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Monday, March 7, 2011

Episode 3: Business Challenges, and a bit of Lace, too!

Episode 3 comes to you from my kitchen, on a rainy Monday morning in Maine. After experimenting with a few recording spots at the office and warehouse, stepping away from the hustle and bustle may just be the best solution for decent audio.

After a short trip to Las Vegas, I share one of my all time travel fears: running out of knitting projects to work on during a trip! From experience, I ALWAYS over pack. This time was no exception—3 projects for a 3-day trip. Really...REALLY?? Yes...I can't help it. You never know. I actually Mapquested the nearest yarn shop in advance, Gail Knits (a customer of ours), just in case...

And if you think a Vegas casino is no place for knitting, think again. While waiting for the slowest penny slot machine to pay out $111.27, I took out a sock project (note to self: never leave the hotel room without an emergency knitting project) worked in an experimental version of Ty-Dy Socks (Skinny Stripes—a new version of this popular yarn). A win/win situation ($$ + knitting in public) And by the way in case you are wondering, no tattoos!

While I was in Las Vegas for the American Rental Association trade show (Jay, my SO, owns an equipment rental store), I did not take the time to walk the show floor with him—tractors and chain saws do nothing for my creative soul. Fortunately, there is a trade organization in our industry, The National Needle Arts Association, that totally fits the bill. We exhibit our products at the bi-annual trade show, along with many other companies. The show, including classes open to members only (sorry folks, not to the general public), spans 5 to 6 days, and one of the highlight is the Friday evening fashion show. We always participate and for this latest show, we had 3 featured designs: the Mermaid Tee in Ty-Dy cotton, the Stadium Cardigan in Nautika, and the Yoga Shrug and Sock Set in Pediwick.

We have many new designs for spring, including the Athena Tank. This design is a perfect example of a blend of 2 ideas: an off-the-rack tank top with a printed motif on the racer back and a design for the Triangle Shawl from a previous season. Combine components of these 2 very different garments, and the end design is the Athena Tank (shown below in blue), pattern 1740, worked in Babyboo, a bamboo/nylon blend (very soft to the touch and machine washable).
This pattern is also featured in the June issue of Knit'n Style magazine (should be on the newsstand any day now).

The mini lesson for this episode is about the basics of lace: for every yarn over in lace (which creates the eyelet openings) there must be a matching decrease to offset it. If you work a yarn over without this matching decrease, the yarn over becomes an increase (and you will have more and more stitches on your needle). The following chart shows you each group of matching stitches (each color = matching stitches).

For the groups of symbols in blue, red, purple and green, each yarn over is matched with either a k2 together or ssk decrease. The 2 orange eyelets are offset by the double decrease in between. The Hey Teach Cardigan from I designed in 2008 (and still going strong) is a perfect example of a pattern where you must be careful in keeping track of your matching yarn overs and decreases. In the chart below, the blue line illustrates a sample armhole shaping. The 2 circled yarn overs must NOT be worked because their matching decrease (the inverted V to the right) is no longer being worked after being eliminated by shaping.
As promised, I've created a pdf file with a blank grid to be used whenever you want to chart out the complete armhole shaping of a garment, or if you want to experiment in designing your own lace—go ahead, give it a go!


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