Monday, April 7, 2014

Generating Charts for Knitting Patterns Part 2(cont) Multiples and Repeats

To chart any design, you must first understand the concept of using multiples and repeats.  This is probably one of the hardest concepts when learning to design and write pattern. Once you get it, everything starts to fall into place.

The definitions get a bit confusing for some people because  the work "repeat" is used as both a noun and verb.

Multiple-- A set of stitches that repeat across a row.
Repeat--A set of rows that repeat vertically.

*Neither is set in stone. You can choose which set of stitches you want to delineate as the multiple. You can also rearrange the rows to suit your pattern.

This chart shows 2 multiple and 4 repeats

Did you spot the multiples and repeats?: 

Stitches 1-6 repeat across the row so they are the multiple and rows 1-4 repeat vertically making them the repeat. Both could continue for as many stitches or rows needed.

But there are a couple of problems. 

Problem 1-- The piece is neither balanced horizontally nor vertically. 

To balance this cable, I need to add 2 reverse stockinette stitches to the left of the second cable and 1 non-cabled row to the top: 

So where are the multiples and repeats?

But this works as well.
The original

In both examples there are going to be extra stitches and an extra row.  

When you look at a stitch pattern either charted or written, you will often find that the multiple will be expressed before the row by row direction or chart. 

For the original chart the multiple was six. But,... for these bottom 2 charts the multiple is now 6 + 2. Six is the original multiple, the set of stitches that will repeat and 2 represents the number of stitches outside the multiple, needed to complete the pattern. Extra stitches are only worked one time on the row, either before the multiple is repeated across the row or after the multiple is repeated across the row. 

Typically the repeat (for rows) is not expressed. It is up to the designer or knitter to add the appropriate rows to the end (or beginning) of a pattern for vertical balance. 

Here are some other possibilities with this example: 

The second example above brings us to problem #2. What if I want to rearrange the rows?

Suppose I want to start and stop the cable with a cabled row: 

So where is the multiple and repeat now?

And just like our original example, the multiple could be shifted to the left 2 stitches. But the multiple will always be 6 + 2.  

There are 2 possibilities for presenting the final chart: 

Remember in Part 1 that I mentioned the main directions should state how to work the chart?  

The directions for chart 1 would instruct to work Final Chart 1 over a number of stitches that is a multiple of 6 + 2.  (examples: 32, 602, 68) and to repeat rows 1-4 to a certain length ending with row 4  or to work rows 1-4 a specified number of times (the end length would be based on the row gauge for that piece) then work row 5 of the chart.

I like chart 2 better. Here the directions would be similar.  Work Final Chart 2 over a number of stitches that is a multiple of six + 2. Cont working rows 1-4 to a certain length or  a certain number of times, then work row 1 once more. 

Notice on chart 2 that I did not use a box. On this chart I only need to delineate the multiple. Boxing those stitches would be acceptable. But for chart 1 I must use the box, because here I must delineate the repeat. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Generating Charts for Knitting Patterns Part 2 Types of Designs

Knitting design requires the designer to take many things into consideration.  One of those things is they type of stitch pattern or patterns to be used.

There are many good design books and articles giving the wheres and hows to integrate the stitch pattern into the design shape and how to calculate the various sections as to stitch and row counts, increases, decreases, bind offs and cast ons.

When charting you need to think more about the motif or stitch patterns you've selected. When I am designing it is easier for me to think about how the motif of the pattern moves.  There are four ways: vertically, horizontally, both vertically and horizontally, or not at all. Color, texture, cable, and lace patterns all fit into four categories.

Thinking about motifs in context of movement helps me better see the motif composition and helps me better balance the pattern. This makes charting easier.

Other designers have their own ways of approaching this. This is my own method for working design.  It also helps me better explain how the motifs work.

Balance in knitting design is important. Balance gives viewers the feeling that all parts of the work are in equilibrium. In knitting, this sometimes means the stitch elements are symmetrical, vertically and horizontally.  I use the term symmetrical but there are many asymmetrical designs, they are also balanced by other means.

Types of Charted Patterns: 
  • Vertical-design moves vertically with spacer stitches in between. 
  • Horizontal--design moves horizontally for a set number of rows and needs to be centered.
  • Tessellated-design moves both horizontally and vertically. Also called all over pattern.
  • Free form--design has limited or no multiples and repeats.
Lace, Color and Cable patterns can be all of the above. 

The following are examples:

The charts show more than one multiple and repeat to illustrate the type of design. 

Notice the motif moves vertically. I must have more motifs on top of the original for the design to make sense.

Here the design moves horizontally. I could place the same design above or a different design and this basic motif won't change. Moving horizontally produces the patterning.

Her the design moves both horizontally as well as vertically.
Notice there is no multiple or repeat. This picture stands on it's own without the need of another motif.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Generating Charts for Knitting Patterns Part 1(cont)---Chart Fundimentals

When should you use a chart?

A chart should be used if it will clarify the directions. Sometimes it is easier to use a chart rather than written row by row directions. The difficulty of the pattern will determine whether you will use one or the other, or both.

For some patterns it is much easier for the knitter to use a chart, because they can track their work on the chart with highlighter pen, post its, etc.  For complicated directions, it is easy for the designer to make a mistake in the written directions. A chart allows you to see the right side of the fabric with the stitches and colors in place.

For advanced patterns where the directions are more clear using a chart, it is safe to assume that the target audience will have the skills to work from that chart.

Charts can be used to show stitch work (cables and texture), color work, lace and a combination of the three techniques.

Basic Rules for Using Charts

  • The general directions must tell how to work the chart. 
  • Each chart needs a title. Refer to the chart title in the general directions. 
  • Number RS rows along the right margin.
  • Number WS rows along the left margin.
  • Charts in the round should be numbered along the right margin for all rounds. 
  • Stitches should be numbered along the top or bottom.
  • If only RS rows are charted, there must be directions for working WS rows.
  • All charts must have a legend or key. Abbreviations must match the abbreviation section of the pattern.

Chart Legend or Key:
  • Defines symbols, color designations, or both. 
  • If using abbreviations, the abbreviations must match those in the Abbreviation Section of the pattern. 
  • May or may not give directions. If directions are not given, they should be stated in the abbreviation section of the pattern.
  • Only one legend is needed for each pattern.

Examples of Chart Legends: 
This legend only gives the abbreviation or name of the symbol. The directions or definition would need to be provided in the Abbreviation Section of the pattern. The abbreviation or name must be the same on both the legend and in the abbreviation section.

This legend gives both the abbreviation or name of the symbol as well as directions for working that symbol. It's always a good idea to include these in the abbreviation section as well.

Color legends can use symbols, a color or a combination.

This legend uses symbols to represent different colors.

This legend uses a colored cell to represent each color. This can be confusing if the knitter decides to substitute colors in the pattern.

Colored symbols used to represent the different colors.

Symbols placed in colored cells.  In this instance the symbol is relates to the color. 

Sometimes you will need to use a stitch symbol along with a color symbol.

In this pattern two stitches will need to be knit together using C4.
The main directions would state the stitch pattern that the colors are worked in.  Example:
Work in st st according to chart, slipping stitches as indicated.