Saturday, February 4, 2012

Backing into a sweater design part II

Yesterday I left off after completing the bottom of the back of the sweater, decided to make it a pullover and then worked the bottom of the front to match the back so that I used up the same amount of each color on each side. Now I have the bands at the bottom done and then I finished up the first skein of black so that I know how many rows I can get out of a skein (a bit more than 12 or about 5" / 1100 stitches. ) That doesn't count any yarn that's laid under a row but it gives me a ballpark figure. That's not a whole lot so I might come up short on black depending on how I use the other colors.

Next comes the mandala. If you really want to learn about mandala design then you should probably go talk to a Buddhist monk because I just grab some graph paper (the online version) and start at the center and make dots in patterns that I like to outline it. There is no deep mystical symbolism going on here - it's just a pretty design. If you don't have graphing software then you can either find a sample of graph paper online or scan one in. Then using Paint or any similar software with a pen gizmo you can color it in, making sure not to color over your outline dots in a way that hides them. (If you're working in the round, skip this and do it in your head like you always do. I have a math and computer science degree and spent a month working with a guy with a doctorate in astrophysics and we still couldn't design round graph paper that lets you increase wherever you want to. It's mind-boggling.) Another thing to remember is that although graph paper is square, single crochet isn't and the stitches are about a third taller than they are wide. Your perfect design is going to be stretched up unless you squash it down a bit beforehand or don't care if it isn't perfectly square.

Next comes the color decisions and this is always a tough one for me. The first pass that I did is beautiful and starts with shades of reds and pinks in the center, moves out to some purples and then has green and blue around the edges. It looks great but it means that I'd be using up to 8 colors in each row and that's a bit much. If I carry all of them along it will be too thick and if I keep cutting them after 2 stitches I'll be wasting more yarn on the ends then what I use on the stitches. Then I worked up a second one in intarsia style where the dots stay the same color and the background is striped. It gives a nice effect too (see the picture below of a vest in my shop) but I'm not as excited about how the result will look. I'm going to have to think about it and since I have to wait for 2 more colors to be delivered next week I have plenty of time. I really want to use those 2 colors so I'll have to sit this aside for a few days and work on my in-between project.

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