I had an interesting time designing this square. I had the general idea in mind, but have never actually graphed a design to knit. So being fool hardy, I just grabbed some graph paper and starting drawing. I knew I needed a 12 inch square, so I randomly picked 5 stitches to an inch, giving 60 stitches. Then I took my graph paper and marked off a square 30 X 30 blocks and called each block 2 stitches. Then I started drawing in the flower. The design looks somewhat blocky of course, since it is made out of blocks LOL.
It looked good on paper. But it only took me knitting one row to realize I had not taken into consideration that the block was not going to be the same gauge in rows as it was in stitches. In other words each row in the design was definately more than two rows to get a 12 inch square. Gasp! I had to actually calculate it! Or more accurately what I did was figure it out on the fly, as I was knitting. Since the first three lines at the bottom of my pattern were just knit and purl rows, I measured after I had done 1/2 inch of knitting. I had done four rows. That would mean I needed 8 rows per inch, over 12 inches gave me 96 rows. I had 30 graph lines so divide 96 rows by 30 design lines and I would need to do 3.2 rows per graph line. Hmmm. Tricky.
Then it got even more complicated. I knitted another 1/2 inch and got the gauge of 7 rows for an inch. Not the 8 that I had expected from the first measurement of gauge (did all of this futzing tighten up my tension?) So back to the calculator. If I was getting 7 rows to an inch, and needed 12 inches, I would need to do 84 rows. Divide 84 rows by 30 lines of the graph and each line would be 2.8 rows.
I should have just picked a pattern in a book!
So here I am trying to figure out how to make each line on the graph be either 3.2 rows or 2.8 rows. I did it the good old fashioned seat of the pants way. I guessed. I knitted 3 rows, 3 rows and then 2 rows per line and continued that progression up the 30 lines of the graph. At various points along the way, I would remeasure, and find that I was right on a gauge that if I continued this way, when I hit the last of the 30 lines I would have 12 inches. And to my amazement, this is exactly what happened.
Who said woman can not do math!
Besides that was only half the fun of doing this pictorial knitting. The other bit of fun was figuring out how many stitches to make in a knit and how many in a purl, for the design to show. I had to figure that out for each row too. And keep track of which row I was on with tick marks on the side of the graph.
In spite of all of this, the square knitted up reasonably fast. I did about half of it, once I got going in about two hours, because once I got going I was really excited about seeing the picture develope. Plus I was loving the yarn I was knitting it with, a skein of corriedale that I had spun earlier this year. The fiber was processed at woolyknob fiber mill, and I was impressed with the yarn when I spun it, but even more impressed as I knit with it. There is just a special feel to the yarn, that is indescribable, and that kept me saying over and over, "I love this yarn!"
Since I got this square made in such a short amount of time, I decided to do a second square. Something simple!
It's not ribbing, it's Brioche
This square is knitted from the sample skein I spun of the Border Leicester fleece I had processed at woolyknob.
Even though I thought I was picking a simple pattern, I had to frog the square twice in order to get the 12 inch size. I was measuring 6 stitch (two rib bumps) per inch when I'd get some knitted, and that seemed like I should be casting on 72 stitches. That is what I did at first and the square was way too big. So I cut back to casting on 60 stitches, and it was still too big. I couldn't figure out why I was not getting 12 inches with those number of stitches. At knit group on Sunday, I started once again, and something finally clicked. In this brioche stitch the first row after casting on, is a set up row. And in that row you S1 purlwise, yarn forward and K1 causing a YO and therefore INCREASING your number of stitches from your cast on row. No wonder my next knitted rows resulted in squares much too big. I cast on 48 stitches, did the set up row, and then was off on the real brioche stitch. I find that stitch to be very mindless knitting, once it is set up and going. It is S1 purlwise, yarn forward and then K2 together for row after row until the piece is complete.
This is a very dense, squishy fabric. It's color is a deep brown and I feel the depth of the brioche stitch matches that density of color. I loved this square, and plan to be using brioche for other projects in the future too.