Monday, May 6, 2013

How to Graph Knitting Patterns

Over the past year this has morphed into a novice gardening blog, and while I love to show the world what I'm doing wrong with my garden, sometimes it's nice to talk about things I actually know how to do! Like graphing new Mouse patterns! Hopefully knowing my process will also give you insight into why it takes so long to put a new product up on Etsy. I'm like American Car designers...have an idea in 2000, see product in real life in 2012! ;)

First I write a big long list of ideas. Sometimes things sit on the list for years before I do anything, you know, you've got to give an idea the test of time - is it still a good idea three years from now? Sometimes things go on the list and are on the back of a mouse within a week (or a day). While chatting with the boyfriend and friend I decided to do a group of comic book mice (now I'm breaking a personal rule telling you about these mice before they are ready to sell, but hey maybe it will get you more excited for the actual release?) and between the three of us we came up with three different three pack ideas: DC, Marvel, Marvel Groups. Then I go out and with comic book nerdery help find the right image to put on the back of my mice:
Here you can see I picked out an image of the Punisher, then I take pencil to graph paper and start drawing out what I think I can fit on a mouse. Oftentimes I will actually build a square showing the space I have for stitches just to keep myself within a good stitch and row count. I also do my thinking now, plan what row to start the pattern in, how many stitches in, which direction to make the pattern etc. This way it's written down and I will do it the same every time. Or at least that's the idea. It's a good idea to write things down in a way you'll understand a year from now too, the more info the better. Believe me, I've learned that lesson the hard way! 

Next I actually test the pattern. I knit the mouse with the new pattern on the back. It then goes into a bag with other mice waiting to be felted. Once I have enough I do a batch of felting. This process sometimes takes a week to 6 months or longer. Once the mouse has come out of felting I check to see how the pattern turned out. If I don't like it I chart again and test again. (There's actually a new set of "Talking Mice" that aren't ready yet because they are in this stage. Made my P's too pointy dang nab it) Once I like how the felted Mouse looks, the pattern can be transferred to a "Pattern Booklet" which is basically graph paper that I fold in three, then I have room for three - five different patterns, graphs and written directions. If the pattern is really good I'll mark it in Sharpie, like the Peace symbol below:

That's pretty much it. Get an idea, graph it til it looks right, test it, test it again, then get busy making it! Also, feel free to use my (untested) Punisher and Peace Symbol patterns. I figure if I show it to you, it's free game! 

The only bad part about this multi-step process and my knit-pickyness is that my coffee table goes from this:

to this:

(And that's a good day!)

Happy knitting, and feel free to ask any question you have about charting and 'fixing' patterns :)

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