Thursday, July 12, 2007

Sorting the Stitch Catalog

This evening I added a new menu item that allows you to sort the stitch patterns in the stitch catalog by the number of stitches in a pattern repeat. I’m not sure how useful this will be to the average knitter.

I use this view of the stitch patterns when I am selecting patterns to work into swatches for the illustrations on the web site. I usually work three different patterns in sequence on one swatch. When I select the patterns to work in the swatch, it is just naturally easier if they all have the same number of stitches in a pattern repeat. I work three patterns consecutively because (1) it reduces the overhead spent on casting on and casting off and (2) three patterns is about what I can expect to get done in a evening.

Another limiting factor in selecting the number of patterns to work on a single swatch is the limits of my scanner bed. Rarely can I fit more than three patterns on the scanner at one time. And the scanner is my cheap, easy way of taking a picture of the swatch. I pin the swatch with dissecting pins on a piece of felt (supported by a block of styrofoam). A few moments on the scanner, a few moments in Photoshop to trim the edges of the image to the desired size, upload the file via FTP and another stitch pattern (or perhaps 2 or 3) have been illustrated on the web site.

I also take into account the category of stitches that I select to work in a swatch. I have found, for instance, that lace patterns do not work up well in the same swatch with twist stitch patterns. One category has a tendency to spread and another has a tendency to draw in. It is better if the patterns in the swatch all ‘behave’ the same.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Books in My Library

From Lethe, Topanga Canyon

Your site has been one of my favorites for quite a while, not only because of the wealth of very useful information and the stitch library, but also because of your wit. It is becoming dangerous however, as I go through your library I keep discovering books I need to get too. I spent birthday money on some rare costly out-of-print books that I am absolutely delighted with. Now today I just noticed those Ida Rose Vintage Reproductions, too dangerous. A quick question: is there some way to see just what are your most recent additions to your library ? One of my current favorites is not on your list. It is a compendium of reprints from Weldon’s late 1800s, a few hundred patterns and a glimpse into the past for only $25. _Knitting from 19th Century Sources_ by Kliot. Amazon lists only the out of print first edition, but it is readily available from other vendors like B&N, etc.

Response from 1knittingfool:
I don’t think I have that title yet. There are still about 100 books in my library that I have not yet listed on-line. I work on the whatever is in reach principle. If the floor gets so cluttered with yarn that I can’t roll my desk chair over to the book case, well, stuff just don’t happen. And then I have been working steadily to make sample swatches of the stitch patterns. What a job; but it is fun also. So much to knit, so little time.

Comment from Christina, Delta (4/7/2007 10:20 am)
Just started exploring your site yesterday and have been enjoying the adventure. Today I started looking over your library. Wow! What a dreamy collection. I’m still pretty new at knitting and am taking a leap at trying to design triangular lace shawls. I love the one you designed for your friend and would like to know if that pattern is available? Thanks, I really enjoy your hobby.

Response from 1knittingfool:
The pattern can be found at

Comment from suzuSD (3/16/2008 8:18 pm)
Hey there
This is a great site for knitting noobs like me. Thanks so much for the stitch dictionary with all the photos… it’s so much easier to see if I am doing the stitch right if I have a photo of it to compare to.
Anyway. In your “books in my library” list, you have a book on page three of the H’s, a Japanese book you have titled “how to knit”. Actually, your translation is not too far off; the title reads “wakari yasui teami no kiso to kotsu” which translates to something like “easy to understand handknitting fundamentals”

Speed Knitting Question

A question came up about how fast someone can hand knit. I found documentation that the record is 255 stitches per 3 minutes.

Comment from Christina, Delta (4/7/2007 2:12 pm):
I have a silly question. Silly because knitting is fun, soothing, and meets my compulsive, obsessive, yet creative side and should just be enjoyed; yet something I wonder anyways. I find myself counting and figuring how many stitches I do per minute, therefore … I come up with a quesstimate as to how long a project will take me to complete. So, what is an average stitches per minute for a knitter anyways? I hope to improve my technique and speed and just wonder where I’m at. Thanks for indulging my silliness.

