Thursday, October 21, 2010

Some things probably don't deserve the thought I give them.

So I wrote a pattern. To be specific, I wrote a hat pattern.

I still have to wash, block, and take pictures of the finished product before I'll be ready to fully write it up, but I'm already liking it.

Although this isn't the first time I've knit something on my own, I've never written anything that I would call a pattern, the tongue-in-cheek Random Cowl notwithstanding. I've always been hesitant to do so for two reasons.

1. I'm pretty terrible about keeping track of my knitting. I might get as far as writing down how much I cast on and occasionally will mark the number of increases and such, but most of the time I forget at least one step or, even better, change my knitting but not my notes. I've found myself having to try and reverse-engineer a second sock or glove on more than one occasion because of my terrible note-taking.

2. I've been struggling with the concept of "original pattern." Don't get me wrong, after reading more than my share of long and painful discussions on Ravelry about copyright law, copyright ethics, general pattern wankery and why both designers and the people who knit others' designs are all wrong, I have a very firm grasp on the law. The problem I find comes from trying to concretely define for myself what constitutes an original pattern.

So much of my work takes bits and pieces from things I've knit before. Although none of it is exactly like anyone else's pattern, it just doesn't feel like MINE because I borrowed the gauge from another pattern or the stitch from a dictionary. Secondly, some of my knitting is simple enough that, although I didn't use a pattern, it seems silly to call it a pattern at all. Having said that, a quick look through a lot of the patterns on Ravelry --including the garter stitch scarves, the ribbed-brim beanies, and basic cable baby blankets-- tells me that I'm in the minority with this thinking. Although there's a need for these patterns-- beginners have to start somewhere-- trying to call that one individual's pattern feels like trying to copyright knitting itself. Some say it's the specific wording that makes Jane Q. Public's beanie an original work, different from every other beanie on the planet, but really? I honestly don't know how to feel or what to think on the subject.

Then again, here I am writing a hat pattern that most knitters could probably sort out for themselves, so who am I to judge?

Ultimately, though laws are relatively clear, I'm finding trying to define the concept of "original" is like trying to define "art" or "beauty", so while it's still something my brain is constantly muddling over, I've managed to push it into the background white noise of my thoughts.

....well, until I started writing about it anyway.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Ghouls Night Out.

And so it commences.

I've been spinning up my first "art" yarn. I've always had a bit of difficulty with art yarn-- it just doesn't suit me. Over the years, I've figured out that my personal knitting style tends to veer away from the novelty towards the practical. I love details like lace and cables, but if things are too fuzzy or have too many colors or added embellishments, I tend to run in the other direction. Although I've always found art yarns pretty, I tend to avoid them because I know I will never knit with them.

Until today.

I happened to find some skull beads at the bead shop while looking for something else, and it sparked a notion of making a Halloween themed yarn. So I started digging through my fiber stash. Instead of the traditional black/orange combo, I decided for something a little less literal and opted for some black merino with bits of gray and white NZ wool and along with the skulls, there are gears and small keys and big swirly glass beads. It's not a true art yarn-- for starters it's a relatively even thickness throughout-- but it's probably as close as I'm going to come.

Frankly, I'm rather giddy over the whole thing. Now my month of Halloween can begin.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Too many cogs moving....

My brain has been busy lately. Busy with life stuff that I won't get into here, but also busy with craft stuff.

I'm spinning my first attempt at art yarn, or more accurately art-ish yarn. I'm also toying with another arty-farty yarn that may or may not turn out, but for now it's an interesting idea.

I'm trying to figure out how to block my first and possibly last* shawl. I have a giant bulletin board that is useful for blocking smaller things, but this stupid shawl just. won't. fit.

I'm still working on my quest of knitting from the stash and the books and have added the new goal of making enough pairs of fingerless gloves that I can wear them with every outfit I own. This winter is supposed to be bad enough to take all the previous winters' lunch money and give them wedgies, so I'm trying to be prepared.

I'm sketching out ideas for a Goodwill sweater I just finished unraveling. It's worth noting, Banana Republic makes an incredibly well-constructed sweater. Softer-than-soft merino and knit seamlessly, which is a rarity for a mass-produced garment.

Mostly, though, my brain has been stuck on one particular notion: knitting patterns. More specifically, what makes a pattern? And when you get down to brass tacks, what makes a pattern yours?

....oh yeah, and I'm putting together a Halloween music playlist.

Is it any wonder that I can't seem to fall asleep?