Modification Monday: The Wool Peddler

Original Pattern: Wool Peddler’s Shawl

Knitter Extraordinaire: Maria (Ravelry ID, blog)

Mods: Using a simlpe raglan sweater as a starting point, Maria incorporated her the lace from the original shawl pattern. Project page can be found here.

What Makes This Awesome: I’m a big fan of taking a lace shawl and transforming it into a sweater or top, because it’s such a great way for a knitter to take their favourite elements and incorporate it into something totally new. Here, Maria took the simple design of the shawl and turned it into a classicly beautiful pullover. I love it, it looks like the knd of sweater I’d pull on all the time.

Wee Wednesday: The New Normal

Lila is 7 weeks old, and she’s already outgrown her tiniest onesies, which makes my heart twinge a little. I can already tell that it’s true what they say- it goes so quickly.

Lila at one week

I find that everytime I spend time with family and friends, they look me straight in the eye, and ask, very very seriously, “How are you doing? How are you adjusting?” The truth is, I’m doing great. I feel like I’ve got away with murder- an easy pregnancy, a relatively easy birth (Lila was breech; I had a scheduled c-section after we spent weeks trying everything to turn her), and a healthy, trouble-free baby. I’m genuinely happy, and doing really well, which is fortunate. I know that’s not true for every new mom.

The days feel really small now- hours slip by so quickly, and I eat most of meals over Lila while she is nursing (yes, my baby has crumbs on her). But I conciously choose to focus on the best parts of my day, like dancing around the kitchen with Lila to music to calm her fussy periods,  the way she feels snuggled up in my arms, her hilarious and ever-changing facial expressions, her sweet baby coos, her supercute parade of onesies. Don’t get me wrong- Lila stubbornly resists sleep like it’s her mission in life, and does not get anywhere neear the 14-18 hours total in a 24 hour time frame, not by a long shot. She also thinks baths and diaper changes are torture, and must be met with heavy screaming. But I don’t dwell on any of the challenges. Sure, fatigue is part of it, but I can remember loads of times in years past where I stayed up late on a worknight to see a concert, catch a midnight movie, etc. I knew I’d be tired the next day, but the experience was worth it. I feel the same way about Lila- yup, I’m tired, but man, is it ever worth it.

Lila at 7 weeks. Do not let these sleeping photos fool you- it’s just the only time I have two hands to take her photo is when she’s sleeping!

Modification Monday: Peabody Cardi

Original Pattern: Peabody and Milena

Knitter Extraordinaire: Jolanta (Ravelry ID)

Mods: Combined design elements of both patterns to create a totally new look. Her project page can be found here.

What Makes This Awesome:  I love a pattern mash up! Jolanta’s sweater is a beautiful example of a mash up done just right. I particularly like how balanced between the two orignal patterns this cardigan is- the sleeves, length, and stitch are from Peabody, and the cardigan, neckline, and tailored shaping are from Milena. The result is gorgeous- I wish I had knit this myself!

Mitten Troubles

I’ve been working on a pair of mitts featuring these colours for the Tanis Fiber Arts KAL, but haven’t quite hit on the pattern that I’d really like just yet. (Horribly unblocked photos approaching!)

The corrugated ribbing isn’t thrilling me, it’s not as stretchy as I would like. I then decided to invert the colour scheme, and tweak the design slightly:

I still really like the colours, but the pattern isn’t right yet. Since these photos were taken, I’ve frogged both completely, and am restarting with the plain white ribibng for the cuff, and a new idea for the colourwork. We’ll see what happens! It’s funny, sometimes a new design idea is awesome straight out of the gate, and other times it takes so many starts and re-starts.

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.

DSC_0244-3

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!