Thursday, October 8, 2015
New Release: RollerGirl Raglan
I'm going to let you in on a little secret: I do my own photography. I tried early on to have my husband take the pictures when I was playing model for my own designs, but then we decided we'd rather stay married. ;) So for Christmas a couple years back, he bought me a remote shutter release - a little remote control thing that has a sensor that attaches to your camera so you can click pictures from farther away. And it works out great - for the most part.
The times when I wish I did have a photographer with me are the times when I want to use public settings as my backdrop. I often use a garden at a local community college, or various places in my yard. Those locations are fine when it's just me and my tripod, and my remote control because people hardly ever wander by. But I also live in a town with a quaint "square" (our tiny downtown area), and when I schlep my equipment and set it up there, I feel pretty conspicuous taking pictures of myself. Sometimes I wonder if the people driving by are thinking that I have lost my mind and am going to ridiculous lengths for a good selfie!
So this past week, when I wanted to take pictures for my latest pattern, I thought I had a good plan: I wanted to use the back wall of one of the businesses on the square. It is painted white and faces an alley, so it is already hidden from the main road. It is one side of a big parking lot, but I figured if I finished up before the businesses opened at 10, then there wouldn't be many people in the lot yet. A few store employees maybe, but certainly not a crowd. And since this month's pattern photos had me looking quite out-of-the-ordinary, I was not looking to draw a crowd!
But....best laid plans, right? Not long after I started shooting, a couple older women came out of the quilting store on the other side of the parking lot. I wasn't aware that it was open before 10am, but fine. How many early-morning quilting customers would there be, right? They walked by me with quizzical looks on their faces, and smiled when I said hello. Then another older woman followed behind them, eyeing up my tripod and said to me, "I was wondering why someone was taking pictures of that white wall. It didn't seem very interesting!" I gestured to myself, "Yeah," I laughed, "the interesting stuff is all right here!"
I kept snapping photos, and the ladies kept coming. After crossing the parking lot, they congregated near a bench at the corner of the parking lot and I started to see their phones come out. I laughed to myself once I realized some of them were probably taking my picture or possibly filming my little photo shoot.
In the end, there was quite a large group of them, and I figured out what was going on when I saw a tour bus pick them up. I have no idea what sort of tour includes a stop at Peg & Lil's Needle Patch in Washington, IL, but I hope they all enjoyed their stop in our little town! And I know some of them will have a funny story about the "roller derby girl who was taking lots of selfies" to tell their friends back home!
And speaking of roller derby girls, I have to thank my husband for hooking me up with the legit roller derby gear. He works with a woman who is on a team, and agreed to let me use her gear. She even gave me all of her protective pads as well, but I figured being able to see the entire sweater would be easier without extra pads in the photos. Her gear worked out much better for the pictures than my original idea of "I'll try to borrow a bike or skateboarding helmet from one of my friends kids, and maybe I can scrounge up some roller blades, too." I love it when pattern designs and photo shoot ideas come together as perfectly as this one! From the very start, the rainbow color way I used for the sleeves gave me a strong "roller skating + the 80s vibe". I thought it would be a lot of fun to do the pattern photos with a roller skating or roller derby theme, but I wasn't quite sure how to accomplish this. In fact, this pattern has been in my idea book for about 2 years only because I wanted to make sure I knew how I'd accomplish the photos for it before I proposed it to Knit Picks. In the end, I could not have had more fun with this design!
Details on materials needed & techniques used can all be found on the Ravelry pattern page. The pattern is written for full bust sizes 33" - 48", and you should choose the pattern that is closest to your actual bust size. In the photos, you are looking at a size 36" modeled on a 37.5" bust. I went down in size because my frame is a little on the smaller size, but a 39" size would have been a good fit for me as well since I'm right in between two sizes.
I used Knit Picks Chroma Worsted yarn, which is a heavy worsted-weight yarn (198 yds / 100g). They offer 3 solid colorways (neutral, gray & black) and a wide variety of self-striping colors - currently many of which have a glorious autumn look to them!
My perspective is probably skewed since I make a lot of fingering-weight projects, but this sweater absolutely flew by for me. Like, I started knitting, then I blinked, and the sweater was done. It took me about 3 days to knit the body & sleeves, and a fourth day to seam it. It might have taken me 12 hours total.....a very satisfying quick-knit sweater! And my test knitters unanimously agreed that this is a project that can be accomplished by an adventurous beginner. Knowledge of only a few basic techniques is assumed, and the pattern provides links to instructions on an increase method that might not be familiar (left & right leg increases), as well as a mattress stitch tutorial that will help you seam your sleeves and sweater body together!
The RollerGirl Raglan pattern is available now on Ravelry!