Puddles outtakes

Pruning Offshoot

Lindsay LewchukPattern Related, Puddles, Q&A, Spring Leave a Comment

Stitches bound off, ends woven in, out of the washed and blocked cycle, and I sat staring at my completed Offshoot contemplating what to do.  I wore it, I tossed it about, I questioned the yarn and it kept saying “not done.”  So, then I wore it to a zoom with some of my fellow indie designers and did something I don’t think I’ve done since I started designing… asked for feedback!  The back and sleeves were “perfect” as they all agreed, but the front was a little meh.  My teacher & co-indie, Jill Wolcott, suggested a trim.  Now you all know I love the seamless knits but truly the idea of frogging back to add a contiguous trim was beyond overwhelming.  Especially since I wasn’t sure if a trim would even be the missing piece.  Then another great piece of advice came in, knit it separately and just see what you think. 

original Offshoot neckline
The original I-cord neckline – a little “meh” isn’t it… except when being worn by Puddles as a blankey at night.

A few trials later (I played and lost yarn chicken a few times since these pieces weren’t part of original concept), I pinned the finished trim on and yes, that was the missing piece!  And I learnt something else…

Puddles and Lindsay
Yes, I know the photo is seriously out of focus, but look the trim is staying in place despite the puppy wrangling! (More on this further down)

The fact that it was seamed actually created the necessary amount of stabilization so it wouldn’t flap about!  Talk about God protecting me from a complete frog for no reason!!!

Offshoot was such a learning experience.  In additional to the above antidote, I learned that sadly the brain degeneration is progressing.  Yes, that which made me drop out of academia and take up life as a knitwear designer is now seriously encroaching upon these brain cells too.  It’s been over 18 months since my last treatment and I’m noticing it daily.  BUT I’m determined to continue on and keep giving the little grey cells as much of a workout as they can handle without over doing it. 

Offshoot Outtakes
On the left – the first draft return from the TE. Each color represents a different type of error – from math, to syntax, to missing directions, etc. It was SO heartbreaking to receive that as I thought it was perfect when I sent it in. On the right all the math checks I’d done before sending it in to TE. The pattern, the per size st counts, the lace placement, and a 3rd check of the st counts. Turns out I used different CO numbers in my excel than I did in the pattern – a relatively easy fix that took over a week to figure out! Little grey cells, where did you go?!? Timeline – we started TE in April and it was “review knit ready” in June.

And, thankfully, I have a TE who is very understanding that for me, this is therapy.  She now does a quick read through and tosses back “unknitable designs” for a rewrite before getting too deep into edits.  Plus we have jokingly put on a ”no grading garments during April-June (pollen/ mold season)” rule on my design schedule!  As much as I’m eager to grow, I know I need to reconquer what I’ve already learned, once again, before stretching into new grading areas.

sketch Offshoot
The necklines compete, there is lots of structure points fighting directions under the arm, and the “airiness” felt with the halter disappears.

On the aesthetic side, I learnt about how to combine knitting styles.  I have a great love for a set-in sleeve.  But with Offshoot I wanted to wear it with Cultivation.  Have you ever worn a halter with a set-in sleeve sweater on top?  Not the most comfortable combination.  As I looked at Cultivation and held the leftover yarn in my hand for the shrug, I had a lightbulb moment – a raglan is just like a halter.  Do you see it? 

I hadn’t seen it before.  Excited for this new awakening, I wanted to play up this commonality by carrying the lace from the halter over the sleeves to create a very specific and fun effect!  Not only does Offshoot work well over halters, but it fits lovely over sleeveless and set-in sleeve tops (and dresses) as well.

Seeing Puddles before he sees me
“Hiding” behind the rhododendrons, I saw my heart with his nose to the air running down the road (with camera dad far behind) to find me.

Now for my heart… you’ve said it before, I have a special smile when Puddles appears.  Offshoot Shrug shoot confirmed it for me!  When editing the photos, I remembered back to the 3 wardrobe changes and how I’d asked camera dad to let Puddles out about 5 minutes after the last one.  This photo was my first sight of him running down the road sniffing out my location – I was in the neighbour’s backyard.

Funnily, the photos with Puddles did NOT turn out.  He was a mix of excitement to find me combined with punish for leaving him and refused to obey any command until he had wiggles and Dane leaned to his hearts content. 

Puddles outtakes
Great Dane wrangling… the Great Dane won ;-).

After the shoot was over, he calmed down, but by that time, I’d put on my rain jacket.  Oh well, not everything goes to plan.  The memories will last a lifetime though!

Puddles outtakes
Yes, there is a hand knit top and shrug hiding under all that coverage ;-).

I did get this one good “back” shot of us both!  Thanks Puddles 😉.

Offshoot and Puddles
Good boy, Puddles… finally!

That’s the pruning of Offshoot and a little glimpse into where I’m at with my illness and design.  Thanks for reading and happy knitting!

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