Thursday, April 28, 2011

Seeing Things From a Different Angle

The Knit Radar/Contour is a nifty device; I've talked about it before. You have a paper pattern, either half width or full width, and it's drawn to half the scale of the finished item. You do your swatch and measure it, and put a ruler with your stitch gauge in a slot at the bottom of your pattern. You turn a dial to your row gauge. As the carriage trips the row gauge lever, the pattern moves up an appropriate amount. The stitch ruler tells you how many stitches to have, where the pattern line intersects the ruler is the row you're working on. You can draw a pattern using your own measurements, you can draw one using schematics from a handknitting pattern, and you can even take a sewing pattern (for knits), and reduce it by 50% and use it. It's even been suggested to me that if you have a handknitting pattern with no schematic, you can use blank paper, and no yarn, and "knit" your item, but mark on the paper every time you dec/inc/etc. Then connect the lines and you have a new pattern.

Recently, I encountered something else. I have some yarn I want to use to make a springy, drapey, cardigan. I have a pattern for the standard gauge (and even the recommended yarn, but I don't want to use it!), and it has schematics. However, the yarn doesn't work on either of my machines with Knit Radar! If I were handknitting, I'd just start and then work out the pattern (dec. for shaping) as I go. But that's not easy on the machine. I was wondering if I could make the KR 7 on my bulky (which comes off), work for the LK150 as I didn't want to work out all the pattern calculations for a new gauge, and then write out the pattern.

A Ravelry member said to:

A) Work a Gauge Swatch on your LK150, block it and then measure the rows and stitches.

B) On the KR7, set the row setting dial, then select and insert the appropriate stitch ruler. Insert your 1/2 Scale Garment pattern, either pre-printed or one you have drawn yourself.

C) With pen and paper or laptop/iPad handy to take notes, and without any yarn in the bulky carriage, move this machines carriage back and forth to trip the row advance lever. You’re not knitting on this model, just using it’s carriage to advance the lever, and you can really fly through a pattern this way. Write down the pattern instructions; IE How many stitches to Cast On; How many rows to first decrease/increase, write down how many stitches to bind off for armhole shaping, rows to shoulder, etc.

What this method allows you to do is to quickly work through and write down the pattern instructions for the front, back and sleeves. Then you use this information on your LK150 and knit the sweater, when time allows. The front one evening, back the next, both sleeves a couple of nights later, and then onto blocking and finishing.

This process allows you to do a dry run in a sense, to think your way through and consider things like closures, IE button and buttonhole placement, or facings for zippers, how you might want to work the shoulder finishing, attach and work a neckband or modify a pattern to incorporate the shaping required for a shawl collar. This way you don’t have to unknit any mistakes that come from surprises or construction methods that you did not consider until the knitting was underway.

Isn't that clever?! "Ghost Knitting" is what came to mind. Using the Knit Radar instead of a calculator. On one hand, the thought of taking the time to knit WITHOUT yarn...LOL...but I'd really like to use this yarn, and on the LK150 (I know you can get a proper KR for it, but that's money!). I thought once I had the bulky and the standard gauge, I'd have all yarns covered with one or the other, and this yarn should have a gauge of 26st/4" which is doable on the standard gauge. I think however, the fiber mix, or the structure of the yarn, just didn't work on the standard. I do have some other little things to take care of first, but I'll keep you posted on how it works out!

Edit:  I totally forgot the other part to this!  LOL.  I recently saw a nice, sewn, hoodie on a blog.  I was lamenting that I don't have any sewing patterns for things like that.  Then I realized that I could take the KR pattern that I've altered to fit me (perhaps not as shaped as the SWS sweater I just showed), and use that to make a sewing pattern!  After all, it's just a flat representation of fabric!

No comments: