Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Sticking with What I'm Good At

I am not a very creative person. It is rare that I have a truly new and innovative idea in my hobbies or my work. What I am however, is a good editor and great tester. I can see something and figure out how to make it better. As I'm getting more into knitting, I'm finding more confidence in making minor changes to patterns -- like the small change I made to My Rose Garden Stole (Ravelry).

I've been absolutely fascinated with the design process and Anne at Knitspot has been blogging about her design process on her newest creation. How she goes through the swatching process and how she changes the shape and design as she goes. Isn't it incredible! Here's the final product.

I hope that one day I'm confident enough to design my own lace project one day. Instead, I'm going to concentrate on what I know I'm good at -- testing. I was lucky enough to be asked to test knit a pattern for Helen of Troy.

I read her blog, Golden Apples, because she occasionally has some really interesting tutorials and ALWAYS has a good read. She had a cool looking hat & scarf set on her blog recently and once she was on Ravelry, I knew I had to track down the pattern. So, I searched until I found her and her pattern -- (I just realized how stalkerish that sounded!!) I "favorited" the pattern and then Helen contacted me.

So what does a test knitter do --

  1. I searched for the yarn used for the original - Patons SWS Stripes and Patons SWS Solids.

  2. I read through the pattern several times to make sure that I understood everything.

  3. Anything I didn't understand, I sent to Helen and updated the pattern.

  4. I finally find the yarn I needed.

  5. I cast on for the scarf and discover that I really don't like SWS. Its like a super thick annoying mohair.

  6. I start knitting the scarf but something didn't look quite right. I decide to sleep on it.

  7. I order dpns for knitting the hat

  8. I tried knitting the scarf again -- but this time with cotton that I can tink and frog more easily.

  9. I admit defeat and contact Helen complete with pictures.

  10. Get an updated pattern.

  11. Cast on for the scarf again and start knitting -- now it looks right.

  12. I wait for the dpns to arrive.

  13. Continue knitting the scarf.

  14. Continue knitting the scarf

  15. I finish the scarf, takes pictures and send them to Helen..

  16. I wait for the dpns to arrive

  17. DPNs finally arrive.

  18. I cast-on for the hat.

  19. Discover that my dpn's are too short and I'm loosing stitches in the main section of the hat.

  20. Begin a quest for longer dpn's.

  21. Sent husband to local yarn shops during his lunch break -- no dpn's.

  22. Stop at Michael's on our way home from work. Get dpn's --only 1 inch longer, but it'll have to do.

  23. Continue knitting hat.

  24. Rally weekend with Bruce - knit hat at trial.

  25. Figure out that the hat would be perfect for The Husband's grandmother for Christmas.

Here's the Wavy Slip-Stitch Scarf:


10292007PIC038_edited 10292007PIC038_edited

Here's the hat:


11_19_2007PIC003_edited 11_19_2007PIC002_edited

From this, I ended up with:

  • a great hat & scarf to use as a gift

  • an awesome pattern -- that I'll probably knit again but with different yarn

  • a new appreciate for designers and test knitters

What I learned about test knitting:

  1. Keep good communication with your designer -- better to ask questions than waste time trying to figure it out yourself.

  2. Don't agree to test knit if you've already got too much on the needles.

  3. Make sure you have the materials to do the test knit.

Helen - Thank you for the awesome pattern and your extraordinary patience as I took so long to knit the hat & scarf!

No comments: