Friday, 29 August 2008

Writing down insturctions

I don't know how designers go about getting their work done, but I know that if I am going to make something happen, it will happen on my needles by trial and error. This would be the yarn stress way of making a pattern on your own. I certainly did it with crochet, and I'm doing the same thing with knitting too.

The piece I did for the shop is a very small capelet, more of a collar with a collar than anything. If you added all the stitches I knit up, I have knit enough stitches getting the the finish, for a sweater. (Recall the entire 1200 stitches on a row ruffle problem?) Backwards and forwards, deciding if I needed a row of increases by finding out that yes, to fit, I needed a row, and working back, putting it in and moving forward again. If I had written down every stitch in every row along the way, the instructions would read a lot like knit, knit, burrp, knit, knit, knit back, knit. And don't forget the purls.

Now I have to write down the instructions. They really are simple, and to me, intuitive, but the problem is, not everyone thinks like me. In fact, no one but me thinks like me. My sons say they are not even sure I can understand what I am thinking half the time. I am nervous that what feels so intuitive to me is going to come out weird or even impossible, or just to darn fussy for most knitters.

Is it odd to say, after the fact, that I worked in the special yarns, till it felt right? How can I explain the way the yarns worked along the collar's collar? How can I explain my decision to put the really fuzzy yarns at the end. How do I say that I decided to do a lacy bit because it felt right?

I know that Elizabeth Zimmermann designed always with an eye to the math of the thing. My friend,That Logan Chick, does the same, but I think for both, it is because the math part was deep in the way the see the world.

I don't have a thing for numbers and I don't have a thing for math. Numbers are not how I see the world. I go by feel. I feel when a thing is right or not. I feel if things balance. I feel when scale is right, but how to get everything there is a mystery unless I have the string in my hands. It all plays out in endless stitches and ripping back and playing around with needles and strings.

Now I have to write it down, make it make sense and see if others can follow along with me. I'm off to count stitches.

It might not be every ones cup of tea, but its awfully cute. Look for it on display in the shop some time soon.


Knitting Alchemist said...

Feel free to run it by a few of us knitterly friends.

Kerric said...

Mom, the problem is that what is simple and intuitive when you are thinking on it, isn't so when you try to recreate it. I've seen you have trouble with your own instructions and lists before.

karen said...

Hi!! Thanks so much for thinking about me today! Well, I survived much to my amazement. It probably helped that there were no kids in, just a staff day, but it was great, meeting new people. I think it's going to be good. Have an amazing weekend!

Needles said...

but Kerric, that is because I cannot read my handwriting.