Arr: a free lace knitting stitch pattern

Arr: a free lace knitting stitch pattern

A little late for Talk Like a Pirate Day, here is an encoding of Arr. There’s been a gradual increase in the number of geeky Internet holidays, and so I thought I’d make stitch patterns for a bunch of them (secret code being geeky in itself). Admittedly, I’m not personally fond of Talk Like a Pirate Day, but it is one of the older such holidays, and well known. It wouldn’t seem fair to exclude it. (Anyway, I like the lace that came out of it.)

I saw a stitch pattern on Pinterest that had a plain row of elongated stitches in the midst of lace. Since the first row of this chart doesn’t have any yarnovers, I decided to try it, but didn’t really care for the effect in this design. I’ve left it in the swatch that’s the featured photo to show what it looks like. I knit several plain rows, then knit the first stitch pattern repeat with elongated stitches in the first row. Then I knit two more plain repeats.

I think this might qualify as a feather and fan variant. (If you wanted to knit row 2 instead of purl, that would increase the resemblance.)

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Happy Tau Day!

Tau Day stitch pattern

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.

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Linkety-link, part 15

I’ve been enjoying following Sybil R’s blog, Knitting and so on, and seeing the interesting patterns she comes up with (Ravelry page).

Sybil posted over the weekend about knitting random lace, which is something I’ve been meaning to try for a while. (There’s so many things I want to do! I’ll never run out of things to try, I think.) She links to a tutorial and a book. The funny thing is that I think I once saw a different book on the topic in a secondhand book store, but it didn’t catch my interest at the time.

Aside from her excellent link, I’d like to recommend this random lace generator from Knitting Fool. (Not truly mathematically random, but that’s okay.)

What interests me about random lace is what I suspect it can teach the knitter about how lace structure and design work.

(The fact that Sybil linked to me in that post is entirely coincidental; I was reading it in my RSS reader and considering posting about it anyway when I noticed the link. I can entirely sympathize with the desire to avoid counting. )

Here is a somewhat more typical collection of links from me, if sparse:

Colorless green dreams sleep furiously

P6240484-2I 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.

colorless green dreams sleep furiouslyHere 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.

P.S. Remember my knitted Hug stitch pattern? I made it a stitch map.

 

 

Striped triangles – how much yarn?

(Good for any yarny craft, and probably some others too.)

This is a variation of a conversation I had on Twitter last week.

Say you’re making a triangle shawl that’s going to have two stripes. How much more yarn will the second stripe take than the first? The stripes are going to be different sizes because it’s a triangle.

Here is a simple method to approximate the relative amounts of yarn.

Note: Exactly how much yarn is needed will depend on the thickness of your yarn, your gauge, and your stitch patterns. If there are different stitch patterns in different stripes, they will probably have different amounts of yarn for the same area.

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Secret Code Summary

(This is part of a series of posts on different ways of hiding meaning in your knitting.)

Table of Contents: Embedding meaning in Your Knitting | Converting Words to Numbers | Making a grid | Asymmetry or Symmetry? | Converting grids into stitch patterns | Lace | Cables | Other Encodings | Summary of My Method | Addendum: Ribbing | Further Resources

About a year ago I came up with an idea for turning Dewey Decimal library catalog numbers into knitted lace (hi, I’m a geeky librarian. :D). I’m still working on that shawl, but I’ve expanded my thoughts to general encoding of words and numbers into grids, and then knitting. This is a summary of my very long blog posts about this.

First, either pick a number you like or turn your words into numbers somehow. You can assign each letter a number from 01-26 (I like to convert mine into base 6 because it tends to make a better pattern) or use the ASCII codes or use some other method. I am particularly pleased by using Dewey Decimal numbers.

Then plot those numbers out on a grid. There are several ways of doing this, but the most straightforward is to make the length of one axis the same as the base you’re using (so six squares if you’re using base 6) and the length of the other the same as the number of digits you’re encoding. A five letter word will be 10 digits long in most of the methods I use, so it will fit in a 6×10 grid. Then mark the squares in each row of the grid accordingly.

Now you have a grid you can play with layout (be careful if you’re actually using secret code or you’ll make it indecipherable), and then turn the marked squares on the chart into knitting stitch symbols. It’s easiest for colorwork or purl stitches or slipped stitches. If you’re doing cables or lace, there’s more manipulation you have to do in the background.

Here’s a quick sequence for you:

Peace becomes 2405010305 (using base 6). Using a 6×10 grid, that becomes

I decided I didn’t care about decipherability, so I mirrored it on itself and then removed duplicate columns:

Used as straight-up colorwork, the chart produces

(There are more variants in the longer descriptions.)

Other methods of encryption

(This is part of a series of posts on different ways of hiding meaning in your knitting.)

