E is for ... Ease Ease is the amount of…
There are a few resources which anyone approaching pattern adaptation will find essential – patience and a vat of Red Bull are just two (other energy drinks are available). Another one is knitter’s graph paper.
This is a fantastic resource for working out the shaping and sizing of your original pattern: you can translate the pattern instructions row by row onto your graph paper and create an actual size version of the pattern. Similarly, you can re-create your modified version by pinpointing your own measurements onto the paper and working out the shaping increases and decreases. As well as being useful for plotting fair isles and colourwork, knitter’s graph paper is particularly helpful when it comes to armhole and sleeve cap shaping, a sanity check to make sure that your sleeve will actually fit into your armhole (always useful).
Normal graph paper just won’t cut it when it comes to knitting – each square is supposed to represent a stitch, but a stitch is generally wider than it is high so you’ll need to work out the correct dimensions. There are many tutorials out there for how to create your own, but there’s no harm in a bit of repetition where this is concerned … as ever, it all begins with the tension/gauge swatch …
Knitter’s graph paper can be created using spreadsheet software (there are freeware versions out there as well as the better known ones – I use Neo Office) – each cell will be the equivalent of one stitch, so you’ll need to make sure it’s the right height and width, as follows:
- As an example we’ll use a gauge/tension swatch of 7sts/10 rows per inch (2.5cm).
- It’s easier to work using centimetres – first calculate your gauge/tension over 10cms: 28 sts / 40 rows = 10cm
- To calculate the height of your cell (row height) divide 10 by your row gauge: 10 ÷ 40 = 0.25
- To calculate the width of your cell (stitch width) divide 10 by your stitch gauge: 10 ÷ 28 = 0.35
- Open your spreadsheet software – in the far left hand corner of the spreadsheet (above the numbered rows, alongside the lettered columns), you’ll see a blank rectangle – click on this to highlight the whole spreadsheet.
- From the top menu, click on Format > Row > Height. Adjust to 0.25
- Next, click on Format > Column > Width. Adjust to 0.35
- Give your cells a border, select your print range, and off you go!
The formatting menu location may vary in different applications, but you should be able to find it pretty easily. If you want to create a full-scale pattern of your document, cellotape the pages together at the back, making sure you match up the grid.
Et voila, you can now create your own lifesize model. Just try not to spill your Red Bull over it eh?