No post today, alas.

Tomorrow’s Patreon post has been scheduled for a while. I was going to get something done for today, but then Things Happened, as they are wont to do. Among other Things, we’re getting the house ready for a kitten! And a family visit! And then I got a cold.

Sorry. At least there will be a new stitch pattern tomorrow? And it’s one I like a lot.

Centering a picot over a single stitch instead of the space between two stitches.

Centering a picot over a single stitch.

There are certain kinds of stitch patterns that I like to finish with a picot bind-off, placing the picots so as to emphasize certain parts of the pattern. However, I have sometimes found myself a little frustrated. The usual method of creating knitted picots ends up centering the picot over the gap between two stitches. With many of my stitch patterns, this is what I want. But the perfectionist in me doesn’t like this when there’s a single stitch that’s the obvious focal point; in fact, it can sometimes mess up the appearance of the edge.

Centering a picot over a single stitch instead of the space between two stitches.

Starting from the right hand side, the first two picots are centered over the gaps between stitches, which looks fine, because there’s not a single stitch at the center of the motif. The third picot makes an ugly hole between the decrease and the next stitch. The last two picots use the method I describe below.

Somewhere along the line I realized that it’s possible to center a picot over a single stitch by binding off that stitch twice: once at the beginning of the picot and again at the end. (I’m sure I can’t be the first person to have come up with this; I’ve just never personally seen it described.)
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One last flattened diamond stitch pattern blog post… for now

Figuring out how to make the diamonds that tile nicely for a crescent shawl has felt rather like trying to drink from a firehose in regards to filling up my head with ideas. The method in question isn’t only of use for secret code, of course, and I’ve been playing around with some other ways to use it.

(I’m only including text instructions for the stitch design in the featured photo. It’s really a post about how to play with designing using charts, and the text was going to make it too long. Speak up in comments if you want text to go with the others of these, and I’ll post separately.)

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How I use my secret code methods in a non-rectangular space

This is the basic method I used to make the Galaxite stitch pattern, though I’m going to use a much shorter word to make things quicker to explain.

Sky in base 6 becomes 31 15 41. In my description of how I do my secret code charts, I’ve called the method I used for laying out the code in the diamonds, “adding it all up“, but it’s not really well described, I think. (I’m going to be rewriting that whole section of my site; when I got Sequence Knitting, I instantly realized that this particular method uses the spiral form of sequence knitting.)

If I pretend that each digit of the code represents a word, I can write out each of those “words” by counting out that many squares in the chart, and then marking the next square. (This helps account for encodings that contain zeros—sky is quite unusual in not having a single zero in it.)

I usually start in the bottom right corner of my charts, as if I’m knitting. If I mark out 3 1 1 5 4 1 on one row of a chart, starting on the right, here’s what I get:

sky 1 rowThree light squares, marked off by the black square in the fourth square. Then one light square, marked off by the black mark in the sixth square, and so on. Sky in base six takes up a total of 21 squares (the same as adding up all the digits and then adding on the number of digits used to encode the word: 3 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 4 + 1 + 6 = 21.)

That’s my sequence. Now I can lay out my sequence on rectangles of different proportions; they don’t have to be exactly 21 squares in area, though they can be.

Imagine that the white squares are knit and the black squares are purled (they could be anything, but that’s an easy substitution. Now, cast on seven stitches in the round and work the sequence above; it will fill three rounds perfectly, as shown below. Alternately, cast on six stitches; it won’t quite fill four rounds. This is where I depart from the regular form of sequence knitting, which would continue to fill the space (the code would stop working if I did that).

sky in other rectanglesIn the four row version, there are three extra spaces at the end of the fourth row. They don’t matter for the purposes of the code; there’s no black square following them, so we don’t have to count them.

Now, it turns out that the pieces don’t have to be cut into equal lengths. I first realized this with Beloved, which is also tiled diamonds, though I didn’t explain it in detail at the time.

I did introduce an added complication at that point; I wanted to outline the diamonds to help define the code more clearly since it’s not a rectangle. I’m not entirely sure this is necessary, or even helpful. Still, it’s how I’ve done things so far; what do you think?

The end squares of each row of diamond are marked in orange. I don’t place a black marker in those squares. They act as margins between the diamonds.

Here’s the blank diamond I started with.

whole diamondBecause I like symmetry, I cut the diamond in half before putting the sky sequence into it.

half diamondSo, keep in mind that I treated the orange squares as being off limits.

sky 1 row

Here’s the long row of sky, just as a reminder.

