Thursday, 13 October 2011
This might actually work
Designing my own knitting pattern, starting with a paper pattern traced off a favourite t-shirt. Three kinds of graph paper: a grid drawn on the pattern, knitter's graph paper, and good old square graph paper. If it works, I'll show you how. If it doesn't work, I'll show you anyway and we can figure out what I did wrong. But so far, so good.
Why bother with all this nonsense in the first place? Mainly because I spent three weeks knitting something that ended up not fitting the way I wanted it to. My tension was correct, I scrutinised the schematic diagram, I measured myself and several items of clothing, I tried it on three-quarters of the way through and ripped back and knitted a whole section again - and still it didn't look like the photo*.
I'm tired of this.
It's all very well reading instructions for how to modify patterns to fit, but I find it difficult to understand what changes are needed when the garment doesn't exist yet and I can't try it on. The calculations make sense in theory, but trying to apply them to an imaginary garment makes my brain just plain stop. So I'm doing this by drawing. There are numbers, yes, but they're little blocks I can move around on the page, and I can see what I'm doing. It's more counting than maths.
Working from an existing garment means that I understand how it fits, and how I'll need to change it. I can pin and measure the t-shirt, judge the effect in the mirror, move around and decide whether it's comfortable. Looking at a flat pattern and understanding how it will fit in three dimensions is a skill acquired through experience; I don't have that experience.
I'm aware of Zimmerman techniques, knitting from the top down in the round and the percentage system. I've just never seen a jersey** made like that that I'd want to wear. Some I'd want to knit, they look like fun, but I prefer seams and corners to my clothes. It's just a matter of taste.
Ultimately, I'm making a basic block that I can adapt - just like in sewing. Then, if I like the look of a pattern, I can buy it, draw the schematic up to actual size, lay it over my block that I know fits, and adjust it by drawing.
I really hope this works. If it doesn't I may give up knitting.
*That's not because it was on a model and I'm not a model. It was the new style of knitting photo, on an 'ordinary person'. I'll rant about average sizes and shapes and how they are actually useful in allowing people to judge whether an item of clothing will fit them, some other time. Suffice to say that we've all spent years buying clothes displayed on average shapes and are surely quite well practiced at guessing how they'll look on us. Models may be thinner than we'd like, but it's their proportions, not their actual measurements, that matter when they're displaying clothes..
**Yes, a jersey. If I lived somewhere else it might be a sweater or a pullover, but I don't and so it's not.