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Stitch Pattern Calculator


Click here to access the Calculator

I spent a couple of hours several months back, working through the Javascript Fundamentals course at Codecademy and I was inspired to create a simple calculator to aid in shawl knitting. It solves two questions:

1. How many repeats of this stitch pattern can I fit into my stitch count?
2. How many stitches would I need to have for my stitch pattern to fit perfectly?

If you knit and design shawls on a regular basis, you’ll know how frequently you need to make this sort of calculation. Of course the calculator can be used for all sorts of knitting projects, but I thought I would briefly outline how to use it for shawls.

Using the Calculator for Shawl Borders

If you would like to add a simple border to a plain top-down shawl, you can use the technique I mentioned in Easy Shawl Borders in conjunction with the Shawl Knitting Cheat Sheet. Choose a stitch pattern, count the number of stitches on your needle, then use the calculator to determine how many repeats you can work. If you need a total number of stitches that your increase rate will not allow, then I recommend fudging. No one will know that you only increased 2 sts on that last row instead of 4! ;)

Using the Calculator for Shawl Edgings

You can also use the calculator to help you find/adjust edgings that will work for your shawl. This is easiest when you’re working a top-down shawl and are knitting an edging onto live stitches. In this case, instead of inputting the number of stitches your stitch pattern requires, you would use the number of rows in one repeat. The selvedge stitch number would usually be 0 unless you work a set-up or bind-off row.

Knitting & Programming

I love knitting and I love languages, so it follows that I should like programming. There is a long-standing tradition linking textiles and programming, and I recently came across this excellent article on Knitting as Programming (thanks to my Dad, who teaches Java). Alex draws a distinction between “executing” (knitting) a pattern, and actually programming it (writing/inventing the instructions). It all ties in (in my opinion) to the question of how detailed pattern instructions need to be. I certainly enjoy creating “design formulas” like my Crescent Shawl Shaping Worksheet, and the Fill-in-the-Blanks Shawl Design ebook I’m currently working on. The latter is particularly program-like, including if/else statements and loops. And while I have a long way to go before I can call myself even an intermediate programmer, I do enjoy Alex’s description of an experienced knitter, in particular the phrase “knot topology”:

When it comes to this kind of knitting, an experienced knitter is one who takes a modular approach, mixing and matching existing patterns and individual techniques, to build a finished product. It’s someone who can look at a pattern and figure out how to knit it in a different yarn, a different gauge, and a different size, without breaking a sweat over the calculations. It’s someone who geeks out on the knot topology, the 3D spatial reasoning, and the materials science of it all… and knows how to put them to practical use. It’s the difference between being a code monkey and being an engineer.

I hope you find my forays into programming useful, and have a go yourself at being a stitch engineer. :)

19th June, 2012  // Downloads, Knitwear Design // tags: , , , , .

Rosy, Posy, Pink & Poesy

It’s Knitting & Crochet Blog Week again! You can read all of last year’s posts here.

I’ve written before about my love of pink, especially paired with dark green. And while I magnanimously love all colours and can spend hours inventing new colour names, if I had to choose one, I’m sorry Lilac, but let there be Pink.

Last year during Blog Week, you may have seen this yarn on my shelf. Now it’s winding/winging its way to being a fully-fledged shawl. All grown up!

bulky pink shawl
bulky pink shawl

I’m using my own Fill-in-the-Blanks Shawl Design formula (currently in testing!) with the Wheatear Stitch. I’m so so so excited about this ebook, I just can’t wait to release it!

fill-in-the-blanks shawl design

“Pink, it was love at first sight” – Aerosmith

And then there’s this bottom-up, leafy number which I’m knitting in Artist’s Palette Glisten; 100% silk, except for the 100% pleasure that I’m quite certain is plied with it. It’s also been in my stash for far too long! If you’ve never understood “process knitters” (i.e. knitters who enjoy the process of knitting as much as, if not more than, the finished project), then perhaps you’ve never knit with a yarn which makes you want to watch every stitch take form. Silk takes dye particularly well, and no photos can do these colours justice. The yellow isn’t yellow, it’s gold

spring shawl
spring shawl
spring shawl

“Pink is the color of romance and a friend tells me that the girl with the pink dress at the party is the one who is selected for each dance” – Alfred Carl Hottes

Was Hottes talking about roses? I don’t know, but recently I’ve developed a penchant for polymer clay and I made this pink rosy posy heart pendant from white Cernit and coloured it with a blush…

rose heart pendant

And I think blushing must be what Emily Dickinson writes of as a “shawl of Pink”:

Shame is the shawl of Pink
In which we wrap the Soul
To keep it from infesting Eyes —
The elemental Veil
Which helpless Nature drops
When pushed upon a scene
Repugnant to her probity —
Shame is the tint divine.

One last heart/shawl in progress, which isn’t strictly pink unless I get vaguely scientific and point out that white light is a combination of all colours (think Pink Floyd prism).

heart shawl

C’est tout! Lick a pink confection, listen to Piaf, and pick a pink stitch (a pinch?) or two. Á demain…

Knitting Vlog


Click here to watch on Youtube if you can’t see the video above.

I posted my first vlog yesterday! I have a lot to improve on, but I like the idea of doing a vlog every so often, do you? Also, sorry about the sound quality. I think it’s my Macbook fan. I should probably close some apps before filming videos. Oops!

Luxury Yarn Shawl
silk shawl

silk shawl

Dovetail Shawl
dovetail shawl

Mitre-Square Shawl
the shape of things to come...

  • If you’re interested in test knitting any of these shawls, comment below to let me know which. They’re all “as much yarn as you have” shawls, and gauge isn’t important. I’d quite like to see how they look in a variety of yarn weights, actually. I want to get the Mitre-Square Shawl out soonest, the other two aren’t such a hurry, as I obviously have some more designing to do for the ebook. :)
  • Also comment below or video response with your knitting speed (& whether you were knitting st st, ribbing, garter st, etc.)! I’m curious. :)
  • If you’re doing NaNoWriMo too, add me as a writing buddy. My username is: maiden & I’m already behind!
3rd November, 2011  // Life // tags: , , .
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