Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Rough drafts

How did I make the secret project? Begin with knitPro. Use a pen to trace where three distinct circles should be and a colored pencil to indicate which blocks should be used for letters. Label row and stitch axes. Find an old envelope to scribble the pattern on. Count stitches, write down, knit the row, repeat. End up with this.

Notice that the ends want to curl up like a scroll and that the stockinette border wants to behave likewise. Since I incorrectly used the Knit Portrait option to generate the image, I ended up with a squashed image that's more octagonal than circular. (This photo is kind of deceptive as its boxier than it appears.) This also meant that the dishcloth is larger than intended, although it's still a nice size for one. My first iteration is 54 stitches wide and 68 rows tall. Compare to the final version, which is 40 stitches wide and 60 rows tall.

I knit the background, separating inner circle, and letters in stockinette and the outer circle and inner circle in reverse stockinette. I like the raised logo. The dishcloth looks like it is embossed. It might have more dish-scrubbing power. Unfortunately the stockinette separating circle gets lost amid the purls, and the letters don't have quite the graceful curves that they could have.

For the second version I corrected for the stitch size and used the Knit Landscape option on the knitPro web app. That fixed the dimensions, but I still had to determine what kind of stitches to do where, especially for the letters. I felt like I could do better with the A and V in A.V. Club. I tried out different combinations on traditional graph paper until I came up with symmetrical letters that came closest to those in the logo design.

To make things easier, I also chose to plot out the points on the graph paper, which was just wide enough to accommodate the design. I had to add a second piece behind the first, taped together with the sticky part of a UPS delivery notice, to make a sheet tall enough. Then it was time for more coloring. You'll see that I made some mistakes and had to incorporate other colors to cover them up. It's a good thing I have the pattern typed out because I'm not entirely sure what all of those "fixes" mean.

Since I knew the pattern well enough by now, I wrote it all and then knit the project. Imagine how pleased I was when it turned out how I envisioned. I switched to a purled background, separating circle, and letters with a reverse stockinette outer and inner circle. The change was a big improvement. I also added a garter stitch border on the sides to spruce it up.

Was this process easy? Well, I wouldn't call it simple, but it went more smoothly than I anticipated, particularly after I did the first failed draft. I spent far more time coloring in all those squares for the second draft than was probably necessary, but it paid off when it was time to convert those blocks into stitches. The knitting was pretty easy, surprisingly quick, and worth the effort I put into designing it.

Tomorrow: the pattern.

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At 11:13 PM, Blogger Karen said...

Fabulous! It's so cool to see how a pattern evolves and improves.

At 11:20 PM, Blogger the secret knitter said...

The interesting thing is that the FO is better because of what I did wrong the first time around (using the portrait layout rather than landscape). The second time I had a better understanding of how many stitches I needed for different elements. I don't know if I would have refined the pattern as much without that mistake.

At 8:06 AM, Anonymous LittleWit said...

That turned out really awesome. My attempt was a big fat fail. Someday I may attempt it again. :)

At 1:19 PM, Blogger Donna B. said...

What a lot of work! It's a good thing you're predisposed to be interested in problem-solving. Getting it right is a really good feeling, isn't it?

At 5:40 PM, Blogger Karen said...

Terrific, Mark. After talking about it with you, it's great to see the final result. :-)


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