August 18, 2007

How to modify stitch patterns for your socks

I think that I've lost my sock momentum. I just frogged yet another pair of socks. Well, not whole socks, but the toe and a few pattern repeats. That takes the sock attempts that have been frogged to 4. Ugh. I have started another one. This time, I flipped through my Barbara Walker Treasuries and picked out a few stitch patterns. We'll see if any of those look good on a pair of socks.

I've had a few questions asking me how I modified the Baby Fern pattern in socks #18 and #19. To answer how I modified the pattern, I tackled formatting in excel and drew up a few charts. Please note that these were not taken from any book. I just started putting increases and decreases in a "v" type pattern that usually looks good on socks. I don't know if they would even look good on a pair of socks, but feel free to try it out.

Okay, lets say we have the stitch pattern below. It's only 10 stitches wide. That's great if we want to knit a sock that is 60 or 80 stitches around. For me, I could knit a 60 stitch sock with sport weight yarn and 2.25mm needles. The symbol in the center of the chart is a centered double decrease or slip two together, knit one, pass the two slipped stitches over.

I have added 2 rows and two columns in the chart below to the original stitch pattern. Now this makes it a 12 stitch repeat. This would be good if you want to knit a 72 stitch sock. For me, I could knit this with fingering weight yarn and 2mm needles.

But let's say that I want to knit a sock that's 64 stitches around. I can add 6 rows and 6 columns to the original stitch pattern. This one would make the increases and decreases more exaggerated and will most likely make a zigzag with self striping yarn.

If you want to see another stitch pattern that has been altered, click the pictures below. I used the same method of adding rows and columns as the example shown above. The symbols are knit two together on the right of the yarn overs and slip-slip-knit on the left.

10 stitch repeat

12 stitch repeat

16 stitch repeat

I knew that I missed posting something important. I used the Aire River Design Knitting Font to create these charts. I've barely used Excel, but I did figure out how to configure my cells to a decent size. There's probably an easier way, but I haven't found it yet. ;-) Here are the steps to get the cells formatted like those above.
  1. Highlight many, many cells. Many more than you think you need.
  2. Go to Format -> Cells. From that menu, pick the knitting font, bold, and size 14 font.
  3. Go to Format -> Row -> Height and enter 12.
  4. Go to Format -> Column -> Width and enter 3.
  5. Use the helpful gif that comes with the font to find the ones you need.
  6. After charting out the stitch pattern, highlight it, and pick the little box that's to the left of the paint bucket. I picked the one that outlines the whole selection.
I hope this helps. I've never used Excel for anything before. Ours is an old version, so if you have newer software, things might be found in different places.


Anonymous said...

Forgive me if you've already addressed this on your blog somewhere, but can you give more details on how you use Excel for charts? How do you get the squares all the same size? Where do you get the symbols?

I've sort of learned Excel as I go for work and there are great gaps in my knowledge. I'd really like to be able to chart things, though, especially to change sock patterns.

Jen said...

Thanks for the tutorial! :)

Anonymous said...

Great tutorial.

And I love all your socks! Would you please make patterns for sale. :-)

Anonymous said...

Anyone should be able to learn how to use a package by using the Help button. Getting all the squares the same size should come under Formatting in Excel (or any other spreadsheet package) or search Help using Format columns/rows.