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14/30: The Double Magic Highlighter Hoodie

It's probably a coincidence, but following Friday's migraine-aura-neurotransmitter-cascade-hangover-hormonally-induced-brainstorm*, my brain shifted gears.

Detail of bright yellow knitting

I recently bought some ridiculous yarn, merino wool in neon yellow, with ideas of making myself a hoodie.

Recent realizations about the limitations of my mind have led me to undertake relatively simple knitting projects from clear patterns designed by others. This has gone well. I've finished two successful projects and am nearly done with a third.

I wanted the Burn-Your-Retinas-Yellow Hoodie of Cycling Safety to incorporate some techniques I've barely begun to grasp, and for that, I needed a nice, clear pattern written by a pro. Unfortunately, hours of searching Ravelry turned up nothing remotely right.

So yesterday, in my slightly befogged neurochemical state, I started fiddling. I sketched. I examined commercial hoodies. I looked at sewing patterns. I cut shapes out of grocery bags. I was getting frustrated because my damn brain just would not grasp what I wanted it to grasp, to wit: how a hood could be worked seamlessly from the top down and then flow into the body of a seamless garment.

Then this weird thing happened. It was like I'd been accelerating and accelerating in second gear, tachometer edging worryingly into the red zone, when all at once, clutch, shift, and bam! I leaped ahead. Ten disparate things I already knew (some of them about knitting, some not) just coalesced into a method, and I understood what to do.

Fortunately I had a pen in my hand at the time. I'm 80% sure that I couldn't have retained the idea for more than a few seconds if I hadn't immediately scribbled some notes.

An unknown number of hours later (six, maybe? I know I looked up at one point astonished to see that it was dark out) I had a prototype of the shape that earlier in the day I'd been incapable of visualizing. And what's even stranger is that I think the technique I hit on might almost, maybe, be original.

Annotated picture of a piece of yellow knitting in a U shape, showing new technique
You start in the center with Judy's Magic Cast On and knit in U-shaped rows with Magic Loop, so it's Double Magic, see?...

The top of a bright yellow knitted hood laid against the hood of a commercial hooded sweatshirt
See how that works? No, I can barely grasp it myself. But it's cool!

I'm not saying that I want more migraines, but whatever's going on in my brain sure is productive right now.

I'm keeping project notes on Ravelry[ravelry.com profile] darkemeralds if anyone's interested in details.

*which, by the way, is my wholly legitimate reason for being now two days behind in my commitment to Post Daily in June

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 17th, 2013 01:05 am (UTC)

I think if I'd been tasked with a top-down seamless hood I'd have tried short rows or making complicated mess of increases and decreases and I'm pretty sure that those approaches wouldn't have worked as well/at all. Your way is very cool mix of non-intuitive to design but very easy to implement!

Is the body going to be a pullover or cardigan?
Jun. 17th, 2013 04:38 am (UTC)

I haven't ruled short rows out as a better option than the decreases for shaping the hood--like a sock heel, kind of? Not that I've ever made a sock..., but the puzzle of how and where to cast on for truly top-down seamless construction remained the puzzle.

It was Judy's Magic Cast On (which I love and have never had much chance to use before) that solved it.

I'm pretty sure it's going to be a cardigan--zippered, I think--because it's not very common in this climate to want a heavy wool sweater that I can't open up for air conditioning during a bike ride.
Jun. 17th, 2013 07:58 am (UTC)
That's amazing! Later today I'll look up Judy's Magic Cast On and the Magic Loop, because at the moment they do seem to be just like magic to me i.e. impossible. I'm in awe at your ability to think in enough dimensions to be able to devise this.

And I'm surprised that the neon colour hasn't brought on a migraine all by itself... You sure will be visible and safe wearing this! That in itself is a good thing - the hi-vis jackets and waistcoats all seem to be made in either some unbreathable plastic or fearsomely expensive Goretex.
Jun. 17th, 2013 06:07 pm (UTC)
Hee! The color is shocking, isn't it? I can hardly believe I've invested in it. Oddly enough, it's very pleasing to work with: both bright and light, it shows stitches clearly, and under the halogen lamp I use for craft work, it comes across more bright yellow than actually neon.

JMCO is an absolutely fascinating, stellar "discovery" in knitting, I think in the last decade or so. She came up with it for seamless sock toes, and people have expanded on it for other interesting uses.

Magic Loop is just a way of using a long circular needle to knit a smaller-diameter round like a sleeve. It's a substitute for the double-pointed needles that I and a zillion other knitters find problematic.

As to my ability to think in dimensions: that's just it! I don't even have that ability. I'm in the 15th percentile for spatial reasoning. Those tests where they show a flat shape and ask you to pick the three-dimensional solid it would fold up into? My brain simply turns off--like, I can feel it overheating and smoke coming out my ears.

So this moment of discovery was really weird for me.

And finally, if I've inspired anyone even a little to go make something, I feel awesome!
Jun. 17th, 2013 11:54 am (UTC)
I can't wait to see pictures of this when it's done. Is there any possibility that you may want to market it?

(This post almost makes me want to return to knitting and learn to make things more complicated than scarves, which is where I left off year before last.)
Jun. 17th, 2013 06:09 pm (UTC)
I've thought about writing up the technique and posting it as a pattern on Ravelry, just to contribute my mite to a community that's been an enormous resource for me.

I hope you do return to knitting! I abandoned it for a long time, and returning to it is giving me enormous pleasure.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )



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