About my stitches based on words

I am sometimes asked how to see the words in my stitches. The answer is that they aren’t directly visible, because of how my design process works. My goal is not to make something that looks like the original word; rather, it is to make a stitch pattern I enjoy looking at.

I encode words as numbers, which is a very simplistic kind of secret code, but it already obscures the words for people who don’t deal with this kind of code regularly. Then I chart the numbers onto graph paper in several ways. Some of those methods are not unlike the layouts on computer punch cards.

By Pete Birkinshaw from Manchester, UK – Used Punchcard, CC BY 2.0, Link

Then I turn the result into a knitting chart, replacing the marked spaces with knitting chart symbols, and playing with symmetry. When I make lace, the marked spaces are turned into yarnovers, and then I work out where to place the necessary decreases.

By the time I’m done, the result doesn’t look anything like the original word. People who are familiar with my encoding process and who can look at lace knitting and figure out what the chart should look like might well be able to work backwards to the original word. In other words, it might be possible to use these methods as a code, but it’s not really very practical. I use it as the basis for most of my designs because I like the way the results work. An added benefit is that I don’t have to come up with a name for the stitch pattern!

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