- March 30, 2015
After a few weeks of maintenance work, I’m finally able to take this site live again. I apologize it’s taken this long, but quite a bit of work was needed.
The first version of this site went live back in 2010. At that time, I used the same programmers who had designed the sites for Quince & Co and Brooklyn Tweed (Pam, Jared and I are friends). It was based on zencart, a php based online store system. Out of the box, zencart isn’t very attractive but the programmers took the designs I had drawn up in Illustrator and coded the site so that static html pages would correspond aesthetically to zencart pages. The blog could not fit into this aesthetic, and existed alongside the site.
Zencart worked, but wasn’t an ideal solution. The user interface on the administrative level was dated, and reports were clumsy to access. Worse were URLs given for each product – rather than have something along the lines of ‘stdenisyarns.com/shop/yarn/sport’, adresses were formulated with numbers, IDs and what have not. There are plugins available to remedy the situation and I tried one… which worked, after quite a bit of work. I broke it almost immediately when, instead of backing up my work, restored my old backup of the site. I can’t begin to tell you how stupid I felt. It did work, so I left it alone. Until it didn’t.
One day, all the pattern downloads broke. For some reason, the server would interrupt the downloads rendering the files incomplete. This behavior could have been caused by a number of reasons, and only trial and error would be able to root out the cause. But the first thing to do was to upgrade zencart to the latest version – which was going to be a walk in the park with my heavily modified version. I decided to find a new system.
The new store management system is in place (woocommerce, if you’re curious about such things). Everything is now consolidated: every page, every post and every product are in wordpress. For those who created accounts in the past, all the information you had entered in your old account still exists with the exception of your passwords. For security reasons, it is impossible to migrate passwords to a new site so you will need to create new passwords if you previously had an account. Credit card numbers were never stored on the site nor will they ever be.
That’s it for today. I am mulling over sharing a more personal post which would explain my sporadic presence here over the past couple of years. We’ll see.
- January 30, 2015
As I’ve mentioned before, I like to design knitwear by charting the main pattern pieces. Doing so allows me to plan stitch pattern placement exactly and anticipate how shaping will affect various elements. For years, I used Garment Designer and Stitch Painter to generate these charts (and wrote about it briefly).
In the recent past, however, both GD and SP were updated to use dongles. I won’t be the first or the last to express my dislike of dongles, but I lived with it nevertheless. However, the recent Mac Os 10.10 made both applications completely inoperable. It has been a few months now since I upgraded to Yosemite, and the situation remains the same.
So, since last fall, my little 2007 Macbook had to be dusted off and brought back into service. It works, but I find it less than ideal to work on.
Which brings me back to Illustrator, which is used far and wide to create schematics and stitch pattern charts such as the one above. Of course, it can most certainly be used to create full garment charts. It’s easy enough to calculate how many stitches and rows are needed and create a grid accordingly. But, as I wrote in the post linked above, my method entailed drafting the pattern shapes such as one would for a sewing pattern and exporting into Stitch Painter. It’s a very quick and precise method and there is virtually no guesswork involved. I started to wonder if a similar process could be devised using Illustrator.
As you’ve probably guessed already, it can.
Begin by drawing your pattern pieces. If you aren’t familiar with patternmaking, that’s ok – these are essentially schematics, drawn actual size. If you are interested in learning to use Illustrator for patternmaking, I recommend Lauren Dahl’s excellent course Creating PDF Patterns. But it isn’t necessary if only a basic pattern is needed.
Once the pieces have been drawn, use a colourful fill without a stroke.
With the piece selected, go to Object>Rasterize. Also make a note of your gauge, and the highest and widest measurements of the piece. These last measurements can be seen in the upper right hand corner next to ‘W’ and ‘H’.
The Rasterizer option box will come up. Choose the lowest resolution and a white background.
With the piece still selected, go to Object>Create Object Mosaic.
Each tile will represent a stitch; in order to determine how many stitches to cast on, multiply the widest measurement of your piece by your stitch gauge per inch and round to the closest number. Likewise, multiply the highest measurement of your piece by your row gauge. For the example above, I am using a gauge of 5 stitches and 7 rows per inch (50.0696 x 188.23 rounded down to 50 x 188). These numbers belong in the ‘Number of Tiles’ section.
Next, decide how large the tiles ought to be. The symbols I use are all based on a single cell size of 18 points wide by 12 points high, so I’ve multiplied 50 x 18 to arrive at a result of 900 points.
As for the height, 188 x 12 results in 2256 points. Please note that as my document preferences are in inches, I need to specify ‘pt’ when typing in the desired measurement. It will switch back to the default measurement once the measurement has been entered.
After a little while, your piece will be comprised of many rectangles. Go to Object>Ungroup.
