Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Girasole Project

Yep - I have been a bad blogger. Its been a very busy time. Lots of work, trying to find time to knit, not much else happening. So that's the past several months in a nutshell.

That said, I have a new project in mind that I figure I can track here on the blog. I fell in love with Girasole, a wonderful pattern by Jared Flood, aka BrooklynTweed, who is a brilliant designer with an amazing eye for pattern and color. I want to make the blanket version and I am already envisioning curling up with it in front of the fire. I would best describe this pattern as a cheerful yet elegant piece with the sunflower pattern bringing summer indoors year round.

I have had the privilege of seeing the pattern in progress and know it is going to be a serious commitment piece. As the rounds get larger it can take 45 minutes or more to complete a single round. This is not a fast piece but the results seem well worth it. Since I am going to essentially marry this piece for quite some time I have decided that this is going to become my own personal show piece, an heirloom item I can pass on to the grandchild I hope my son will someday provide (since he is five now I have plenty of time to finish). To that end I have also decided to go whole hog and make this a sheep to blanket piece. Yes, I intend to spin the 1800 yards this pattern requires. I still have plenty of Cormo left from the two fleece I bought a couple years ago. All I need to do is finish cleaning it and spin it up! Sounds easy ~ right? OK maybe not quite that easy.

I consider myself an advanced beginner spinner. I have mastered the intuitive spin and I can spin a fairly even yarn. I just upgraded from my Babe to an Ashford Traditional and have noticed a significant difference in my ability to control my yarn. The Babe is an excellent starter wheel and I intend to use it to teach my son to spin, but I found myself wanting "more" ~control, speed, flexibility. I have had my Ashford for a couple months now and easily see the difference. To make this blanket, though, I need to produce a predictable, repeatable yarn that has the characteristics I desire. This means taking my spinning beyond intuitive to intentional. I think I am ready. More important, I am patient. I have given myself all winter to spin the yarn and plan on knitting come Spring. I expect this blanket to be complete before next winter. I think that's manageable.

I have decided its time to put some of my skills in place to get to my goal. As a quality professional, I understand the value of a repeatable process to get a predictable outcome. I know this starts with understanding the end ~ ie clearing documenting my requirements. Then breaking down all the steps and identifying my learning gaps to enable me to meet my requirements. The requirements are going to drive every decision I make in this project. Do I want a warm fluffy blanket or a light blanket that shows off the pattern? Until I decide this I can't select the type of yarn I want to spin. So the first thing I need to do is look at the completed projects on Ravelry and maybe talk to some other knitters for information.

As a quality professional I am also exposed to quite a bit of project management as a control tool. So I will also set a project plan to plan and track my progress. This is going to be an interesting project on many levels - not only to make a beautiful piece of art, but to see how to incorporate my many passions (quality, knitting, spinning, dying, planning) to create this project.