Designer Aspirations

My original sweater design is coming along beautifully.  Of course, it is nothing like what I had originally designed… the thing has a mind of its own.  I am loving where this idea has taken me, though, and excited to be able to wear it – this must be a good sign!  I am hopeful that I will be able to write it up for public use (more on that at the end of this post)  I am unofficially calling it the Waffle Fries Pullover.

Here’s a sneak peek…

This is a top-down style pullover with set-in sleeves.  I am loving the waffle stitch “strips” running vertically along the sweater.  They are a really simple way to add noticeable texture and interest.  This pattern looks especially good with a variegated or hand-dyed yarn (shown in Madelinetosh Tosh Sock), as the perpendicular lines are in harmony with the subtle color changes.  I never much cared for the way cables look in these types of yarn, but the pattern would work just as well in a solid color with cable panels.

I have a small idea in the back of my brain.  It has been there for several months, and I have been debating whether or not I could accomplish it.  After much careful thought, I think it is possible and I want to share my thoughts with all you knitters out there…

I came up with an idea for: A Dynamic, Customizable Knitting Pattern.  Yeah, sounds crazy, but I think it is possible, and I am super excited to share my ideas and progress!

So… Let me backtrack a bit and explain.  When I begin to work up a design for knitting, I create a spreadsheet (I’m an engineer here, remember!).  I figure out my gauge and I create something that looks like this:

Knitting design is 50% creativity and 50% math (we’re talking addition and multiplication here, not calculus!).  Granted, I am a bit more of a nerd than most.  Anyway, I go through this in case I need to make a change, such as: my gauge changes during design, I need to alter a particular shape, or maybe I decide to make another for a different person.  In particular, I thought this would be especially helpful in grading my patterns if I decide to publish a design.

So you are probably used to a pattern with a sentence such as this:  “…rep until armhole measures 6 ¼ (6 ½, 7, 7 ½, 8,  8 ½)…”, or, “…BO 5 (5, 6, 7, 8, 8) sts at beg of next RS row…”, or, “…place first 42 (46, 52, 54, 60, 64) sts on holder for right front…”  First of all, not only are those instructions confusing to keep track of, but they are also written for STANDARD sizes.  Wouldn’t it be nice if your pattern adjusted the number of stitches, rows, etc. based on YOUR desired measurements??

Then I got my idea!  Why should I (the designer) be the only one able to access this tool and create such detailed modifications?  We all want to be able to create that special one-of-a-kind garment that fits beautifully, afterall.  At the moment, I am attempting to create a knitting pattern for my Waffle Fries sweater, in PDF format, using customizable inputs.  The pattern will allow the user to input their measurements and desired ease and then spit out the correct instructions.  It will also likely have pre-determined inputs for XS, S, M, L, based on the standard sizes from CYC.

This has been my pet project for the last month, and I am so excited about it!  I am basically using a simple JavaScript code that will be embedded into my pattern PDF.  My hope is that I will be able to create a template to re-use for other designs in the future.  Some versions of this idea have been done before (I’ve checked), but not usually for a specific downloadable pattern.

Here’s a couple screenshots to get a taste…

I truly hope there are others out there as excited about this as I am.  Having more flexibility and freedom in your handknits with an adjustable pattern will hopefully inspire even more knitters out there to pick up their needles! More updates on this to come – hopefully very soon!  Wish me luck!  Please, leave a comment about what you think and if you would be interested.  If I get enough interest in it and the pattern goes public, I will need some “beta-testers”/test knitters within the next month.

Happy knitting!