Friday, September 28, 2007

Knitting Geek

It was bound to get out eventually so I finally added it to my profile. Yes, I admit it. I'm an engineer. Mechanical by training. And I really like being a mechanical engineer. So that of course means that there's no escaping the fact that I'm a geek.

If you really love knitting you find that it interacts with all of the other important aspects of your life, whether it's wrapping itself around your loved ones or distilling inspiration from the other hobbies that excite you. In my case, my most recent knitting adventure has been to write a computer program to simulate the way a multi-colored yarn will flow onto a particular stitch pattern. (Geek!) I'm working on an Excel spreadsheet that takes information about a skein of multi, some pattern details, some gage information, and then paints a view of how the colors will lay out on the knitting.

Now that I'm doing it I'm sure I'm not the first. This is just the kind of tool that someone would need to create a self-patterning sock wool, but as far as I know, there's nothing on the market like it. (That's probably because no one would actually pay for it.) But it sure is fun to play with! My spreadsheet works, so now I'm writing in some features that will make it easy and fast to use. I'd like it to be able to paint-knit an entire sock, but that may be a dream.

This whole thing came from running my brain on "My Big Knitting Problem", mentioned in my last posting. I have purchased a big pile of Fiesta Boomerang in the color "Surf", but am really having trouble planning a project for it. My "Playing with Fire" sweater fair isle stitches a multi with itself, but that just didn't seem right for my Surf Sweater. I love the colors so much that I want to actually paint the sweater with them. It became obvious that I needed a tool to help me design.

Anyways, when I finish this program I will gladly share it with any other knitting "control freaks" who just have to know how a multi will act on a given group of stitches. There are plenty of knitters who live for the surprise and spontaneity of multi yarns, alternately cursing and raving about pooling and striping. I intend to bend these colors to my will. (Evil laughter echoes in the background…)

After such fiendish thoughts we need to take a happy sheep break, so here's some original art I purchased this weekend at the Long Island Apple Festival. The artist, Judy Lambros, belongs to the Peconic Ruggers Guild which apparently is open to new members. It all sounds wonderful, but too much for me right now. If anyone out there wants more info just leave me a comment that I can reply to. Getting back to the story of my sister's gloves: This past weekend I introduced Jo to ShibuiKnits "Midnight" wool, hoping like crazy that she'd love it for her Mermaid Fingerless Gloves. Oh well. Another dream shattered. She waffled between that and the Wollmeise "Gewitterhimmel" and didn't seem thrilled to pieces with either. I have been hugely leaning toward the ShibuiKnits, so I suppose I somewhat convinced her to go with that one. Mostly I was concerned that I might not have enough of the Wollmeise, and Germany's a long way off if I run out!

Anyways it's a done deal. I even started knitting this next pair of Mermaid Gloves last night. The ShibuiKnits is very pleasant to work with and I am liking the color more and more as I knit it up. Of course now I'm worrying because the shadings are pooling. I like that a lot, but will Jo? And will the right and left pool similarly? The stress never ends!!
I've dug in on the left glove first so that I can write up Mermaids Part 3 as soon as possible. The extra wait has been worth it. The creative break triggered an inspiration for solving one of the rotten problems with this mirrored thing. Soon, soon…


ringer said...

I, for one, am very interested in the program! I like pooling more than stripes, so it would be fun to find out beforehand which I'll get.

Cute sheep!

I hope Jo likes the blue more as it is knit up.

Anonymous said...

After spending my7minutes trying to figure out whodunit, I skipped to the end a la Mom and found out there is no mystery to solve - - No matter, the story line was interesting enough without a crime to solve - - Keep up the good work