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