Doily Patterns

The doily patterns on the Knittingfool site are an attempt to capture knitted lace doily patterns in a data base form. The diagrams of the doily patterns are generated demand from instructions in my database. I have tried to present the patterns both as diagrams and in a more traditional written instruction.

Comment from Marley, Winlock, WA (4/25/2007 6:50 pm)
Thank you for providing such a wealth of information and projects.
One question; on several of your doilies the charts say “Begin round by slipping one stitch from the left needle to the right needle.” However, the written instructions do not say this. Why?
Thank you again for a life-changing website.

Response from 1knittingfool:
All the instructions are coming out several different data elements in a set of database tables. The programming for the graphic includes the data element that contains the “slip one stitch . . .” instruction. The programming for the written instructions does not read that data element (yet). All of the above is the long way to say, “I have a bug in my programming.”
I have closed the old Guestbook in favor of using the Knittingfool Blog for the similar purpose. This will offer the guests the opportunity to comment on posts left by other guests. That was not a feature I could easily offer before.
I will move most of the existing guestbook entires into the blog.

Comment from Marlys, full time traveler, TX right now (1/14/2007 9:14 pm):
Great site!! It eliminates several of my how-to books thus lightening the weight we carry in our traveling home. Wish I had found this site long ago. Keep up the good work!!

Comment from Patty, Upper Darby, PA (1/29/2007 8:41 am)
LOVE this site. It is so helpful with much information all on one site. Thanks you so much for sharing.

Comment from regina, spain (2/11/2007 3:40 am)
congratulations this web is wonderful

Comment from Julia, Seattle WA (2/20/2007 4:57 pm)
There are so many knitting sites on the web. This is by far the most useful I have EVER visited! I have knitted for over 40 years and been on the internet since it started. It is so rare to find a site this helpful. THANKS!!!!!

Comment from Shari, Michigan (2/21/2007 12:39 pm)
Your site is the BEST. Along with all the knitting patterns you added the xtras to get your brain working Hummmm can I do this… I sure will try.. THANKS!!!

Comment from Lisa aka Windsonsidhe, Monticello, KY (2/26/2007 9:05 pm)
Very nice site! Very informative. Thank you for providing such valuable information!

Comment from sandra, uk (3/1/2007 12:05 pm)
thank you for this excellent resource, your abbreviation table has just saved my sanity!! It explained succinctly what I needed to know

Comment from Judy, Pleasanton, CA (3/3/2007 8:46 pm)
What a great site, you’re on my favorites now. Thanks so much

Comment from Beverly, Alberta, Canada (3/9/2007 3:10 pm)
Thank you so much for incorporating some edging patterns. They are beautiful. All your work is phenomenal and I really appreciate your efforts.
I also read your diary entry regarding your Dad and late Mother. Just to let you know I had the same thoughts when my Mom passed away.

Comment from Shirley, CT (3/31/2007 6:23)
Your site is just amazing. I am a come-back knitter and am agog over all the new yarns and patterns. It is nice to find the familiar and basics, plus common sense techniques on your site. Thank you so much, will tell all my friends.

Comment from Debbie W., Westport, Ontario, Canada (4/25/2007 12:49 pm)
Very cool website. I can’t believe the number of stitches you have listed. Your sweater wheels are fabulous–an early version of today’s knitting software.

Comment from Laura, Pulaski, Virginia (5/8/2007 10:25 am):
I just came across this site today… wow! As both a programmer and knitter, I appreciate the amount of work that has gone into this site. You have done a wonderful job, and I appreciate such a well-organized list of patterns. And to think- I was debating buying yet another stitch pattern book… now I’ll never need another one!

Response from 1knittingfool: Don’t stop buying the books. That’s much of how I have been financing this site, through the links and ads for books on Amazon!

Comment from Mercedes r. Waukegan, IL (5/10/2007 10:45 am)
What a great site. I just found the site yesterday and can’t tear myself away. I am a semi-beginner and am very curious about everything knitting so your website is very informative. You are definately on my favorites. Thank you so much for such a wealth of information.

