U-turns and Roundabouts

Lindsay Lewchuk Announcements, Fiber Focus, Pattern Related 4 Comments

…the Road to the Design of Essential Tank, erg, I mean Everyday Tank, erg, actually this is it – Sarsaparilla Tank.

2013-2014: I fell in love with Quince n Co’s Sparrow at Warm ‘n Fuzzy. It was my first experience with organic linen and I was eager to dive in. Who’d of thought there was an organic yarn that wasn’t cotton that I wasn’t allergic to!

After swatching, I began to design a tank for summer featuring sassafras and Japanese feather lace patterns.

Sassafras and Japanese Feathers lace swatch
Sassafras and Japanese Feathers lace swatch

However, I quickly discovered the pattern would be too complex for grading, so decided instead on a St st top down tank with the sassafras lace inlaid on the front. This was perfect as I was looking for something to complement the Tidal Breeze skirt as well as something I could wear more casually. The knitting flew by; I loved the design & knew I’d wear it often. I eagerly awaited the blocking to dry for the photo shoot…

Everyday Tank
Lace detail in form fitting St st design

Then my education in organic linen really began!

While the pattern was in tech editing with Sashka Macievich, I discovered my swatches lied… drastically.

Unlike other cellulous fibers, organic linen (& linen in general) does not change gauge! Clarification, it changes sometimes when blocking, but then relaxes out again when wearing, so the on the needle gauge is very close if not exactly the wearing gauge. This was NOT what my swatch told me.

It turned out rather ill-fitting based on the gauge from my original lying swatch.

When worked top down, organic linen has a non-conforming aspect to it which surprised me. It was most noticeable under the arms & this would NOT do.

Essential Tank
Oh my, it’d be bad enough if it was only my bra showing, but that gape is unacceptable!!!

So after much frustration and helpful back and forth with Sashka, I ended up frogging both the tank & the pattern.

But I loved the fiber and was determined not to give up. Over the next few months, I continued to experiment and redesigned the garment… this time from the bottom up, with MUCH better results!

2015: Fast forward past the frogging and subsequent “sin bin” time & I was ready to tackle the linen tank again from a fresh perspective.

Since I approached the design as completely new, I wanted to try changing needle sizes instead of using standard decrease to waist/ increase to bust directions. Fun linen fact, it created a peplum type look without any st decreases! So once again I sang my ribbit while I rip it song.

Everyday Tank
0 st change peplum anyone?

After the photo review, I noticed one final detail that wasn’t exactly perfect. Again, unlike the cellulous fibers I was used to, the linen did not relax at all, when worked from the bottom up. The outer shoulders stood up tall. This was, of course, unacceptable. I tried reblocking, but it didn’t solve the issue. And when I manually pushed them down, I got a not so attractive punch out of fabric right about the bust. Short rows were needed!

Everyday Tank
Not too noticeable from this far away (ya, I climbed that rock in those flats!)
Everyday Tank
But come in a bit closer – now can you see the issue? The gape is back!

One last minor frog to the shoulders (which, of course, included the neck and arm opening edging – bah humbug), and the tank was officially done. And this time, the tank was a keeper!

Sarsaparilla Tank
Look – no gape!

Another sunrise photo shoot – with Tidal Breeze in tow as the two designs are a perfect knit ensemble – tech editing with Lauren Cross, test knitting with some really great testers, a name it win it game in the Knit Eco Chic group, a side track into writing java script (which will be my next blog), and Viola, Bob’s your Uncle, a new pattern release: Sarsaparilla Tank.

Sarsaparilla Tank and Tidal Breeze Skirt together
Complementary designs brought together through yarn! Quince n Co Sparrow is used as the accent yarn and the skirt and exclusive yarn in the tank.
Sarsaparilla Tank Pattern Cover

Yes, the road to design is full of speed bumps, U-turns, and construction zones, but if you view each one as a learning opportunity, you’ll never regret the time (even years) it takes to yield a pattern worthy of a public release.

Comments 4

  1. Lovely work! Thanks for sharing your process…sometimes I feel like I must be the only one who knits and reknits and tweaks and knits a new design one last time 😉 Your tank is absolutely beautiful!

  2. Looking forward to you Java Script detour post!

    I need to get my husband to remind me how to look at a sandbox wordpress site, because I need to look at mine to figure out how I used to have the header on my blog lead back to the rest of my site, it went away the last time I updated…oops.

    1. Thanks :-).
      Have him create a “child” for your theme that way the parent can update and it won’t erase all the tweaks and personalization you add to the child. No idea how to do it, but that’s what my tech guy told me he did so I wouldn’t lose stuff when the theme updated.

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