Table of Contents: Embedding meaning in Your Knitting | Converting Words to Numbers | Making a grid | Asymmetry or Symmetry? | Converting grids into stitch patterns | Lace | Cables | Other Encodings | Summary of My Method | Addendum: Ribbing | Further Resources

Now we have come to the end of this series; I have finished describing my method for encoding words and numbers into grids and knitting. I’m going to finish up by summarizing some other techniques, both by other people and myself.

I have located two simple ways of knitting a block of text into a cipher that other people have come up with.

One is to knit as if you were writing, using purl bumps, colorwork, or slipped stitches. Writing is done in rows; knitting goes back and forth or round and round in rows. Admittedly, the mechanisms are slightly different. However, you can convert letters into binary and then knit the binary code in rows or rounds, where 0 is knit and 1 is purl. Take the word peace. Converted to binary, that’s 01110000 01100101 01100001 01100011 01100101. In knitting, that would be k1, p3, k5, p2, k2, p1, k1, p1, k1, p2, k4, p1. You could go on to write other words as well and end up with a random-looking collection of knits and purls, or you could knit just peace as ribbing with a 40 stitch repeat.

Another option would be to convert the words into Morse code and make dots and dashes by purling or using colorwork and leaving gaps in between for the spaces between letters. A dash is three times as long as a dot. Here is peace in Morse code: dot dash dash dot, dot, dot dash, dash dot dash dot, dot. So that would be k1, p1, k1, p3, k1, p3, k1, p1, k3, p1, k3, p1, k1, p3, k3, p3, k1, p1, k1, p3, k1, p1, k3, p1, k1.

In fact, since I wrote the first draft of this post, Kate Atherley has published a pattern on Knitty for mittens with a Morse Code stranded knitting pattern.

You could even chart out your words using Braille (thanks to Pat Ashforth for this interesting idea).

There is also a web page by Wayne Batten which speculates about a potential way that Madame Defarge could have encoded names in her knitting on the fly.

The Binary scarf (on Ravelry) by Christine Dumoulin uses colorwork to write binary numbers. Similarly, you could borrow the binary cables from the Binary Cable Hat by Firefairy.

Another straightforward method of turning numbers into knitting is to make stripes. Take the word knit. If you use the simplest decimal encoding, then k=11, n=14, i=9, and t=20. Knit 11 rows of one color, 14 of the next, 9 of another color, and 20 of another. Alternately, you could knit ribbing that was k11, p14, k9, and p20.

Two anecdotal methods of knitting ciphers from World War II that I haven’t found definite confirmation of and that seem more complicated to use involve modifying the yarn, knitting with it, and then unravelling it when it reaches its destination. In one case, the yarn might have been painted (in a long string, not a skein) with the dots and dashes of Morse code. In the other case, knots might have been tied in the yarn with the space between the knots indicating different letters.

Now for some thoughts I haven’t seen elsewhere (though that certainly doesn’t mean these are new ideas).

A somewhat more subtle method is to make stripes in both directions on a baby blanket. Here’s a short name for an example: Ed. This becomes 5 and 4. If you do a k5, p4 ribbing for 5 rows and then a p5, k4 ribbing for 4 rows, it makes a reversible check pattern.

Another way to make stripes is to pick cable patterns that have stitch repeats that match the numbers.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my tour of a variety of methods of embedding and encoding meaning–I’d love to see any projects using my techniques!

(If you’d rather comment on Ravelry, I have a thread for this post in my group.)

Cables

(This is part of a series of posts on different ways of hiding meaning in your knitting.)

Table of Contents: Embedding meaning in Your Knitting | Converting Words to Numbers | Making a grid | Asymmetry or Symmetry? | Converting grids into stitch patterns | Lace | Cables | Other Encodings | Summary of My Method | Addendum: Ribbing | Further Resources

As with my post on lace, I’m not going to go into a great deal of detail about my design process. Among other things, I’m not sure I have a clear enough conscious grasp of how I do it—yet. Maybe someday. In the meantime, I can only suggest copious swatching and trying things out. Even failed attempts will teach you things about design.

Cables

For cables or twisted stitches, each square on the grid should be thought of as taking up multiple rows and stitches, so that it outlines a crossing and the minimum vertical space before the next crossing should happen. For cables, you’ll want the cells from the grid to be at least four stitches across and four rows vertically—the cross from a marked cell will happen on just one of those rows. Twisted stitches require at least two cells horizontally and vertically.

Original grid followed by the subdivided grid

Chart Symbols & Abbreviations:

knit symbol k knit
purl symbol p Purl.
RT Cross the 2nd st in front of 1st st, knit the 2nd st, then knit the 1st.
LT Cross the 2nd st behind the 1st st, knit the 2nd st, then knit the 1st.
RT with the back stitch purled. Cross the second stitch in front of the first and knit it; purl the first stitch; take both stitches off needle.
LT with the back stitch purled Cross the second stitch behind the first and purl it; knit the first stitch; take both stitches off needle.