Comment from Grace, Arizona (5/24/2007 6:24 am):
Found you by accident..a great site and now in my favorites. So much valuable info! I supervise a LYS in AZ and you will be a great reference for me….thank you

Comment from resellerhosting (1/21/2010 9:01)
I have visited your website so many times but only just noticed you have a guestbook!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Sweater Wheels

Dear KF,
Thank you for the information on Sweater Wheels! I bought mine about ten years ago in a rummage sale and have found it incredibly useful. I have had several of my knitting friends tell me they would also like to buy one of these. If anyone has additional information on where my friends might buy one of these I would greatly appreciate it. Also, thank you for all of the patterns!
Just another Knitting Fool!
Donna Ryans

Comment by Debra, Mews Jersey, NJ (2/4/2007 1:15 pm)
Fabulous site! I recently acquired a Sweater Wheel from a friend’s mother. As I’ve never seen anything like it before, I searched for it on the web and found your site. You have so much information that everyone can use, I’ll be back quite often!

Comment by Susan Nottingham, NH (6/7/2007 1:22 pm)
Oh My Gosh- I have worn out my sweater wheel. I have gotten my mothers, that she never used. I hate to let people use it. But it works up so nice I have got to have made a least 100 sweaters from them. I took mine apart and laminated it so it would last longer. I have been looking for a new one, and know at least 10 people who would buy one if I could find it.

Stitch Catalog progress

As of today, I shall have been working on knitting sample swatches for the stitch pattern catalog for about 7 months. I have completed swatches for 573 of the 1656 patterns that I have documented. That puts me at 34.6% of the patterns having swatch pictures to illustrate them. However, as my husband enjoys pointing out, I am my own worst enemy on this. I keep adding new patterns almost faster than I knit new swatches. I have been averaging between 2-3 swatches per day. Even if I added no more patterns, just to work through the ones I have now would take more than a year. I am sure that I have source material for about 2000-3000 more patterns. This could all go on for years. Someday, I will be in the nursing home with oatmeat drying on my chin wondering how many more patterns I have to do and what row am I on.

Comment from Jennifer, Amite, Louisiana (2/2/2007 11:18 pm)
Hello, I have just discovered your website and I absolutely love it. Although I haven’t explored everything yet, it is the first place I will refer to when I have a question or need an interesting pattern. I see that you don’t have pictures for all of the stitch patterns. Are you working on them yourself or would you like help. I will gladly work some and send you pictures if you would like. It would make the whole site complete! Let me know and keep up the great work!

Response from 1knittingfool:
From the webmaster:I would gladly accept contributed pictures. I cannot pay for them. I may not be able to use each one; I will have to evaluate each. My current database structure and web page coding allows no more than two pictures for each stitch. I can enter a caption under each picture to give credit to the contributor. If you have some pictures in .jpg , .gif or .bmp formats, you may send them to webmaster@knittingfool.comI have been working most of them myself; it has been a personal challenge. However since I think I can expect the collection to grow to about 4000 entries, it is a bit daunting. The advantage of working them myself is that I can correct errors. I find not only errors in my typing but also errors in the original texts. If you choose to work some of these patterns, I strongly suggest that you have the original book available to help control errors.Also because I can sort the entries in my database, I am able to find patterns that are different in name only. Someone who does not have the database would have a harder time finding these similarities.Thank you!

Comment from Beverly, Alberta, Canada (2/23/2007 3:23 pm)
I would be very interested in some edging patterns. Have you any plans on transcribing those in the future? I love all the work you have thus far completed.

Response from 1knittingfool:
Edgings are on my radar but I don’t have a schedule. I have a lot of source material for edgings. I will take your request into consideration.

Comment from Desire, Bloemfontein, South Africa (5/29/2007 5:19 am)
I have been surfing a LONG time for knitting patterns, and now you have given me millions that I can design. Thankx and keep up this excellent site.