Tuesday, 20 January 2009

a new nerys

I've been watching the US inauguration coverage for hours, on the BBC and then online, is it possible for America to be more joyous?! They made a good choice though, so they deserve to be!

Those hours on the sofa let me finish up the new nerys, a corduroy/crochet/knit bag.

The bag is mostly fabric, the knitted and crochet bits aren't really structural, just decorative, so she's quite sturdy. I didn't sew that pocket either, just cut around it and appliqued the whole thing on a bit messily. This is a keeper!

Friday, 16 January 2009

corduroy fish


Poor nerys, she turned out to have an undeniable design failure ~ she was far to bulky for regular wear, too wide and too heavy. I can't bear to see a knit like that languish forever in some forgotten corner, unloved. I have much to learn about scarf design. I also have a few things to learn about knitted bags, the most crucial of which is ~
  • The lining is the strength of the bag, until a lining is found and inserted the bag is unusable, or you'll quickly find it stretching where it shouldn't be. This is why alish and candlestick were in my wip basket for so long, no lining.

So, nerys has been unravelled, and my next project is going to be a more practical home for the lovely blue Rowan Big Wool. I found a pair of grey corduroy trousers my mum bought me years ago, which don't really fit and I've been dying to cut up. My plan is to combine the two to create a sturdy satchel, the true workhorse of the urban bag.

I've solved the problem of the chart of the Surprise; the chart is on squared paper, so a square with 22 stitches has 22 rows, whereas my tension will mean a square with 22 stitches has 30 rows. So I simply need to put those 8 rows into the chart, i.e. lengthen the chart by 8 rows for every 22 rows so that when knitted the image isn't squashed down, but is in proportion. My chart has 120 rows, so I need to add 44 rows. I plan to add these evenly spaced throughout the chart, and simply duplicate the row below. This means that I just need to mark on the chart with a pencil line where the extra rows will go, and I don't need to redraw the entire thing, huzzay! (I hope!).

Edited to add: I've decided not to put the pattern for nerys on ravelry, since I unravelled it it hardly seems fair. I hate saying I'm going to do something and then backing out, sorry! But if you are brave and want to try the pattern (maybe in a less bulky wool?) feel free to email me for the instructions and chart.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Thankee, thankee

for all your kind comments about Haven. Much appreciated!

Johanna, your comment on my previous post...

"Just thought I'd mention that stitches tend to be wider than high (like you said your tension is 22 sts and 30 rows across a 4" square), so if you are drawing this on regular graph paper, it will come out slightly wider i.e. a bit squashed when knitted. Shouldn't really make a big difference for a boat, but if you want it to be in proportion, try stretching the image file by about 30-40% in height, then print on regular graph paper."

Hell and death! You're absolutely right, excuse me while I go and weep in a dark corner...

Back soon with some sort of cunning plan to avoid completely re-graphing the image.

Friday, 9 January 2009

january project ~ haven

New year's resolution: make something nice at least once a month (definition of nice: designed be someone else, pretty, wearable, and not messed up in any significant way).

January project; Haven by Kim Hargreaves, from the book Heartfelt.

Knitted in 3 skeins of soft Rowan Cocoon in Bilberry. This wool is gorgeously soft, with a slight mohair effect, and the bilberry shade is actually a bit darker than in the photo. The lace repeat is easy to memorise, and since this is done with 8mm needles is a super quick knit. This was a lot of fun, highly recommended!

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

seven pieces of graph paper...

...are quite hard to photograph without blurring. You can double click on the image to get a close up.

This is the final sketch I think, I'm sure I'll keep making alterations, but I'm moving onto the coloured version now. Lets hope it looks a lot better!

Monday, 5 January 2009

changing tack

Thanks for all your support and advice everyone, both through the comments here and on ravelry. I'm a bit overwhelmed that you're all so excited about this! I'm changing tack a little, hopefully to the vast improvement of the project, as a result of all your advice, and I hope you'll all continue to offer your critical opinions ~ I'd be most obliged.

Here is my summary of the critical comments;:
  • more than one point of perspective
  • some of the sails not the right shape
  • the hull is not the right shape

and the suggestions;

  • add shading to the sails for depth and shape
  • edge sails in a different colour to differentiate
  • extend the spars beyond the edges of the sails
  • add a break at the waist of the ship

I agree with absolutely all of these comments (they seem to be painfully glaring and I can't imagine how I missed them now) and it got me thinking that if I'm going to do this I might as well do it properly.

Thus, I have scrapped the sketch and chosen a new and better image to start with, the Geoff Hunt painting of HMS Surprise (featured on the cover of the 21st book). I found a really clear version of it on the internet and zoomed in a bit, then printed on squared paper. I hope I'm not totally trashing the copyright laws doing this!

As you can see this will be much easier to copy without losing the correct shape and perspective; there are fewer sails (and they are easier to differentiate); and there is more and clearer detail ~ especially on the hull. For instance there is already quite a lot of shading on the sails and a break at the waist.
I will probably use grey and light blue for the sails now, and as the hull, ropes and masts will be in dark blues I will add some light colour to the sea and sky around the ship so they can be seen against the black background. I know that black will give the whole image a very different look, I'm aiming to capture the ship at night in the moonlight. And of course it will be more of a graphic image than a painting anyway.
I'm using dk weight to knit this, and a basic t-shirt pattern. My tension will be 22 sts and 30 rows across a 4" square. As my stitches are smaller than the squares on my graph paper, I'm scaling the image up to twice the size, while converting it into the basic chart. The increased size also allows the curves to be a bit more gradual. I've only done the top sails so far, I'll update with the entire image soon.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

design advice needed...

You might already know that one of the obsessions in my life is the Aubrey-Maturin series of books by Patrick O'Brian. I have all 21 books, the film 'Master and Commander' on dvd, the soundtrack to the film, the audio-cds of both 'Master and Commander' and 'The Far Side of the World', the companion book 'A Guide to Aubrey's Navy' and the companion cookery book 'Lobscouse and Spotted Dog', the Master and Commander board game (which is excellent by the way), am a member of the ravelry group 'The Lesser of Two Needles' and have been to Portsmouth to walk around HMS Victory. I came away from that day with a ruler depicting the battle of Trafalgar and a t-shirt with Victory emblazoned on it. I am, in this respect, a little nutty.

So lets face it, it was only a matter of time before I thought of knitting a t-shirt with a tall ship in intarsia on the front. I found this screen-shot on the internet from the film (can you see the Acheron in the distance in hot pursuit?), and am currently trying to turn it into a knitting pattern.

Now I'm absolutely no Geoff Hunt, I can't draw a ship, or copy an image of a ship with any kind of technical accuracy, I'm aiming for the impression of a ship, an abstract image. I've managed this sketch, and I would really appreciate knowing what you think ~ if there is anything odd or stupid about this drawing. Does anything look out of place, does it look the wrong shape, is it laughable?

I've tried to copy the image, but have taken away some of the sails on the left, and as I'll be doing it in only three colours, have omitted a lot of the detail on the hull. My main concerns are; is the hull the right shape; is the hull in proportion to the sails; and is the whole ship too narrow, does the image need widening a bit?

These are the colours I'll be using ~ black for the main fabric, dark blue and teal for the hull and masts, and light blue for the sails and the bow wave.