Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Where It All Began: Three Wishes

While I released my first pattern for sale a little more than a year ago, it wasn't actually my first design. The very first pattern began as an idea that occurred to me as I was falling asleep a little more than a year and a half ago. I made a quick sketch on a scrap of paper before going to bed that night and then spent about a week or so afterward playing around with Excel to try to create a chart.

Once I got a first draft of a chart worked out, I pulled out some leftover yarn from a colorwork project and knit up a swatch (actually, a full mitten -- I needed to work out all the details in yarn!). Here's what that first iteration looked like:

I wasn't entirely satisfied with the "smoke" coming out of the lamp; it seemed too flimsy and didn't translate well from a pencil drawing to knit stitches. Although I wanted to give an idea of transparency, I realized that using a small number of stitches to illustrate this idea just wasn't going to work and went back to the drawing board.

I pulled out my chart again to revise it, first drawing directly on the printout and then refining it in Excel.

Here's take two, which is essentially what the final chart looks like. You can see a definite cloud of smoke now, and it even begins to suggest the form of a genie (which is what I realized I wanted to do).

Once I had worked out the kinks in the colorwork pattern, it was time to write up the pattern and knit up a sample. I decided to submit the pattern to Knitty for the Deep Fall 2011 issue, and I picked two gorgeous shades of madelinetosh tosh sock to knit up the sample.

Unfortunately, the submission got eaten by Knitty's spam filter, which wasn't discovered until the issue went live -- though I must say that after this was discovered, Amy Singer and I exchanged several e-mails and she was most gracious in apologizing for the error and the fact that she didn't have a space for the pattern.

The pattern was still my "baby," so to speak, so eventually I decided that I would self-publish. It's since been thoroughly tech edited and test knit, and it's taken everything I have not to release these months ago when the pattern was ready. I decided it was best to wait until fall, when we're starting to think about winter, cold weather, and even holiday knitting.

These are knit in the round from the bottom up, starting with corrugated ribbing at the cuff (one of my favorite colorwork features). The thumb is added with a gusset and finished after the rest of the mitten, and the only finishing required is grafting of a small number of stitches at the top of the mitten. You'll need approximately 150 yards/137 meters of the main color and 135 yards/123 meters of the contrast color to make a pair, so if you use tosh sock, you can get two pairs out of the two skeins of yarn (or split two skeins with a friend!). The mittens are worked at a pretty dense gauge and meant to fit an average woman's hand (approximately 7.5 in./19 cm cuff circumference), but they can easily be sized up by using a needle one size up from that used to obtain gauge.

I am really so thrilled to be able to share these with you after so long -- it's been tough to keep them a secret! I'm looking forward to knitting another pair of these soon (I'm planning a pair in handspun), and I really hope you'll enjoy the Three Wishes pattern!


  1. I am not the best with colorwork, so these would be a bit advanced for me, but they are absolutely stunning!
    I love your patterns; I have knit 2 Gaskells and am looking forward to wearing mine (the other is to be gifted) this cold Maine winter; Peckish is also on my radar!!
    All the best to a successful pattern!
    Barb T.

  2. Sarah, they're gorgeous and I want them! I'm on a no-shopping kick at the moment but these are going to break my rules.