Modification Monday: Origins and Backstory

By request, this is a special Mod Monday- explaining how Mod Monday got started, and how new projects are found, week after week!

The History
I was inspired by two things-  Teresa’s blog, Canary Knits, which has a long-running feature for independant designers called Indie Designer Day. I love the feature, since it often exposed me to new patterns and designers that I hadn’t seen before. Also, by the sheer quantity of amazing knits with creative modifications  on Ravelry was really inspiring- and considering that there are over 4.5 million knitting projects currently on Ravelery, it’s impossible to see them all. I wanted to share the really beautiful projects that I was finding with others, so Modification Monday was born on June 15, 2009.

What is an Ideal Modification Monday Project?
Ideal projects have enough modifications (or one major one)  to give it a very different look from the original pattern; they are also well photographed (with at least two different photos of the knit), and have good notes on the modifications. That is the ideal situation, but I have at times featured projects that hit only 2 out of 3 of the criteria, because they merited a mention either due the scale of the modification or really great notes on how to acheive a similar effect. When it comes to the notes, clarity is key- I’m not a big fan of lengthy, documentary-style project notes that read like a diary, but prefer an overview that outlines what they did that got the the final result.

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How Mod Monday Projects are Found
I constantly have my eye out for a great modification, which I might find in my ravelry feed because another knitter has favourited it, or I might do a search on projects that are tagged with the ket word ‘modifications’.  I also sometimes search popular patterns- I find that statistically speaking, people are more likely to modify a pattern if it is either free or if there have been many, many other existing FOs of that pattern; no doubt wanting to make their knit a little more unique has led to some seriously inspiring modifications. Also, I’ve had a LOT of help- there have been some readers/fellow knitters that send me links to amazing projects they have found while cruising Ravelry, and I’ve even had some people nominate their own projects. I love it when people send me links for great knits to feature, because it’s impossible for one person to have seen all the amazing modifications out there, and it reminds me that we’re a community of knitters, and we all have an interest in supporting and sharing each other’s creativity and originality. For those that have sent me links, THANK YOU! You’re awesome!

Has Anyone Ever Opted Out?
I don’t think so (nothing is leaping out in my memory, but don’t quote me on it). Everyone I’ve contacted to be featured has been gracious enough to allow me permission to feature their projects, with the exception of a couple of knitters who, due to language barriers, didn’t understand what I was asking, and I didn’t think it right to feature their knits unless I had explicit consent. Some have taken a while to get back to me, and some have asked for more time to update the project page or get new photos, and I’m always happy to work around that. After all, it’s the creativity of those knitters that make Modification Mondays so much fun to begin with!

Wee Wednesday: The Kitten Hat

One of my favourite things about a newborn is how expressive they are! I love all the funny faces that Lila makes:

Lila- 2 weeks old
I’m about to post some unflattering photos of Lila, so I felt compelled to show you the cute photo montage first! She’s 2-3 weeks in the above photos.

So… the kitten hat. The kitten hat that I knit for Lila didn’t fit her straight out of the womb- Lila’s head is a bit of a funny shape (she has a head like E.T.), which meant that a lot of newborn hats just didn’t fit her, including the kitten hat. But I re-blocked the hat (meaning, I aggressively wet blocked it to within an millimeter of the yarn’s breaking point) and…..

Lila's ill-fitting kitten hat

 Fail. Her head is huge. So I re-knit is using the same rolled brim as the bunny hat, which fit much better:

My creation

By the way, that E.T. comparison? My mom and I had a huge laugh when I mentioned the scene where ET is wrapped in the blanket. Because you know, my baby girl does look an awful lot like that!

But I’m pleased to report that at 5 weeks, her head is rounding out. In the meantime, we’re having a bit of a chuckle at her expense. Once day, when she has grown and has a nicely rounded head, she’ll be mortified that I blabbed about her looking like  ET on the internet when she was just a tiny baby. 

Modification Monday: Skirt for Mistic

Original Pattern: Panache

Knitter Extraordinaire: Olga (Ravelry ID)

Mods: Using the shawl as a starting point, Olga created lace circle skirt with a fitted waist, worked in three colours for an ombre effect. Project can be found here.

What Makes This Awesome: I love it when people use a lace shawl as inspiration for a different garment, and this skirt is a drop-dead gorgeous example of that kind of modification.  I love Olga’s decision to have the ombre effect (so summery!) and the mohair looks rich and luxurious. Truly, a stunningly beautiful, one-of-a-kind knit!

Design in Progress

The Jordana Paige Tool Butler giveaway winner is…. Julia Rosalinda! Congrats!!

Here’s a little glimpse of a new design I’m working on…. I know I showed you guys another snippet a few weeks back of a different design- it’s done and is being tested, with an expected release next month.

sneakpeek
Edit: the yarn is Tanis Fiber Arts Silver Label 100% Mulberry Silk, in ‘Dove’

The design process always makes me a bit nervous- the hours spent that often result in ripping back to make changes are always a daunting, and for this item, all the magic happens towards the end of the knit. I’m hoping that how it works out in my head is how it’ll work out in reality!

Product Review and Giveaway: Jordana Paige Tool Butler

I’m sure many of you are familiar with Jordana Paige‘s knitwear designs and bags, possibly even seeing them at your LYS or online. But have you seen their new Tool Butler?!

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I chose Bronze (it comes in 4 colours), and I love it.

See, I’m not the most organized with my knitting tools. I have a vase for my straights, a pouch for my circulars; and my crochet hooks, dpns, and stitch markers run amok in the coffee table drawer:

(that coffee table drawer is my secret shame. Now the secret is out!)
My creation

So… I was in need of some organizing. Enter the handy Tool Butler.  First off, I can tell you that the ways to use the Tool Butler are probably limitless- I bet you could round up one hundred Tool Butler owners and every single one would be organized differently. Even when organizing my own, I found myself wondering if perhaps the dpns should go in the zippered pouches, or the best way to use the cards for labeling, etc. There is no right or wrong way to organize the Tool Butler, which I really appreciate.

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The mesh pouches are really handy- you can see through them, so you don’t need to unzip every single one when you are looking for something.

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I also love how it is exactly the right size to hold a pattern printed on normal A4 paper, folded in half. If you had a lot of projects on the go, you could have notes, patterns, needles and notions for each project in it’s own distinct pouch. But here, I have my circular needles corralled in the pouches, according to size.

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I’m really impressed with it’s overall good looks, too- it resembles a stylish clutch evening bag more than a tool caddy of any kind, and it is that exact stylish-ness that makes me feel so much more professional about my knitting. Of course, when your previous system is a coffee table drawer, this is really a huge step up.

Now, let’s have a giveaway for one of these amazing Tool Butlers! To enter, leave me a comment letting me know 3 things:
– your contact info
– which colour you like best (check out the product page for the full details)
– what you most want to use the Tool Butler for (e.g. organizing crochet hooks? WIP tools and info?)

Deadline to enter is 12:00 p.m. (EST) on Thursday, May 17th. I’ll announce the winner then!