Each month, my Patreon supporters have a chance to suggest a word for me to encode as a knitting stitch, and each month a random number generator helps me choose which one to use. (Some months, nobody suggests a word, and then the RNG picks from the hoard of words I’ve build up from previous months.)
This month, there were two words, and so I used a coin toss. The flip of the coin picked solitude, suggested by Nim. It was extra appropriate, as my family was away and I had a blissful ten days to be as much of an introverted hermit as I chose. (And welcome them home again cheerfully.)
So I turned the letters of solitude into numbers in base 6, and charted them out on digital graph paper in different ways. Then I swatched one possibility, a second possibility, and then finally found a layout I liked. This particular layout finally gave me the chance to use KYOKs as part of the lace, as I’d practiced with my Étude no. 11.
I like how floral and plantlike this one seems to be.
When I went to library school, one of my favorite classes was about the history of books and libraries. I thought it was fascinating, both in terms of the changing ways that information has been conveyed in text throughout history, and in terms of the kinds of physical objects that can be described by the word book. I also learned to be a reference librarian, which led me, in a moment of strange inspiration in the library stacks, to my techniques for turning words or library call numbers into knitting stitch patterns.
Learning about various ways of filling a page with words also influenced the patterns. For instance, the layout method I use most often for my encoded words was loosely inspired by the way that line breaks in some medieval manuscripts might come anywhere in the middle of the word, without benefit of hyphen or syllable boundary. And sometimes I toy with the idea of boustrophedon.
So as someone who combines words and knitting and who is interested in the history of books as physical objects, I am filled with glee by Karie Westermann‘s Kickstarter for a book that combines her academic background in the history of the book and her skill in designing knitting patterns. I’m pleased to report that the Kickstarter was completely funded within 25 hours. (It’s reached 135% of the original goal as of this post!) I gather that Karie has some stretch goals in the works since there’s been such tremendous interest. Keep an eye out! I hope you’ll join the people who’ve pledged so far.
This Thing of Paper will contain ten knitting patterns based on imagery from old books, as well as essays about the history of books and the way that people’s access to information changed with the invention of the printing press. I want to hold this book in my hands. I hope you do too.
I’d like to thank Karie for including me in the blog tour to share her Kickstarter. It’s feeling a little like an online party, celebrating the community of people who think that this book should happen. Karie’s clearly thought hard about what’s involved in the complete process of running a Kickstarter and publishing a book.
Because I was so excited by all this, I couldn’t resist making a stitch pattern as a gift to my visitors. Naturally, I had to choose a word somehow related to books. I’ve always liked the sound of the word folio, and so here we are: one lace pattern and one chart for any craft.
Sometimes I like to try exercises in knitting stitch design as a way of exploring the possibilities. These are what I call my études, named after the formulaic exercises used when practicing classical music. I’m not always satisfied with the results, but I think it’s worth doing them. Further, I think it’s worth sharing the results publicly because it helps show that the process of stitch design isn’t effortless. I can’t learn new things if I’m not willing to make mistakes or have things come out in a way I don’t care for. And I think it’s worth sharing that process to give others the nerve to take risks and learn from them.
Anyway. This time I wanted to try adding in some extra plain rows in an existing lace design to see how the stitch pattern was affected. That is, I took an ordinary lace pattern that had one row with yarnovers and the next row plain, and changed it to one where there was one row with yarnovers followed by three plain rows.
Each month, my backers on Patreon suggest words to me that I might encode into numbers and chart on a grid. I make one complicated stitch pattern for each word and one chart that can be used for any craft. This month, the RNG brings us rain, sent in by Meagan. Would you like to support me and propose words?
Each month, my backers on Patreon suggest words to me that I might encode into numbers, chart on a grid, and turn into lace or other stitch patterns. Then I use a random number generator to pick one word, and publish the resulting stitch pattern on the first day of the next month. This month, the RNG brings us rain, sent in by Meagan. Would you like to support me and propose words?
I tried three different chart layouts and resulting test swatches for rain. The first two were all right, but I couldn’t help feeling that there was something better yet to come. The swatch for the third chart made me laugh with surprise: it looks like aspen leaves! Leaves are ubiquitous in knitted lace, but I wasn’t expecting to have something come out of my methods that looked so deliberate. In a way, it’s like an extra layer of code, since leaves don’t look like rain. Though plants need water, so that seems apt too.
Each month I post two charts: one knitting chart complete with swatch and one chart for any craft worked on a grid. These charts are based on encoding the letters of a word as numbers that are charted on a grid. The word is suggested by my patrons on Patreon: this month’s word is Melancholy, suggested by Ron.
Designers, please feel free to use this pattern in your work. I’d like credit but won’t be offended if people don’t give it. Thanks! – Naomi
If you like my posts like this, please consider supporting me on Patreon or donating with my Paypal tip jar on the right. Thanks!
When Ron suggested melancholy as this month’s word (funded by my backers on Patreon), I immediately had the thought that I should design this specifically to be an edging. Note that it might work just as well as an allover design; I just didn’t try it out that way.
Instead, I swatched three repeats wide by one repeat high to see what it would look like with row 1 as the bottom edge, worked a bunch of stockinette, and then swatched three repeats wide (offset by half from the first edging) to see what it would look with the last row as the top edge.
Though both have their charms, I like the latter better, and so that is the chart shown below.
It’s Pi Day, at least when dates are considered from the US point of view: it’s 3/14 today. My husband is using this as an excuse to bake pie. I’m using it as an excuse to make another stitch pattern using the first five digits of pi: 3.1415.
I particularly like the unexpected way that if the knitting ends after row 2 or 8, there’s picots to be pinned out.
Each month, my supporters on Patreon suggest words for me to encode as knitting stitches. This month’s word is Prism, suggested by Lara. I usually do a certain kind of lace encoding, but as the first of the month approached, I was getting more and more frustrated with the results.
Fortunately, as readers of this blog know, I recently figured out another branch of lace knitting (though not, so far as I know, actually a new one). So yesterday, as I was doggedly knitting the best of what seemed like a bad lot of possibilities for prism, I realized that I should try using code with this method, which involves charting on a hexagonal background.
Next month I will probably return to my more usual encoding methods, as there are some factors with this one that make it less suited for my Patreon stitches. (More on this after the stitch pattern.)
Instead of publishing a chart for any craft that uses grids, I’ll suggest this one; the basic chart is near the bottom of the post.