Tag Archives: designing

Project Tea Cozy: The Top

All right, it’s time to close up the top!  After all, this is a tea cozy, not just a pretty rectangle with a couple weird holes.

I switched to dpns (because I didn’t have a short enough circular needle in the right size), and started working in the round.img_3373I did a few rows even, then decreased all the way around, once every 8th stitch.  I kept going, knitting one row even, then decreasing in pattern, making the decreases line up.

Once I got right to the top, I cut my yarn and passed the tail through the active stitches, the same way I would work the top of a hat.

img_3380Voila! closed up nicely!  If I wanted a smoother top (and less-obvious pleats around each set of decreases), I probably could re-knit it and decrease at a more relaxed rate, but I think I kind of like how the top turned out.

The spout is still pulling in what would be an uncomfortable way if this were a garment for a human, but I think that’ll be sorted out once I work the spout cuff, so I’m not worried.

img_3384The one thing I don’t love is that the handle hole ended up a bit too big- see that gap at the top of the handle?  I’m not a fan.

I mean, not enough to fix anything, but if I were to re-knit this pattern, I might change that.  Otherwise I’m pretty happy.

Speaking of pretty, let’s talk about my notes.  Because those are not even close to pretty anymore.  Observe:

img_3385

I don’t think there’s a line I haven’t scratched out or adjusted.  I think just about every number had to be re-calculated and each measurement ended up slightly adjusted.

But that’s how designing a new pattern goes- you’ve got to be flexible and ready to find and fix any mistakes, because there will be mistakes.

What do you think of this design so far- I’m getting close to being done!

Sketchy

It’s planning time!

I’m working on my tea cozy, and as much as I would like to, I can’t just pick up my needles and start knitting.  I’ve got to do some planning.  And before I really get down to the nitty-gritty planning (math!), I’ve got to get some ideas.

I pulled out some of the yarn I’m thinking of using, my tea pot, and a steaming mug of peppermint tea.IMG_3268Believe it or not, I do this for almost all my designs (sometimes ideas come to me fully formed, but those are sadly few and far between).

I sketch out a half-dozen or so general ideas, and make notes next to them (in case I come back to the designs later and go “what the heck was I thinking”).  Some of the ideas I know aren’t going to go anywhere, but there are usually one or two that I end up liking.

So, let’s look at them.  (As usual, there are some I like, and some… not so much.)

IMG_3284At the top of the page, I did a little practical sketch, laying out the parts of the tea cozy.  I think I’ll knit it from the bottom up, with ribbing at the cast-on edge.  I’ll work it flat, leaving an opening for the spout (maybe a gusset, like a mitten, or maybe just a big button hole).  Then, I’ll knit in the round for the “crown” of the cozy, like a hat.  I think that should work pretty well.  Now I just have to decide how to decorate the cozy.

The first design I came up with is a plain stockinette cozy, decorated with flowers knit separately.  You know, old-school tea cozy.  I like this design in theory, but it’s so not me.  Also, I don’t want to knit up that many flowers.  Can you imagine all those ends?

I kind of like the next design, an alpine-sweater-inspired tea cozy.  Complete with a fun, geometric colorwork pattern around the “belly” and a big ol’ pom pom at the top.

Or, I could just do simple stripes.  I love stripes, and it  would be a good way to use up all the little ends of yarn I’ve got laying around.  But is it too simple?IMG_3275After the maybe-too-simple stripes, I swung the other way, going over the top with a fully-charted Fair Isle design.  Maybe little tea cakes?  Or trees? Or a Great British Bake Off theme?  I This one is still pretty vague in the back of my head… but I bet I could come up with something good.

Or, I could make some sort of “fancy stripes.”  Maybe alternate solid stripes with stripes polka-dotted down the middle?  It would be a fun way to use a mix of colors, but be fancier than the simple stripes.

Another idea was to go full-on Aran Sweater.  Big, fat cables. Texture out the wazoo.  Thick, lovely yarn to keep your tea piping hot.  But Aran Sweaters are usually undyed, and tea is brown.  I’d hate to stain my tea cozy.  I suppose I could work it in a different color, though.

And, honestly, the last idea was just to fill up the page.  Big old intarsia polka dots on a white/light background.  Not a fan.

I’m probably leaning toward the Fancy Stripes, the Alpine, or the Aran designs, but I’ll need to think about it before I do any swatching.

What do you think?

Design Series: Inspirations

All right, knitters!  The votes have been tallied and it looks like socks are the big winner!

When I’m working on my own designs, the next thing I decide on is the inspiration behind my project.  This isn’t anything technical; I’m not doing any math, or even picking out any stitch patterns yet.  This step simply lets me figure out what the feel of the project will be.  Once I decide on an inspiration, the rest of the design will start to fall into place.

So, here are a few options for the inspiration of our socks:

Option 1:  Fun and silly, like this little goat.

funny-animal-pictures-of-the-week-039-001[1]Option 2:  Sleek and sophisticated, like the Singapore skyline.singapore_skyline[1]Option 3: Delicate and feminine, like these forget-me-not flowers.Forget-Me-Not-[1]Option 4: Warm and cozy, like this mountain cabin.cozy-cabins[1]Option 5: Light and breezy, like this tropical beach.Tropical-Beach-2[1]Option 6: Natural and outdoorsy, like this mountain range.yellow-stone-national-park-mountains[1]Option 7: Cool and practical, like the Pacific Northwest coastline.

Rialto-Beach-Olympic-Peninsula-WA[1]Let me know what you’re into, and next week, we’ll start narrowing down the design.