I've been somewhat overwhelmed with work this term, and the idea of blogging about my crafting has become something of an alien concept. However, I think this is a crafting event that definitely needs documenting.
Friday, 3 December 2010
Photo from Inside Crochet, KALMedia on Yudu
That, the Esmée Cardigan on the cover of Inside Crochet magazine, is my cardigan. The cardigan that I designed, made, and wrote the pattern for, and the first design that I submitted for publication.
The Esmée cardigan began with Lila, at the beginning of 2009. I had attempted to make Annette Pétavy's Leaves sweater from the Crochet Me! book, but lack of swatching meant that I made it hideously too large. Annoyed, I went in search of other 4-ply crochet patterns, eventually, (well, probably not after very long as they're in the same book) Robyn Chachula's Comfy Cardi. However, I found the instructions for the arm a little difficult to understand, but found the stitch pattern to be quite beautiful. Really, I just wanted a lacy cardigan, with some shaping that took account of the fact that I have breasts and a waist. A quick drawing ended up with something very similar to what I ended up submitting with the Esmée cardigan (this is what I submitted with Esmée):
Some kind of lacy pattern, v-neck, waistband/differentiation/cinching. I worked out how many repeats of the 'lacy diamonds' pattern from the Comfy Cardy I would need for my measurements, and off I went. And produced this:
While the measurements were right, the placing of the armholes were not - the back was too large, making the v-neck all skewed, the shoulders falling down the arms. It just didn't quite work. But my Mum liked it, and asked me to make one similar for her.
The idea of making an identical Lila (or Mila - Lila for Mum, as I christened it) sounded rather boring, and so I went in search of an interesting stitch pattern that might at least vary the experience. I ended up choosing the 'Gilded fans' stitch pattern from the Crochet Vogue Stitchionary. And by the beginning of June, I had created this:
That didn't quite work either - but that's more through blunders rather than design fault. The back fits perfectly, as do the sleeves, but I placed the waist band much too low, drawing attention to the widest point and being utterly unflattering. I also knew that if I was to make the cardigan again, then I would have to choose a stitch pattern that worked well with the decreases required by the v-neck, as well as being slightly easier to work in the round (ish - backwards and forwards creating a fairly seamless look rather than strictly 'in the round') for the sleeves. Gilded fans was a bit of a nightmare.
So when Inside Crochet sent out a call for patterns, I knew that if I was going to send in a garment then it would have to be something that I was familiar with. And though Lila and Mila had both been imperfect, they had received compliments on the design (v-neck, lace, waistband) and so I decided to go for it. A happy night practising different stitch patterns, and trying to come up with a lace that was visually interesting (like the 'lacy diamonds' on Lila) without being overpowering (which the 'gilded fans' on Mila has a tendency to be). I ended up thinking about leaves, and my love of dc2tog (US terms) and the diamond stitch pattern of Esmée was created.
Proposal was submitted, accepted. Yarn came in early summer, stitching began in earnest in July as I tried to organise crochet around helping on a kid's camp and going to Brittany for dissertation research. Struggled with the whole idea of making something 'sample size' (size 10, I am not). Finally, when I had just finished it, found someone of 'sample size' build to try it on for me. Lovely, although I must mention that on her, it fell to the 'well-fitted' end of the spectrum (rather than flowy), which I think I was aiming for but if you want something flowing and for layering, then it may be worth making a size larger (or definitely swatching and checking before you make).
Chose buttons. Being back at the kids' camp and without much computer access, wrote pattern out by hand. Wished I'd made more notes. Cursed choosing to do a v-neck. Drew numerous stitch diagrams to try and work out how it all worked. Finished. Typed up at home. Made stitch diagrams on computer - much respect for people who draw all their stitch diagrams on the computer. Thought up various blurbs. Thought of name. Thought about name more. Decided on name - Esmée - memorable of Esmeralda or the green colour, French as much of it was stitched in France, feminine.
Sent off at the beginning of September. Waited. Waited. Waited.
And then saw this:
Photo from Inside Crochet, KALMedia on Yudu
In the meantime, I have been crafting. Quite a lot of knitting - made four green hats, of which two are still existing (two frogged to make the other two). Practised lace knitting. Started knitting gloves.
Made nine (lost one) tiny hats for my friend to use as decorations for a Christmas dinner she ran, in this picture, the ones that I made are in the two rows on the right (the rest are from Innocent Smoothie bottles):
Four are crocheted (top right, both on 2nd row to bottom, and bottom left of the 2 columns), and the rest were knit. I used the knitted ones to practise some techniques - ribbing (top left), colourwork (2nd row) and Christmas pudding making (bottom right). The one that I lost was white and I had practised cables on.
My favourite is the yellow one:
It's done in Tunisian crochet, worked flat with two rows of decreases and then sewed together.
The top photo also shows the Granny Square blanket I've been making. It's currently 5x5 squares, intended to use up stash.