VERY catchy, very unique, fun, has a sense of humor and a character all its own… Need I say more? Who could walk by that book on the shelf and not get it? Just by the cover you know it is going to be great… When I do finally get it.. I will definitely be posting about here!

There will be more info on this design in the months coming ahead, but just not yet… But the point is, that designing is not just designing.. it entails so much more.. detective work, research, problem solving.. for example, I had to modify the stitching of this pattern due to the results after washing and drying, as the stitching kind of “warped.” Good designing entails LOTS of swatching and experimenting.. troubleshooting, expecting the unexpected. Thinking outside of the box. Lots of science in a way… developing a hypothesis and then testing the theory under many conditions (as with blocking, washing, drying)…

Designing without serious swatching and testing is playing with fire- yes very cliche’, but it is. I think that, at least for me in designing, the first step is always to swatch swatch and then do more swatching.. I am now seeing how important it is to really become intimate with the fiber material you are working with, whether natural or synthetic. A designer is not just writing out the instructions of a pattern.. that is only a small portion of it.. So much more is involved in the designing process.

And that brings me along to my patterns.. What else can I do above and beyond writing instructions? Include any tips that you yourself have experienced… If a yarn is known to shrink when washed and dried.. put that in.. If a material is very weak or brittle when wet, let the crocheter know that. The art of designing, to me, is so much more.. It encompasses passing on your knowledge and expertise, so that the crocheter can make the best item as possible.

On another note… My son has been having difficulties with his girlfriend.. she is a sweet kid.. but very confused. My son has been by her side… walking her home after football games, there for her when she needs to talk.. But I am actually proud of my son for this break-up. I guess for a while she has been liking another boy. And my son was tired of it. He said she was quite surprised that he broke up with her, that she thought she would be the one breaking it off. They may end up back together, they may not. But I must say something must have gone right in raising him.. that he had enough self-respect for himself and know that he is worth a lot and should not be second best.. That is one big things I always feared for him.. since he has always been a kid to please others, and to make people happy.. and SO laid back I always was afraid that people would walk all over him. Even when I scold him, he never says anything back and just says “ok mom..”

I have been really trying to push him to voice his opinions and to not fear the consequence.. that it is more important to voice what he is feeling and thinking to others, including myself (lol was not sure what I was getting myself into there by saying that). But I knew, it had to be said and pushed for his best interest. Maybe that was it that brought him to do the breaking up, maybe not.. But somewhere along the way something went right, and although I truly feel empathetic.. I am proud at the same time.

As per the lady at the thrift store.. I did not send her flowers- not that she did not deserve them.. (a little out of my budget) but I did leave a card… I have not been in there since that day, but hope to go soon.. every other weekend they have everything half-off. I really hope things are getting better for her.

Well, back to my superwoman-multitasking-crochet-clean-insanity-day!

Take care, all!

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