Saturday, April 28, 2012

Rabbit Hole

Currently I am working on a design that has been my best learning experience ever as a knitter, no, as a pattern writer, no, as a learner. Fannie Fouche has been written and rewritten so many times I've lost track.  I'm knitting the body for the third time.  The Providence yarn (Ball and Skein) has been incredibly patient and resilient.  I have reskeined it and soaked it in some Eucalan to remove the ramen noodle effect, and it is good as new.

I am deep, deep in the rabbit hole of armscye math : the construction, shape, grading and proportion. It is embarrassing to admit how fascinating it is.  I had the pleasure of chatting with Amy Herzog recently (she was a guest presenter at our guild meeting), and she seemed to understand my excitement, that or she's a brilliant (and polite) actress.

I have written a pattern algorithm for myself, a series of questions that determine how many stitches and rows are needed at any particular location on a set-in sleeve sweater.  The algorithm talks to the pattern template, which is written in CorelDraw : I can change the gauge in the algorithm, and all the numbers in the finished pattern change accordingly.  See why I'm so thrilled?  Tons of work up front, but the next time I want to write a pattern with this construction method it should go smoothly (she innocently and whistfully typed as the Pattern Gods chuckled heartily).

Fannie Fouche is constructed from the top down.  It has set-in sleeves that are knit at the same time as the yoke.  Why?  Because we can.  I am confident there are knitters up to the task. I am continually amazed at today's knitter : their Ravelry page states "just learned to knit last year", their project pages have fourteen pairs of lace socks, and they're on Sweater Seven of their Twelve-Sweaters-in-a-Year-Challenge ... in April.


Elizabeth GM said...

See, I need to adopt your attitude in the face of set-in sleeve design -- yours is the attitude of gracious wonder; mine is the attitude of resentful fury. So cool that you wrote your own little piece of software to make perfect armscyes!

magnusmog said...

My - you are one clever woman!

Ellen Mason said...

Elizabeth - it took me a long l o n g time to face it, and I didn't have much choice actually. I skipped over resentful fury and went directly to my modus operandi: there is no problem so big it can't be ignored (for a while at least).

craftivore said...

Oh wow, I am so excited! I'm sure Fanny Fouche will be perfection. The whole fit of the armpits and shoulders can really make or break a sweater so it's awesome that you are paying such attention to that detail. I can't wait to see see it. Top down, nuff said! Love it.

Nancy said...

I can't wait to try this pattern! I love top-down set in sleeves and am excited to see how you design this one. I love your patterns! Always thoughtful and interesting to knit.