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.


Gabriele Kubo said...

Beth, I never saw anything more amazing than this technique!! It looks almost as marble! The pattern itself is already a really difficult one with the diamond shapes, but these Persian color graduations! Superb! I am in awe of your talent!!
And amazed, how randomly cut yarns can turn out that regularly.
Very very beautiful!!


"Sassuga!" would we say in Japanese. Means something like "That can only be done by Beth!"

Appleshoe said...

Beautifull and inspiring.15 yeas and it still looks new. Makes me want to learn to knit.

Beth said...

Thank you Appleshoe and Gabriele. "Sassuga, sassuga.." that is what I am humming today. Thanks! love, Beth

farmama said...

It's beautiful! A work of art! I love the way you play with color! I know I've told you over and over again.....but you are so very talented! Your art inspires me!
with love,

softearthart said...

Just delightful, the color of your jumper you made a long time ago is still rich. cheers Marie

NYCviaPDX said...

This is absolutely gorgeous! It inspires me to pick up my needles and try something new. Wonderful!

Theresa said...

So pretty, and it has held up well! Come now for a fun giveaway!