Bonifate: a free lace knitting stitch pattern

Bonifate: a free lace knitting stitch by Naomi Parkhurst

This month, the random number generator chose bonifate, suggested by Ange on Patreon. According to my Oxford English Dictionary Bonifate is an obsolete (but very cool) word meaning “lucky, fortunate, well-fated”. Its derivation from Latin is pretty straightforward: boni- for good, and fate for fortune or fate.

Each month, my Patreon backers have the chance to suggest words for me to encode as knitting stitches. A random number generator helps me choose the word of the month, and then I get to work, first turning the letters into numbers, then charting the numbers onto grids in various ways. Finally, when I make the chart into lace, I turn the marked squares into yarnovers and work out where to place the corresponding decreases. (I usually make lace; occasionally I make cables instead.) I also make a chart for any craft that uses a square grid for designing; this goes in a separate post.

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Stitch Maps and my design process

Over the last few years I’ve had various people ask me if Stitch Maps could be useful to me in my design process because they look more like knitting than regular knitting charts. The answer is a bit complicated. They are useful to me in my design process for certain kinds of things, but not because they “look like” knitting. To my mind, they don’t actually look like knitting, though they do follow more of the shape of the fabric than a standard knitting chart done on a square grid.

Before I go on, I just want to say that I think Stitch Maps are awesome, and I pay the higher level subscription fee every year because I find them valuable and I want some of the features from that subscription level. That said, they still can’t replace swatching in my design process, for multiple reasons. Some Stitch Maps look a lot like the final knitting, while others don’t so much. So how I feel about them is more related to my particular style of knitting stitch patterns than to anything in Stitch Maps itself.

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Étude no 21: combining two stitch patterns (Tea and Swags)

Tea and swags: a combination of two free lace knitting patterns by Naomi Parkhurst.

This is the last Semiramis-related stitch pattern I’m going to post.

After extracting Swags from Semiramis, I started wondering if I could combine it with other stitch patterns as a sort of frame. (The Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible‘s section on making new stitch patterns out of previous designs has been working in the back of my mind.) So I found one of my other stitch patterns with the same stitch count and decided to give it a try.

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Bonifate: a free needlework chart for any craft

Bonifate: a free needlework chart for any craft, by Naomi Parkhurst

This month, the random number generator chose bonifate, suggested by Ange on Patreon. According to my Oxford English Dictionary Bonifate is an obsolete (but very cool) word meaning “lucky, fortunate, well-fated”. Its derivation from Latin is pretty straightforward: boni- for good, and fate for fortune or fate.

I usually develop a complicated knitting stitch pattern for each word, but I also like to provide a basic chart for any craft that’s worked on a grid: beads, cross stitch, whatever. I also try to provide an image of the pattern repeated all over not as a chart. It doesn’t necessarily look like a finished object, but I just want to give a sense of it.

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Knitting design and me: how I think about upcoming designs

rough draft chart for a stitch pattern; not recommended for use

The questions people ask me say a lot about their (pretty reasonable) assumptions about knitting design and stitch pattern design. I’m sure there are designers out there who have a picture in their head of what they want their end result to be. But that’s not how things are for me.

I’m going to digress a moment. About a year and a half ago, one of my online communities got into a discussion of aphantasia and whether we saw movies in our heads when reading. The group covered a real spectrum, with one person saying she could paint the scenes she saw in her head in full color, and that they were vividly, visually present, like a movie, to another person who saw nothing at all when reading and can’t picture memories in her head.

I don’t quite lack mental imagery when thinking about things or reading books, but it’s barely there: I get glimpses, vague outlines or hints of movement, like ghosts and shadows. I hate things like battle scenes in books where it matters how people move in relation to each other because I can’t actually comprehend how it all fits together unless I make a diagram on paper, and so I find it boring. (I skim over those bits.)

So how can I design things, if I can’t imagine what things will look like ahead of time?

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