Chart

Once you’ve got your basic chart, you can play around with variations. The simplest variant I came up with is to put a purl column in between every pair of columns with a twist, like this:

The result is the left-hand swatch shown in this photo:

P5022295

peace twist 1
Round 1: k2, p1, RT, p1, k2, p1, RT, p1, k2, p1
Round 2: k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1
Round 3: k2, p1, k2, p1, RT, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1
Round 4: k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1
Round 5: RT, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, RT, p1
Round 6: k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1
Round 7: k2, p1, RT, p1, k2, p1, RT, p1, k2, p1
Round 8: k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1
Round 9: RT, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, RT, p1
Round 10: k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1
Round 11: RT, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, RT, p1
Round 12: k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1
Round 13: RT, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, RT, p1
Round 14: k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1
Round 15: k2, p1, k2, p1, RT, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1
Round 16: k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1
Round 17: RT, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, RT, p1
Round 18: k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1
Round 19: k2, p1, RT, p1, k2, p1, RT, p1, k2, p1
Round 20: k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1

On the right is the beginning of more complicated playing around. I declared to myself that the coded crosses would mean anywhere that a knit stitch crossed over a knit stitch; otherwise I could place a knit stitch crossing a purl stitch anywhere I pleased, including on return rows.

Chart: peace twist 2
Round 1: k1, p1, LT, p2, LT, p2, LT, p2, LT, p1, k1
Round 2: k1, p1, k1, LT with back stitch purled, RT with back stitch purled, k1, p2, k1, LT with back stitch purled, RT with back stitch purled, k1, p1, k1
Round 3: k1, RT with back stitch purled, p1, RT, p1, LT with back stitch purled, RT with back stitch purled, p1, RT, p1, LT with back stitch purled, k1
Round 4: k2, p2, k2, p2, k2, p2, k2, p2, k2
Round 5: RT, p1, RT with back stitch purled, LT with back stitch purled, p1, RT, p1, RT with back stitch purled, LT with back stitch purled, p1, RT
Round 6: k1, LT with back stitch purled, k1, p2, k1, RT with back stitch purled, LT with back stitch purled, k1, p2, k1, RT with back stitch purled, k1
Round 7: k1, p1, LT, p2, LT, p2, LT, p2, LT, p1, k1
Round 8: k1, RT with back stitch purled, k1, p2, k1, LT with back stitch purled, RT with back stitch purled, k1, p2, k1, LT with back stitch purled, k1
Round 9: RT, p1, LT with back stitch purled, RT with back stitch purled, p1, RT, p1, LT with back stitch purled, RT with back stitch purled, p1, RT
Round 10: k2, p2, k2, p2, k2, p2, k2, p2, k2
Round 11: RT, p2, k2, p2, RT, p2, k2, p2, RT
Round 12: k2, p2, k2, p2, k2, p2, k2, p2, k2
Round 13: RT, p2, k2, p2, RT, p2, k2, p2, RT
Round 14: k2, p2, k2, p2, k2, p2, k2, p2, k2
Round 15: k2, p2, RT, p2, k2, p2, RT, p2, k2
Round 16: k2, p2, k2, p2, k2, p2, k2, p2, k2
Round 17: RT, p1, RT with back stitch purled, LT with back stitch purled, p1, RT, p1, RT with back stitch purled, LT with back stitch purled, p1, RT
Round 18: k1, LT with back stitch purled, k1, p2, k1, RT with back stitch purled, LT with back stitch purled, k1, p2, k1, RT with back stitch purled, k1
Round 19: k1, p1, LT, p2, LT, p2, LT, p2, LT, p1, k1
Round 20: k1, p1, k2, p2, k2, p2, k2, p2, k2, p1, k1

Next post in series: Other ways of making knitting codes

(If you’d rather comment on Ravelry, I have a thread for this post in my group.)

Lace

(This is part of a series of posts on different ways of hiding meaning in your knitting.)

Table of Contents: Embedding meaning in Your Knitting | Converting Words to Numbers | Making a grid | Asymmetry or Symmetry? | Converting grids into stitch patterns | Lace | Cables | Other Encodings | Summary of My Method | Addendum: Ribbing | Further Resources

Turning a grid into a lace chart can be very satisfying, but is also a bit more complicated. I’m going to present an introduction here, but not go into details, as this could involve a full article by itself.

