Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sources of inspiration

I made these "Baby Uggs" a few days ago, following a pattern that--as usual--I found for free on the Internet. They worked up fast, and as I knitted I figured out different ways to knit the next pair. The design is cute, but the instrux are oddly written (possibly because translated into English), and then personal taste enters the equation. For example, why knit them on the right side (aka "the knit side") if the purl side is ultimately "the right side"? (In the end you take the bootie and turn it inside out for its permanent look. I've been informed that this is to humor knitters who hate purling. To them I say, "Grow up.")

But seriously, why not do the entire bootie in seed stitch if you're looking for more texture? That's what I'll try next. So, stay tuned for the next iteration. The point here, though, is a knitter can be inspired to ring changes on any pattern. I don't believe I've ever knitted a pattern as written, actually, mistakes notwithstanding.

These are lumpily stuffed with tissue paper for display purposes.


If you're looking for unusual inspiration, I can recommend Rosemary Drysdale's latest and greatest--Entrelac2: New Techniques for Interlace Knitting (Sixth & Spring, 2014). I already owned the first of her series, Entrelac:  The Essential Guide to Interlace Knitting (Sixth & Spring, 2010), and found it fascinating, so I was quite interested to see its sequel.

Entrelac is not the easiest technique to conquer. I liken it to learning how to knit socks on double-points or two cables. With entrelac you have to be able to conceptualize both the specific, unusual process of knitting in a more dimensional way than if you were making flat pieces of stockinette, and you have to be a bit anal about picking up stitches in an evenly-spaced manner. Once you have that under control, you can move to the next level, which is adding lace patterns or other kinds of stitch definition to the fabric you're making in little triangles and rectangles that are modularly connected to each other.

When I wanted to learn entrelac, I attended a how-to workshop specifically for that purpose. However, I think that if you read Rosemary D's books carefully, you can actually teach yourself, and then you have the benefit of owning definitive works on the subject.  Learning to knit entrelac is a matter of concentrating, and possibly looking at a DIY video on Youtube or a similar website for further clarification. It's really a worthwhile effort, however, because once you have this under your belt you're bound to be inspired in ways you hadn't dreamed of earlier. And if you're not one to imagine your own patterns, the book provides many interesting designs, ranging from a simple glasses case to complex sweaters.

Isn't this design from Entrelac2 gorgeous?
My favorite parts of Entrelac and Entrelac2, however, are the stitch glossaries. If you can knit up those swatches, you can knit anything! Together they comprise more than 140 possibilities, and once you get the hang, you'll probably invent some on your own.

So buy the book--for yourself or a knitting friend (the release date is 9/23/14). Or, if you're feeling lucky, post a comment below telling me why you want the book, and the publisher will send a comp copy to the person I select. Contest closes at midnight on Sunday, September 21, the first day of autumn.

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