meta Lace: a free lace knitting stitch pattern

meta Lace: a free lace knitting stitch pattern

Nim suggested lace for this month, which I think is apt and funny. I like the result! I’m calling it meta Lace because it is lace about lace, in a way. Also, it will be easier to search my blog for “meta lace” than it would be for “lace”. (This month, only one person on Patreon gave me a word to turn into lace, so I didn’t use a random number generator to pick one.)

Each month, my Patreon backers have the chance to suggest words for me to encode as knitting stitches. A random number generator usually 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.

Continue reading

Tea: a free lace knitting stitch pattern

Tea: a free lace knitting stitch pattern

I did a stitch pattern for coffee because it was suggested as a word on Patreon. However, while I like the resulting stitch pattern, I don’t actually like drinking coffee. I am emphatically a tea person. So here, just randomly because I wanted to, is a stitch pattern for tea. (One of my Patreon supporters did in fact suggest this as a word, but I had been considering doing it anyway.)

I encoded the letters of tea into numbers and then charted them on graph paper in various ways. Then I picked the chart I thought would be best and turned it into a lace chart: each marked square became a YO, and I added decreases. Finally, I added some symmetry, and there you are.

Continue reading

Étude no. 20: a Learning Experience

Etude no. 20: a learning experience

Aside from just loving the stitch patterns from the Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible, I have been wanting to apply some of the things I’ve learned to my own stitch designs.

This is my first attempt at pulling in some ideas to use in one of my stitch patterns. I am both happy about it while at the same time not feeling that it is a good enough stitch pattern to want to share the instructions.

On the one hand, I feel as if I’m starting to learn how to use columns of stitches worked through the back loop, how to use twisted decreases, and how to use what Hitomi Shida calls knot stitches. On the other hand, I just plain don’t like the result.

So why share it? Mostly because this kind of thing happens all the time to me when I’m learning how to design things. It happens to other designers too. It all takes practice and repetition, and time for the back of the brain to absorb the lessons that are there to be learned. It’s been helpful for me to be told that people I admire have their own mistakes that are still useful to them; I hope to encourage others to feel comfortable taking creative risks that don’t work out.

Continue reading

Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible: a book review

Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible: 260 Exquisite Patterns by Hitomi Shida

I’ve been admiring Hitomi Shida’s stitch patterns for quite a while now and have been planning to buy one of her stitch dictionaries. So when Tuttle Publishing offered me a copy of one of her books in exchange for a review, I jumped at the chance. It wasn’t until after accepting that I realized that it was even more exciting than I’d thought: this is one of Hitomi Shida’s stitch dictionaries translated into English for the first time, with a complete glossary of the chart symbols and an explanation of how to read Japanese knitting charts.

Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible: 260 Exquisite Patterns by Hitomi Shida, translated with an introduction by Gayle Roehm, will be available on October 10. You can preorder it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or through your local bookstore.

I’ve flipped through a few Japanese stitch dictionaries at fiber festivals, and I’ve read a little bit about Japanese charts online, but this is the first chance I’ve really had to use any of these charts. Here are the things I knew before even opening the book:

  1. There would be a lot of gorgeous stitches that aren’t in any of my other stitch dictionaries.
  2. Japanese knitting symbols and charts are completely standardized; once you know how to read them, you can open any stitch dictionary and understand what’s in front of you.
  3. They are also different from any of the English language knitting charts I’ve encountered. This makes having an English language guide to Japanese charts valuable.

So, what did I think of the book? The short version is that aside from a very few minor quibbles, I was impressed. Moreover, I would have been willing to spend twice the list price of $17 to get this book.

Recommended for: cable lovers, knitting designers, and confident knitters who are ready to move beyond basic lace. This book will be especially useful for anyone who wants an English explanation of untranslated Japanese stitch dictionaries.

Continue reading

meta Lace: a free chart for needlework

meta Lace: a free needlework chart

The word of the month is Lace, suggested by Nim on Patreon.

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 chart, but I just want to give a sense of it. This month’s is pretend knitting.

Continue reading

A few words about clothing and color

I was reading a book about making clothes the other day and stopped short when it started being bossy about how to wear colors that don't suit one. Now, maybe it's just that I'm not a particularly fashionable person, but this made me cranky. I wanted to throw the book out the car window; fortunately for the book, it came from the library.

I happen to be pleased that the colors I like to look at are the same colors that other people tell me I look good when wearing. Ultimately, though, I think what's important is that my clothes should make me comfortable and happy, should be well-made and last a long time, and should ideally have been made in ethical circumstances. (I don't manage the last as much as I'd like, for a variety of reasons, but I try not to beat myself up over it.)

This goes for you, too: if a given color makes you happy, I'm not going to argue that you shouldn't wear large quantities of it. In fact, if you’re a friend of mine, I’ll give you things in that color because I know you like it, whether or not I think it “suits” your complexion, and whether or not I like the color in question. If it makes you happy, it suits you, end of story.

I feel this way about a lot of things, really. My motto about knitting styles is that if you're getting results you like (or are getting better), and you're not hurting your hands, then you're knitting correctly.

Help: a free lace knitting stitch pattern

This is a continuation of my Help post from before, this time with a lace stitch based on the word help. If you like it and use it, please consider donating money to a group working to assist after natural disasters. As I discussed in my previous post, local donations are usually best, but if you don't have much time, I think it's hard to go wrong with Doctors without Borders.

I'm not familiar with the right groups for the flooding in South Asia or Africa, or the earthquake in Mexico. This is all highly discouraging, but remember to look for the helpers!

Continue reading