If you want to knit lace from one of these grids, it’s obvious that the marked squares can become yarn overs. There are other considerations as well: do you want to have a plain row after every row with yarn overs? Do you want to knit garter stitch lace or stockinette? You also need to figure out where to put the decreases, because the location of the decreases will affect the appearance of your lace. The key thing is that you need the same number of decreases in your stitch pattern as you have yarn overs. Be prepared to swatch a lot to see what happens, but do try a lot of variations – you’ll learn a lot about lace and might get surprising and interesting results. (If you are keeping your code decipherable, you’ll want to have the decrease in the same line as its corresponding yarn over.)

This is the grid I worked with:

All these stitch patterns are multiples of 12. The return rows are all purl stitches, except that I knit one and purled one into each double yarn over.

Chart Symbols & Abbreviations:

knit symbol k knit
yo yarn over
k2tog Knit two together to make a right-leaning decrease.
ssk Slip one knitwise, slip the next knitwise, then knit two together through back loop. (Or otherwise make a left-leaning decrease.)
RT Cross the 2nd st in front of 1st st, knit the 2nd st, then knit the 1st.
LT Cross the 2nd st behind the 1st st, knit the 2nd st, then knit the 1st.
RTssk Slip each of the 1st two stitches knitwise, slip back to left needle. Cross the 3rd st in front and knit it; knit the 1st two stitches together through back loop.
LTk2tog Bring the needle behind the 1st stitch, knit the 2nd and 3rd stitches together. Knit the 1st stitch

Peace Lace: Swatch 1

In this first swatch, I started out by putting a decrease next to every yarn over in the chart, but then I moved them around as I swatched to make sinuous lines (also, I started six stitches over from the edge of the grid):

P4292279

Chart I made before starting knitting:

Row 1: k1, yo, ssk, k6, k2tog, yo, k1
Row 3: k3, yo, k2tog, k2, ssk, yo, k3
Row 5: k4, k2tog, yo2, ssk, k4
Row 7: k3, ssk, yo, k2, yo, k2tog, k3
Row 9: k4, k2tog, yo2, ssk, k4
Row 11: yo, k2tog, k8, ssk, yo
Row 13: k4, k2tog, yo2, ssk, k4
Row 15: k2, yo, k2tog, k4, ssk, yo, k2
Row 17: k4, k2tog, yo2, ssk, k4
Row 19: k3, ssk, yo, k2, yo, k2tog, k3

Finalized version of that chart, with an eye to making everything flow:

Row 1: k1, yo, k1, k2tog, k4, ssk, k1, yo, k1
Row 3: k3, yo, k2tog, k2, ssk, yo, k3
Row 5: k4, ssk, yo2, k2tog, k4
Row 7: k3, ssk, yo, k2, yo, k2tog, k3
Row 9: k2, k2tog, k2, yo2, k2, ssk, k2
Row 11: yo, k1, k2tog, k6, ssk, k1, yo
Row 13: k3, ssk, k1, yo2, k1, k2tog, k3
Row 15: k2, yo, k1, k2tog, k2, ssk, k1, yo, k2
Row 17: k4, ssk, yo2, k2tog, k4
Row 19: k3, ssk, yo, k2, yo, k2tog, k3

Peace Lace: Swatch 2

In the second swatch, I made most of the decreases line up vertically in the chart, swerving only to go around the yarnovers in the same line:

P4292280

Row 1: ssk, yo, k8, yo, k2tog
Row 3: k2tog, k2, yo, k4, yo, k2, ssk
Row 5: ssk, k4, yo2, k4, k2tog
Row 7: k2tog, k3, yo, k2, yo, k3, ssk
Row 9: ssk, k4, yo2, k4, k2tog
Row 11: yo, k2tog, k8, ssk, yo
Row 13: k2tog, k4, yo2, k4, ssk
Row 15: k2tog, k1, yo, k6, yo, k1, ssk
Row 17: ssk, k4, yo2, k4, k2tog
Row 19: k2tog, k3, yo, k2, yo, k3, ssk

Peace Lace: Swatch 3

In the third, I added in some twisted stitches for the fun of it:

P4282244

Row 1: ssk, yo, k8, yo, k2tog
Row 3: k2tog, k2, yo, k4, yo, k2, ssk
Row 5: LT, k2, k2tog, yo2, ssk, k2, RT
Row 7: k1, RT, ssk, yo, k2, yo, k2tog, LT, k1
Row 9: k2, RT, k2tog, yo2, ssk, LT, k2
Row 11: yo, LTk2tog, k6, RTssk, yo
Row 13: k2tog, k4, yo2, k4, ssk
Row 15: k1, ssk, yo, k6, yo, k2tog, k1
Row 17: k2tog, k4, yo2, k4, ssk
Row 19: k2tog, k3, yo, k2, yo, k3, ssk

If you would rather comment on Ravelry, I’ve posted this to my group as well.

Next post in series: Cables