Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Rules of the Game for 2011

A  little photo session with Winterchild, as the launch nears... I did a massive set up, including my husband's sodium lights, just to find out that a) the lights give off an ugly yellow cast, and b) I forgot to charge the camera. Still, some of them are (I hope) usable.

Shawled out
After the rush to finish the 2010 Kalendar, Winterchild, and a pair of mystery socks, I was utterly spent. I did not want to think, read, see or make anything shawl or even lacy, or even with holes on it. I had a nasty case of shawl burnout. So what is a girl to do?
Make hats.
Hat #1: Louisa 
  Fun, lovely knit. I used Yak blend yarn at a very tight gauge. It gives a sturdy knit with a velvety, dense quality.
Hat #2: Olympic Reindeer Hat.
DH's request!. It is a throwback of the hat worn by the USA Olympic team in the Whistler Olympics. The pattern has some issues with gauge, which I think needs to be tighter, and the reindeer pattern has too many stitches between the motifs, so it needs a lot of tacking of the floats. In my case, I used unmatched odds and ends, and the blue yarn (loftier and larger) shows through the white where I anchored the floats. Still, a great looking hat and I busted some stash.
Hat #3: Transformers Toque
Son's request! A bit big for him but it will work. Almost finished now, other than the crown of the lining (reversible!), it has been a blast to knit from my stashed Knitpicks Palette .

We got out of town to enjoy the little bit of snow left in Flagstaff!

He wore the hat!!!

I knew my winter blues were gone when I found myself charting some new cables, buying a pile of knitting books and working on swatches for 2011... YES!.
And Sylvar, the sweater, is all done and drying out. So I can see the bottom of the WIP drawer again.

What I know about 2011 Rules of the Game
I have started laying the foundation for the 2011 Kalendar Shawl. Still a lot is to be decided
1. Shape.
More involved. Round, Square-from-the center, or triangular. One of these. You won't know until the last moment
2. Let's get enough yarn
As all the above shapes grow in size as  you go, it is hard to calculate the final yardage. To avoid being left out in the last minute, get at least 1600 to 2000 yards this year. If we all have a lot of leftovers, we can organize a swap among the members or throw a couple of smaller patterns, such as shawlettes, cowls or scarves. Better than coming short!
3. Only charts.
Big change this year. Sorry, but more complex constructions and written instructions don't marry well. I found that written instructions was the single biggest time drain. I would be happy to guide you through chart reading. Let's face it, any serious lace knitter needs to learn to read charts!
4. Shorter clues
Instead of releasing a cohesive clue once a months, we may have to break it up in several sections and release smaller clues more often. Believe me, you will appreciate it as the rows get longer. That may also make it a bit more difficult to make personal modifications...
Part of this is that I need to work several clues ahead in order to accommodate the challenges of the construction.
5. Professional tech editing
Instead of using volunteers, this year every clue will be professionally edited. This cuts on mistakes and is overall more efficient. Mistakes do happen, but I want to avoid as much as possible having to tink back a 200+ stitch row...

In decision process...
And in need of your opinions!
1. The team
Obviously, i won't need tech editors which I think was a big factor in the moderator burnout at the end. I would like to spread the work a little so everybody has an easier time staying involved. My wish list of helpers for next year involves:
- several test knitters. Hopefully relatively fast, experienced in lace and good with chart reading. Their main role would be to weed out mistakes in final charts and give feedback on pattern overall. I would need 3-4 so not everybody has to be involved in every clue.
- A list moderator to keep everybody in line and answer questions. My day job keeps me away from the computer sometimes for long stretches.
- A big wish would be somebody savvy with graphic design that could help with photos, layout and banners. 
- Any volunteer translator would be greatly appreciated. Our Russian translator Olga did a great job last year!
2. Sign up process and chart files
Last year's process was a bit unwieldy, and I had to spend many hours sending missing clues to people. I am rethinking the whole process, and i am leaning towards a dedicated Yahoogroups with approval needed (not public), where all files can be kept together in one site. It is a hassle in that it needs  you to get a membership (free), but it is simple and free. After an initial free sign up, I probably will allow late sign ups for a small fee (a couple of bucks) to help me offset the costs of tech editing. I am open to ideas
3. Participation
I really want to include members participation and suggestions into the design, just like last year, but I need to work a few clues ahead, so I may just open a bunch of threads for every portion of the shawl and let you make suggestions well ahead of time. 
4. Launch date
swatching and set up the sign up process... it would run for maybe 9 months to allow time to finish before Christmas and maybe do a swap or additional patterns for leftovers...

As always, I welcome very much your comments and suggestions. Let's work together to make a lovely shawl in 2011 you will treasure in years to come.