Design it Yourself: The Dark Side of Design

Up until now, you all have seen the happy fun, well thought out side of designing. Projects that work out flawlessly or at least theoretically, but what happens when design isn’t so happily ever after?

Alright, alright, I admit, it’s not that dramatic of an answer. The answer is you start over, adjust, or roll with it.

The last time we were talking design, I shared a couple of patterns that I was going to be working on for Knitting 101 and Crochet 101:

The Crochet pattern is going well, but the Knitting pattern did not go so well…..

One of the problems with starting ideas from drawings is that you don’t know the gauge of your work and you don’t know how many stitches you’re really working with.

Now, if I had been clever I would have made a gauge swatch and then started designing, but since I was in a hurry (mom of two under 4, not EXACTLY got a lot of free time) I figured I’d do it on the fly.

Designing “on the fly” doesn’t work very well.

The first mistake I made was casting on 52 stitches. Casting on 52 stitches got me to the 7 inches across I want to be at for the stocking, but 52 divides into two sets of 29. What’s wrong with 29? 29 is both an odd number and a prime number. I mentioned the math in Top Down Socks that allows for the k2,p2 pattern to work out well. Turns out, that same math is best when trying to work colorwork in a round like I am doing for this stocking. As you can see from the charts, I wound up with some spare stitches:

Chart BChart C

Well, if 29 is an odd number, why can I just stretch those cute little dots into an odd number? 29 is also prime which means it’s divisible by 29 and 1 without remainder. No matter which way you slice that one it won’t evenly divide into any more than 1 or 29. Trying to fit 8 dots around this was going to have a remainder no matter what I did with it.

Wait a minute, what happened to the snowflakes we were working on?



They kind of ended up being a hot mess.

No matter how I sliced it, they just kept coming out in a way that was either too small to get “snowflake” from it or they were kind of just weird and boxy. Given more space to work with, the would be pretty fun, but being limited to working around and wanting to work a stripe in, I just couldn’t make it work this time.

That of course means I’ll have to find an excuse to make it work now, so keep an eye out for something involving snowflakes coming from me. I’m not one to let a “this is awesome” project get the best of me. They do have to wait sometimes, but it’ll happen.

So what happened to the rest of the little designs?

Well, by the time I had gotten through this mistake, I realized that I was trying to make this too complicated for what I needed. The other cute little patterns will be set on the shelf for another project.

If you’ve ever watched one of those “Next Star” shows, you’ll know that the WORST thing you can do as a host (or in this case, a blogger) is to admit that you’ve made a mistake. I think in this case though, it’s warranted. I hope that you’ve learned from it, at least a little and I hope that you’re encouraged when you make your own mistakes. It’s not the end of the world, it’s an opportunity to learn something.




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