I have been obsessed for the last week with a new knitting tool called Stitch Maps. They’re a new kind of knitting chart that is more like a crochet chart – that is, the stitches aren’t necessarily placed in a grid. Instead, the web app takes written instructions and turns them into a stitch map, in which rows and columns wave and merge in the shapes the stitches take in the actual knitted fabric. Among other things, this eliminates the need for “no stitch” squares in the chart. Go have a look, read the documentation, browse the stitch library, have fun!
After looking at enough stitch maps with the column guide feature turned on, I realized that they reminded me of the syntax trees I looked at in my college linguistics classes twenty years ago. This made me wonder what would happen if I tried converting a syntax tree into a stitch map.
I decided to use the classic example sentence, Colorless green dreams sleep furiously. (Any English sentence of the form adjective adjective noun verb adverb would produce the same result.) The swatches above show what the actual knitting looks like. The bottom part shows the design with alternating plain rows; the top shows it with pattern stitches on every row. Each version has its charms.
Here is the regular chart, chock full of no-stitch squares and looking nothing like the final result. I think both kinds of chart have their virtues; I might start using both for my published patterns.