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Archive for October 2nd, 2013

Knitting is math. Whether one is the knitter, the designer, or the tech editor, knitting is math. At its core its about the number of stitches and rows needed to make the garment fit properly. Lately, I have been studying Japanese patterns and how they communicate instructions. It is done with very few words. Symbols, centimeters, and most importantly I think, stitch and row counts make up the basis of these patterns.

Thus, the Japanese patterns depend heavily on the schematic. It is the schematic of the sweater that gives the knitter almost all of the information needed. In doing this, I think, it makes it easier for the knitter to achieve the same garment that is in the picture. Cast ons, bind offs, increases, decreases are all recorded on the schematic. Body stitch pattern, border stitch pattern are provided in charts, even if they are as simple as k1,p1. Written instructions maybe less than half a page. I don’t want to infringe on any copyright laws, so Click Here to see what I am talking about. Pull up the Scilla sweater from August 2012. They are all free patterns.

While tech editing the child’s Victorian Coat, one of the issues that became important was the placement of the Garter Stitch Band that separates the bottom part of the coat from the top. In order for the knitter to replicate the picture and the silhouette, the band needed to be exactly placed. Thankfully, the original designer had enough foresight to control placement by using cable rows and decreases at specific points in developing the length of the bottom half. In updating the pattern for today’s sizes, I used her method to control the number of rows knit leading to the band and then specified the number of rows in the band. Like the original designer, I felt the need to keep it specific and cite rows rather than instructing “knit until piece measures….”

Of course the emphasis on row count places an onus on the knitter to achieve row gauge, which I don’t think is a bad idea since it has become a number that most knitters say can be fudged. What is the difference if it takes 10 rows or 19 rows to reach 4 inches? Four inches is 4 inches, right? In knitting, the answer is no. Having the same number of rows in the two fronts and back makes seaming a breeze. Trying to seam one piece that has 10 rows to one that has 19 rows makes for a very bad knitting day.

I am seriously thinking about using this new way of communicating a pattern in my next baby sweater design.

After looking at the Japanese patterns, what do you think? Is this a better way of presenting information? Will this better help the knitter achieve a finished project that closely resembles the pictured one?

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