Monday, February 23, 2009

Both Sides, Now

This is a story with a happy ending.

My little brother (who is a good six inches taller than me) once requested that I knit him an afghan.

This was about two years ago, when I had just gotten into knitting, and trained my fingers to remember knit and purl and yarn over by knitting our other brother an afghan in a month. (Four-hour stretches every night. My fingers still ache with the memory of it.) At that point I thought I could do anything, so I said yes, of course, and what kind of afghan would he like? (Big mistake.)

Nothing fancy, he said. He just wanted it to have the logo of his favorite band in the middle. botar logo

No problem, I said. I was sure I could figure it out. I was a knitting goddess. (Pride goeth before destruction.)

I reviewed the techniques I knew. Intarsia and fair isle were no good, because an afghan ought to look nice from both sides, and I didn't really want to weave in all those ends. Duplicate stitch sounded promising, but that still left the problem of converting the logo to a chart.

I decided to start from the outside and knit a few garter-stitch strips that would go around the logo part, figuring I'd have learned how to do it by the time I got there.

Two years passed.

There are three rectangular strips of garter-stitch sitting rolled up in my knitting trunk.

Occasionally, my little brother will ask, "Hey, how's that afghan coming?", but I don't think he really believes in its existence anymore.

But you may remember that I told you this is a story with a happy ending.

Wracked with guilt (hey, it took two years, but it does build up, okay?), I pulled out the little logo again and decided I was perfectly capable of turning it into a chart. botar chart thumbnail

First I knit a swatch. I am not normally a swatch knitter, but I knew this would require math. I got 3.5 st / 5 rows per inch. So I knew I'd have to stretch the logo vertically by the same ratio, or it'd look all squished when I tried to knit it. (Yay math.)

I don't have Photoshop, but I have ArcSoft PhotoStudio, which can do a lot of the same things. So I stretched the logo. Then I determined that I wanted the logo portion of the afghan to be about 3 feet square, which meant the chart had to be about 125 by 180 boxes (stitches). To get the boxes I ended up using the mosaic tile option from the Effects menu, but before I did that I had to make the logo bigger again (since the smallest tile is about 15px by 15px). So my finished chart is huge--roughly 2800 pixels high.

And then, to save myself the boredom of knitting a huge black stockinette square and then doing the green parts in duplicate stitch, (since I am a person who is encouraged by visible progress--no wonder those stupid garter-stitch rectangles are gathering dust) I decided to double-knit the whole thing. That means that every time I knit a black stitch on the right side, I purl a green stitch on the wrong side, and vice versa.

botar both sides

It's time-(and yarn-)consuming, but I think the finished product will be worth it. And if I am a very good girl and work on it a little every day, I'll have it done in time for his 21st birthday in April. Whee!

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