Monday, March 9, 2020

A More Accurate Knitting Graph Paper

I am a lifelong knitter. I am also an avid user of Adobe Illustrator. Occasionally, my two loves collide and the result is something useful and unusual. This tool is one of those results.

In my knitting life, I sometimes do a type of knitting called Fair Isle. In popular culture, this is associated with Ugly Christmas sweaters. But in the knitting world, this has been a sophisticated and much loved technique that has existed for centuries before. Do a quick search for stranded color work knitting or fair isle knitting and you'll find hundred of beautiful designs.

The essence of Fair Isle is that it follows a color chart to indicate which color of yarn to use on which stitches. Usually, two strands of yarn are used on each row, and the unused strand of yarn is held at the back of the work. Usually, the color charts for this type of knitting are created in a spreadsheet program.

As a knitter, the issue that I've run into is that knitting stitches are not square. It's simple enough to make the spreadsheet cells roughly proportional to the dimensions of a knitted stitch (roughly 1 wide by .75 high). But once those designs are knitted, the result can be disappointing, because not only are knitted stitches not square, they're not rectangular either. They are horseshoe shaped. Many times, illustrators will draw them as Vs because that's the part of the stitch that is visible from the front of the work. This is especially apparent when using fair isle to design letterforms. Shapes that would normally have lovely curves and smooth diagonals, can have jagged edges.

You may notice that the Vs in the knitted piece below are actually upside-down; this is because this stocking was knit from the top-down, so the knitting is actually upside down while being knitted.

Traditional graph-paper style charts cannot account for this end result. So help knitters better visualize how their final designs will look when knitted, I designed an accurate fair isle chart, made not of rectangles, but of actual knitted stitches. 

This is a BLANK fair isle knitting chart (available in both landscape and portrait).  This chart comes with two versions: one has gridlines and the other does not. On the gridded version, every fifth row and column is a darker shaded outline.

It works for both top-down as well as bottom-up knitting. If you are a knitter and want a better type of knitting graph paper, then this is for you! 

If you are a knitter, please visit my KnitSwag Etsy shop and see all the other lovely knitterly items I have for sale. I have designed them with you in mind!

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