Friday, 4 November 2011

Learning Curves

We all know Christmas gets earlier every year, but for the last two years I haven't minded at all. Us handcrafters need to get the prep in if we're to make a success of the festive season and this last month has seen me tied to my knitting hamper churning out baubles by the tree-load.

I started my little business last November and one of the first things I had for sale were my knitted Fairisle motif baubles. I LOVE those baubles, they get a lot of attention when I've had them at fairs and I feel a real sense of accomplishment when I've got them completely finished. But they take a long time to make an they're very easy to cock up, I can't count the times I've had to stop and unpick rows of work that took me an age to do in the first place. It's been an important learning curve, realising that sometimes the most beautiful things aren't the most sale-able things. So this year I've been finding new ways of making beautiful baubles that's don't drive me crazy or take an entire day to finish. My Number 1 Bauble Revelation this year has been: Colour Slip Patterns.

Why have I only just discovered this fantastic technique?! Colour slip patterns work by knitting individual rows in different colours and using slipped stitches to bring the previous rows colour into the current row, if you get me? You can probably tell from the picture on the left how it works, and it's AMAZING. With Fairisle colour techniques you have 2 or more colours of yarn in action in each row, with colour slip patterns like the one I used you only have the one colour per row, so much less tangling but just as much fun! These Chevron Baubles are some of my favourites and they're so easy to change up between colour schemes and sizes.

My other Bauble Revelation for 2011 has been the Unexpected Benefits of Mistaken Ordering. That is, I ordered a load of wool, it was the wrong colours, but in the end they were better colours.
I had been using some not so great 100% Merino Wool yarn from Abakhans, nice finish but quite splitty to work with. So this year I decided to try out Cascade 220, it was important for me that it was all wool (more on this in a future post) and coming in larger skeins and a better price it seemed a good deal all round. But I can't find it in shops in Liverpool, so I had to rely on internet stores and PDF shade cards to make my choices. What I thought was a lovely midnight-y blue and a paler sky blue for snowy night snowflakey scenes turned out to be teal and turqoise. PANIC I thought! What do I do now?! That's not Christmas!

When I started playing round with the other colours I'd bought I realised that what I had was actually much more interesting and, dare I say it, on trend? Let's hear it for happy accidents!
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