The result will be close to what is needed, but will need to be cleaned up. I find it easier to delete the empty rectangles, but don’t delete them using the selection tool. That takes too long. Yes, I’m impatient.
Instead, double click on the magic Wand tool. Check the fill option and set the tolerance to zero.
Using the Magic Wand, click on any white rectangles to select all the white rectangles and delete them.
At this point, only the coloured rectangles remain. It has to be cleaned up further to make it knitter friendly by placing the increases and decreases on right side rows, but the general shape is quite close.
Here it is, mostly clean. Mostly, because I’ve made an error on the second armhole decrease.
One of the advantages of this method is that Illustrator can be configured to count stitches and rows. To enable it, go to Window>Document Info. Under the fly-out menu on the upper right hand side, make sure ‘Object’ is selected. Select a single row or column to see how many stitches are present (under ‘Paths’). Note that it must be a single row or column otherwise Illustrator will count everything.
Another advantage is how easy it is to create a schematic alongside the chart. The original pattern pieces could be used, but wouldn’t be as precise as the method that follows – the pattern had to be simplified to adhere to knitter logic, and this results in some changes to the original shape. Using the pen tool and a new layer, trace the pattern piece.
When the tile measurement was set, the overall dimension of the piece changed, as can be seen next to ‘W’ and ‘H’.
Correct the measurement next to ‘W’ and ‘H’ before proceeding with the schematic.
Draw horizontal and vertical lines wherever a measurement is needed. The shoulder width above is 4.1659, will will be rounded up to 4 1/4″.
I’ve used Illustrator for this tutorial, but there is probably open source software available which can be used similarly. If you or someone you know is familiar with other types of vector software and know how it can be used, please let us know in the comments. Thank you!
- September 10, 2014
© Jared Flood | Brooklyn Tweed
Yesterday was launch day at Brooklyn Tweed. Launch day is always very exciting but let’s face it – it is all the more exciting because we’re talking about the fall collection and fall is to knitters what christmas is to children. Whenever we work on a Brooklyn Tweed collection, we are given themes and mood boards ahead of time of our design team meeting. For fall, our mandate was to create a collection inspired by fishermen’s sweaters.
Jared, who is easily the best boss I’ve ever had, isn’t particularly strict with us (the team consists of Jared, Michele, Julie and I). While we may be given a certain departure point as a guide, we are free to interpret our theme as we fit and to remain true to our own aesthetics.
With that in mind, I began to work on my concepts. As usual, I began by sketching overall shapes – I occasionally begin with a stitch pattern, but rarely. I am a seamstress at heart and usually shop for fabric after choosing the kind of garment I’ll make next.
© Jared Flood | Brooklyn Tweed
It had been a while since I had designed a circular yoke. They’re a favourite of mine as they allow for quite an oversized fit while remaining tidy around the shoulders. The sample shown above has 10 1/2″ of positive ease on the model but if less ease is desired, choose to knit a smaller size in relation to your own bust measurement. Zenith‘s finished circumference at bust is 36½ (40, 43½, 47, 50¾, 54¼)”, but it should be noted that the yoke chart is longer for the larger sizes in order to keep the ratio correct.
In closing, I’d like to add a big shout out to Wannietta for knitting the sample. Honestly, she has knit so many of my samples over the years – the first was Shimmer Aran, way back in 2003 – that she deserves her own blog post. I promise it won’t take two years
- July 6, 2014
Je suis en train de traduire ce site mais veuillez patienter, s’il vous plait – c’est long… Il y a probablement des centaines de mots cachés à travers le site (voir plus haut “By” Veronik, par exemple) et en plus, j’ai l’intention de changer de plate-forme pour la boutique. Vu que j’ai aussi d’autres choses à faire, ça prend le temps que ça prend…
Faites moi signe si vous attendez le site en Français – merci!
- September 5, 2012
Several snippets of news today – and well there should be, after so many months of silence…
Some time ago, I began to reconsider having a yarn line; for a variety of reasons, it was decided that it was time to let it go. So, as of today, the process of liquidating the yarn in stock has begun. Everything but the magazines, patterns and Briggs & Little yarn is 30% off the original price – the magazines are 50% off. Please note that all orders will ship from Canada, that supplies are limited and that sale prices cannot be applied retroactively. So, stock up!
In other news, I should add that the title of this post is not an analogy and that I am indeed back in school full time. Earlier this year, I enrolled in beauty school with the goal of becoming a hairdresser. Everything is working out great on that front, and I have been immersed in the world of hair for a little over 3 months. It’s about to get even more exciting later this month as we begin to learn the craft of hair colour…
With these announcements, some of you may wonder what lies next for me within the knitting world – I’ve wondered about this myself. However, a friend (pictured above – recognize him?) asked if I would be interested in joining his in house knitwear design team. Our first collection is finally unveiled this morning, which means I no longer have to keep it a secret. You can see the look book here…