Last week, I shared a stitch pattern with you that I’d derived from a motif from Ply. This is a variation on last week’s pattern, because I saw that if I changed things around slightly, I could nestle some extra columns in between the first set, shifted just a little bit vertically. A standard term for this that’s used in pattern design is half-drop. Mathematicians refer to this as an example of translational symmetry. (This kind of symmetry involves sliding copies of a motif around without changing the shape of it.)
Note: this doesn’t count as secret code anymore because it’s been manipulated a lot.
Sometimes when I design a stitch pattern, I see a motif that I want to play with a bit more. Ply, from last week, has a motif that reminded me of a candle flame. When I pulled it out of the larger stitch pattern, it was easier to turn the decrease lines into cable stitches, and here we are. (Note: this doesn’t count as secret code anymore because it’s missing most of the yarnovers from the original word.)
The first word I encoded for Patreon this month was Rune, suggested by Catnach on Patreon. Sometimes I make an extra cable design from the encoded word (when it’s a short enough word); this is one of those times.
I ran out of time to knit a swatch for this post. I still hope to do so, but in the meantime, I’ve included the colored-in cable chart I made to make sure I’d put the cable crosses in the right directions. I’ve applied a photo filter on top to make it look a bit better.
Each month, my Patreon backers have the chance to suggest words for me to encode as knitting stitches. I make two of these into knitting stitches each month: the first is drawn from the collection of new words; the second is drawn from the collection of unused words. A random number generator helps me choose this, 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.
The charts are not meant in any way to look like the original words; the words are the seeds of my creativity.
Last week’s cable experiment wasn’t a success, but it gave me an idea for how to more reliably encode words as cables: work with narrower charts.
I quickly sketched out about ten possible narrow word charts in my graph paper notebook, and found that a large majority of them were feasible as cables. Success! However, it’s still most practical for short words.
In celebration, here is quip as a cable, encoded in base 3 and then charted with my method 1.
Recently, a friend on social media linked to an article about the Cooke and Wheatstone telegraph system, which used something different from Morse code. My immediate reaction was to look at the code chart and think that it looked like knitted cables. I found this exciting, because it’s been very hard to reliably produce fancy braided cables from my code charts.
It doesn’t help that my very first attempt to produce such cables worked, but most of my efforts since then have failed.
In the end, the Cooke and Wheatstone system turned out not to work for my purposes, for the same reasons that my usual code grids don’t (with the added difficulty that there’s several letters missing with that code, so that one has to use S instead of Z and K instead of Q, and a few other substitutions). Nonetheless, this has led me in some helpful directions, because I talked the problem through with a designer friend. This kind of dead end is never a waste of time for me, even if there’s mild disappointment involved.
I use 1/1 cable crosses fairly frequently in my lace design. Sometimes they help me continue a decrease line where there isn't a corresponding increase. Other times they make a nice closure at the top or bottom of a motif. In any case, here's a brief guide about how I work them without a cable needle. I'm pretty sure the 1/1 right cross method is pretty standard (I think I learned it from Barbara Walker's books); I don't know about the 1/1 left cross.
Norah Gaughan is well known for her cable designs, so it's a delight to have a book that is a combination of a stitch dictionary and a guide to her cable design process.
Just for the fun of it, I’m going to post occasional stitch patterns in honor of geeky days on the calendar.
So what is Tau Day? Tau is a constant twice as big as pi, and it is apparently more useful than the number pi. Here is the Tau Manifesto for your mathematical pleasure. The main thing for my purposes is that 6/28 is a date that approximates Tau.
Therefore, I have encoded 628 as charts for lace knitting, knitted cables, and a grid for use in any craft that can use a grid as instructions. (This is not, of course, all of Tau; it just seemed like a useful stopping point.
With the arrival of the autumnal equinox, I’ve made a cable chart for knitters and a generic chart for use in a variety of crafts. The former was encoded in base 6 and the latter in base 3.
It’s been a while since I did a secret code cable chart; the last one I tried just wouldn’t work out whatever I tried. I got discouraged.
Fall made me not want to do lace, though. Cables seemed more the thing, so I looked through all the grids I made for autumn and realized that this one would work.
The first yarn that came to hand is in rather a wintery color. Oh, well.
I didn’t swatch the generic chart this time; it’s not too hard to see how it looks, though:
(Click images to enlarge.)