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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Open thread

Right, I think it’s time to admit that I’m at a loss for ideas for what to blog about outside of my monthly Patreon stitch and one or maybe two other stitch patterns a month. I can’t do more free stitch patterns than that or it cuts into the work I’m trying to get done to sell. The frustrating thing is that I like blogging weekly; it usually helps me keep moving.

This week I’m going to open up the floor for questions – what would you like to see me blog about? (No guarantees that I will…) Are there any of my blog posts I should expand upon or explain further?

…I need to finish up the secret code rewrite, I know.

Mountain: a free needlework chart for any craft

Mountain: a needlework chart for any craft

The word of the month is mountain, suggested by Lara 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 finished object, but I just want to give a sense of it.

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Mountain: a free lace knitting stitch pattern

Mountain: a free lace knitting stitch pattern by Naomi Parkhurst

This month, the random number generator chose mountain, suggested by Lara on Patreon. I decided that this would be fun to encode into a triangle shape to make mountains, and I’m glad I did! (The alternating reverse stockinette stitch triangles are not part of the code.) I also tried out some of the things I learned from the Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible, and this time I’m very pleased indeed, though I know it makes the instructions more complicated.

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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Road to Paradise: a free lace knitting stitch

This was originally meant as a coordinating stitch pattern for Paradise; I took an excerpt of the original stitch pattern as described here. I don’t know whether it was the yarn or the gauge, but I was having trouble making the decrease lines visible, so I made the background stitches into garter stitches. Aside from the rib columns, however, the wrong side rows are pretty plain.

I am not certain how well this would actually coordinate with Paradise, given the garter background, but it’s worth a try. Feel free to noodle around with it! You could always change it back to stockinette if you like. Or try purling the wrong side rows all the way across. Always feel free to mess with my stitch patterns.

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