Saturday, May 10, 2008

scooped - random notes and afterthoughts

test knits for scooped pattern

So, the Scooped knit ice cream cone pattern has been posted and I'm happy to be able to kick back, dust my hands and not look at it for a while. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed designing and knitting it. I wouldn't have done it if I hadn't (life's too short and all that). But now it's time to do a final clean-up and get all those bits and pieces that are floating around in my brain, out.

Scooped was originally suppose to be just for the dipped scoop and sugar cone. I don't know why, but I used to really like Drumstick ice cream cones when I was little. Honestly, there were more peanuts left in the wrapper than stuck to the chocolate coating, the cone was always soggy and the ice cream was little more than vaguely flavored air, but it's one of those unexplainable childhood likes. The test knit went really well and I pretty much got both on the first try. I did the test knit on US sz 7s, but decided to go down to 6s to make the final product a bit more life-sized. The scoop part did undergo one small revision (taking out a couple of rounds) for the final knit, but the cone worked up just as I had hoped.

That's when my brain started to get big ideas. "You can't just do the dipped scoop, you should do a classic scoop. And what about those cake/wafer cones? Mom always made you get cake cones instead of sugar cones at the ice cream parlor. And you only liked cake cones when they were from the soft serve place." Plans grew and I ended up designing the other patterns. The classic scoop was the most difficult for me. It went through four revisions before I was satisfied. Soft serve was easy (first try) and cake cone went through two revisions. A couple of other ideas that I tried but didn't pursue: waffle bowl and styrofoam dish (maybe later, maybe not).

I'm always interested in other people's design methods, so it's only fair that I share my process. I usually start out mentally conceptualizing how I want the finished object to look. Once I have that image in mind, I break down the components of the object into basic shapes and stitch patterns: spheres, cones, broken rib, scallops, etc. Then, I write out the pattern the way I think it should work. From that pattern, I start knitting, making adjustments to the written pattern when it becomes clear that something is not going to work. I rarely frog during the design process, preferring to knit all the way through so I can check that the subsequent rows/rounds behave the way I want. I like to have that swatch to refer to when I'm knitting the next revision.

To rewind, when I first thought about knitting ice cream, I checked for existing patterns, hoping I could just modify one if it wasn't exactly what I wanted. While there were many examples of crocheted ice cream cones, I couldn't find patterns for knit ones. By the way, I am so jealous of people who can crochet. I have tried to learn several times in my life but I just can't get it. I found a few pictures of knit ice cream cones, but they all seemed to be personal patterns or done on a loom.

In the larger scheme of things, Scooped didn't take that long to design. A couple of weeks. It felt longer, I think, because I had a bunch of ideas flooding my brain and I wanted to get everything down on paper (errr, in pixels) before they disappeared. Getting everything recorded meant working on it every chance I could, which meant not much downtime for two weeks.

I also want to say thank you to the people who have left comments at the usual places and to those that have queued or downloaded Scooped. The response and feedback I've received has been wonderful. I'm happy with how the patterns turned out, but when others take the time to knit Scooped, well that's just the cherry on my sundae!

test knits for scooped pattern

More pictures at Flickr