A Love Knit Up

Saturday, June 03, 2006

A Knitting Creation

So, although I have not been knitting I have made something that can help with knitting. Here's how it happened.

I was trying to design a lace shawl. (It didn't work, don't ask.) I kept fiddling around with drawing charts and putting different patterns together. However, as I was trying to make a triangle I wasn't only fiddling with charts from the stitch dictionaries I have, I was also trying to draw my own (to figure out how increases would work). I didn't have any graph paper, so I was drawing (a) charts and (b) graph paper. This was annoying and frustrating and didn't work so well.

A normal person would have gone out, walked a couple of blocks and bought some graph paper. (Actually, as I was packing I founda notebook full of the stuff. In restrospect, I'm probably gald that I didn't know I had it...) As I am not a normal person, I started wondering how I could make the computer draw the graph paper for me. Now, this is reasonably easy; I drew some squares in a drawing program, and was all set to print it out. But then it occurred to me that as I didn't have a printer I'd have to leave my room to go and print and, in particular, I'd have to walk further to pick it up than I'd have to go in order to buy graph paper. (Even I'm not silly enough to do something like that.) So instead I started thinking about how I could make the computer draw charts for me; if I could do that, I would never have to go and tryand find graph paper. (I also thought that it would be nice to put it on the internet, for all of those other lazy people who can never find graph paper when they need it.)

This brings us to the Chart Creator, a CGI script that I wrote that takes written out instructions for a chart and generates a picture and a PDF file for it. (The PDF file is so that you can print the chart out and take it with you.) It can do lots of cool things, like add notes to charts, and mark off stitch repeats. And here's the cool thing: it finds chart errors.

Have you ever knitted from a chart and been unable to get the stitch counts to work out right? And then it all ends up being because the chart had a knit 2 together instead of a plain knitted stitch somewhere? This always frustrates me. What my script does is very simple: it counts the stitches in each row, and makes sure there is the correct number of stitches in each row. So, for example, if the first row tells you to knit 4, yo, knit 4, and then the next row tells you to purl 8 you know that it's crazy, because they forgot to tell you what to do with the new stitch. The chart creator does the same thing, only it does it before generating the chart. It even tells you on which row the error turns up, and how many stitches there are in each of these rows. (I'm all happy because of this: it means that I can type in other people's charts to check them, and I never have to wonder if I'm going batty.)

So that's what I've been working on. I've even made a manual for it. =) Hopefully this will be helpful to people.


  • SOOOO helpful! I have been looking for ever for something like this that will help me plot out decreases and increases to get just the right curve. Thanks for this! :)

    By Blogger Christa, at 12:43 PM  

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