In this post I would like to take you through the steps that lead me to my latest pattern. It is called Egmont after the street on which I spotted my inspiration.
My knitting machine (Knitmaster 360) has the ability to produce Fair Isle patterns using a wonderfully outmoded piece of technology, namely punch cards. The machine selects which colour yarn to feed to which needle depending on how they are selected by the carriage. This is one of those brilliant bits of engineering which is very complicated but is also possible to see how it works, a fact that I love. It has its limitations though, one of which is that you can only have a pattern which is at most 24 stitches wide, you can repeat it but your idea has to fit into 24 stitches. At first I thought that this would not leave much scope for anything creative and then I started looking at what other people had managed to achieve and some of it was mind bogglingly good. I decided to have a go myself.
On my regular, trying to get the baby off for a nap, route I had been passing a driveway which always caught my eye, it was laid out in a way that was a little out of the ordinary.
I could not stop thinking about this seemingly simple pattern. I could work it up into a punch card, it probably wouldn’t take more than ten minutes, I thought.
A day and a half later I had managed to produce something which looked like this.
Due to the nature of the knitting I had to adapt the pattern slightly to avoid having long stands of wool (floats) running across the back of the knitting.
Out comes the hole punch and I load up the machine with some practice acrylic wool. I managed to make this.
Can you spot the mistake? I had missed a row when I was punching out the card. Also it looks much more beefy than I meant it to, I had the machine set up to knit two rows for every one on the punchcard.
I tracked down problems and adjusted.
Ignoring the cries of my first born for attention, I ploughed on and produced a cushion cover last night.
It is still awaiting sewing up as you can see from the cushion pad sticking out of the side, but on the whole I am really pleased. Given the limits of the 24 stitch punchcard I wouldn’t be surprised if this pattern, or something very like it is floating around out there already, but that won’t change my sense of achievement at having designed this particular one.
Moral: sometimes setting limits on your creativity can spur your to produce something much better than you could have with boundless freedom of expression.