Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I am doing homework.

Finally I have flushed out my design. I decided to move beyond analysis paralysis(a phrase I used to use when I could get bogged down in the analysis of IT systems designs-not too far off from knit designs quite honestly).

I have charted my design onto the body measurements to make sure all the pieces fit into my garment's real estate. If you have ever designed an aran you will quickly realize that you don't have as much real estate as you think you do.

With an aran, you have multiple design pieces, cables, honeycomb, diamonds, etc. When pieced together, they must fit into your set space. There is much calculation and then there is more calculation. (Heather in Alaska, you are going to like this!)

Not only is there challenge horizontally, but vertically. My most glaring challenge is the diamond pattern. Each diamond repeat, vertically, is 9.5 cm. If you want to have a complete diamond at the top of the sweater you must move and measure down from there to see if the diamond will get cut off at the length you want the finished garment. I had to adjust my sweater an additional 3.7 cm because I didn't want to start the diamond in the middle, I wanted a complete repeat.

Once your biggest, most noticeable cable is measured out, you must measure each design element, like the honeycomb to make sure its repeat will begin/end within the new length. Since I'm not as bothered by honeycomb ending mid pattern, that was easier to deal with.

My other large headache was getting the traditional X and O patterns to work out in my design/garment. I am doing the X and O pattern vertically to use as my button band. In addition, I am also doing the X and O pattern horizontally along the bottom band. In order to make all those X's and O's line up...well I had to pray the numbers would work out. As it turns out, they did. Beautifully I must say.

On the right and left front pieces I had to use only half an X for the numbers to work out. A full X or O would make the piece 1.75cm too large.

That means that on the back, on each side of the back I also have to knit half an X so when I sew, there will be a full X at the sides. I could not believe my lucky stars that the number of X and O's on the back work to exactly the 56cm. I took 56cm and subtracted 3.5cm (the two half X's for the sides to match the other 1/2 of the X from the fronts) and I'm left with 52.5cm. 52.5/3.5(width of each X and O) = 15. I needed and odd number to make sure two X's or O's wouldn't be next to each other. Do you understand what I'm saying?

Time to celebrate that the numbers worked out!!!

I am now excited to actually start the knitting part. Design is so much trickier and there is a ton of math and calculation involved.

I really appreciate all the work good designers go to in order to make a *good* design. Boy, I can sure spot issues with designs now.

Here is a tidbit of how my design worked out. It is hard to see. I have a hell of a time photographing the velum like graph paper.


Arctic Knitter said...

Yes!!!!! I *love* the calculations & of course - I'm a sucker for cables! I think I need to change how I'm teaching high school - I just need to turn every lesson into some sort of knitting project. Thanks for sharing - good job with working on your homework. :0)

Joni said...

Math - more math, bring it on! The design is brilliant - I can't wait to see the beautiful sweater take shape! Nice job...

Sarah said...

My brain hurts. This is amazing! Look at you go. As always, I stand in awe of your knitting.

: )

The Wooly Wumpus said...

All I can say is: I'm in awe.