There are 2 squares available on row 1. The first two squares of sky are blank, so no black squares will go on row 1, and squares 1 and 2 are now accounted for.

rows 1 and 5There are 5 squares available on row 3 (I’ve hidden the alternate rows because those will be plain knitting), so the contents of squares 3 through 7 will go on row 3.

row 5There are 8 squares available on row 5, so the contents of squares 8 through 15 are placed there.

row 7There are 5 squares on row 7, so squares 16-20 go there.

half sky

And finally, there are 2 squares on row 9, so square number 21 goes there, with one square left over in the diamond. All of the sky sequence has been placed on this half diamond.

whole skyHere it is, mirrored, making the diamond to be tiled.

sky diamond orange squares

Here’s the diamond tiled in a crescent shawl, with the orange boundary squares still present.

sky diamond no orange squaresAnd with the orange squares removed.

To turn this into an actual stitch pattern, the knitter would need to work out what kind of stitch was represented by the black squares and then work the knitting accordingly. When I design lace, each black square is replaced by a yarnover, and then I figure out where to place the decreases and any decorative stitches.

crescent shawls: tiling flattened diamonds.

When I posted Galaxite on Saturday, I wrote in passing about using a tiled flattened diamond to create the stitch pattern. This post goes into more detail about how this structure was created.

Crescent-shaped shawls have been popular among knitter and crocheters for several years now. The first such shawl I remember seeing was Annis, which caught a lot of people’s attention. A lot of other crescents used the same basic method (the body done with short rows, and the fancy edge knit straight), but designers started branching out very quickly, finding a variety of ways to make a crescent shape.

Last winter I knit Sacre Coeur, which uses a very different method, which I found fascinating and unexpected. Its designer, Nim Teasdale, will be the first to tell you that she didn’t invent it (at least, that’s what she said when I asked), though I think she does an excellent job of working with it. I don’t know an exact name for the style (if you do, please comment!), but it seems to be popular at the moment: one advantage to it aside from its beauty is that the shape can be worked until the knitter runs out of yarn or decides they’re done.

The method starts with casting on a small number of stitches, then increasing three stitches at each edge over two rows, while putting whatever stitches one likes between the edges. When blocking, the bound-off edge is curved around, while the two selvedges are blocked out as straight as possible.

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Galaxite, a free lace knitting pattern.

Galaxite: a free lace knitting stitch pattern

Galaxite is the word of the month! It’s a sparkly, dark mineral first found in North Carolina, and I think I need to pester Katherine for a photograph of her sample. Oh, right. Let’s back up a little: each month I pick a word from suggestions provided by my Patreon backers, and encode it as a knitting pattern – lace or cables. (I also make a different chart usable for any craft, just because.) Galaxite was suggested by Katherine, and here we are.

I tried encoding it in base 6, 7, and 8, laid out on rectangles in various configurations, and kept wanting to tear out my hair. Galaxite might be a beautiful mineral, but it was not cooperating with my usual lace design methods. Finally, I remembered that I’d been meaning to experiment with making a stitch pattern that’s suited to a kind of crescent shawl that seems to be popular at the moment – cast on a few stitches, and increase three stitches at each edge every two rows. It turns out that it worked nicely to plug the base 8 version of Galaxite into the flat diamond that tiles to make a good crescent shawl (because of the malleability of knitting). More on those diamonds on another occasion.

Fear not: I am also including a more standard rectangular version.

(Also, I recently worked out that my featured images aren’t showing up in mobile browsers or RSS feeds. My apologies; I hope to get this sorted out soon.)

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Galaxite: a free chart for any craft

Yes, that chart in the featured image is leaning. There’s some crafts that can be worked from a grid, but which bias in the process: tapestry crochet, for example. I can’t crochet any more (please, no suggestions), but I can still make a “secret code” chart that’s suitable for it – or for quilting or crochet or cross-stitch or what-have-you.

One kind of chart suitable for tapestry crochet doesn’t involve mirror symmetry so much as rotational symmetry; it doesn’t look so strange when biased. And so this month’s chart based on encoding a word suggested by one of my Patreon patrons is rotationally symmetric. The word is Galaxite, suggested by Katherine.

Here is the regular chart:Galaxite: a free chart for use in any craft.

(for this chart, I encoded Galaxite in base 7.)

Feel free to use it however you like; if you’re a designer, credit would be nice, but is not required.

If you like my posts like this, please consider subscribing to my Patreon; you’ll be able to suggest words, too!