Monday, February 22, 2010
Graphing Colorwork Designs for Knitting
There is a wealth of visual resources we can use for design projects. Art books, magazines, folk art, and museum collections are full of ideas. The design above came from a sixteenth century Persian miniature painting. Take a close look at the strip of decorative textile on the tent in the painting below.
I used ordinary graph paper to plot out the design. That works fine for geometric designs. If you are designing pictures to knit, it is best to use graph paper which is made especially for your knit gauge so that the proportions will come out right. You can get free knitting graph paper on line.
I collected a big pile of mixed aqua tones, and another of mostly darker blues, greens and lavenders. I began cutting the yarns at random lengths, and tying them together until I had a giant aqua ball, and a giant dark yarn ball. I learned this great color mixing method from reading about the Poppy Vest in Kaffe Fassett's book, "Glorious Knits". As I knit, the colors changed themselves for a rich result. Warning: If you use this method, you should try to weave in your ends as you go! It is best to use a drop-sleeve design when you use an allover geometric color pattern for an uninterrupted rectangle of shapes on the body.
I knit this sweater over 15 years ago, and I'm still not tired of it. And with all the layers of wool in it, it is my warmest and coziest.