Hand to machine knitting symbols1

One of the critical differences in viewing work as it progresses on the knitting machine, is that the “front” view of the fabric unless the work is removed from the needles through a variety of techniques and turned over on the needle bed, is the purl side. Early machine manufacturer punchcard book publications made an effort to help hand knitters make the transition. A chart from brother publishing knit_sym96 illustrates one such effort. Here the middle icon in the how to work column is the stitch formation one would need to achieve on the MK to get the same “look” as the HK samples. Some symbols apply to both types of knitting, some should be mirrored horizontally to make sense, and in the case of the crossing stitches at top right of the second column there is a bit of confused identity.

Over the years there has been an interesting transition from hand written stitch by stitch instructions to the introduction of symbols ranging from home grown on graph paper, to simple word processing and later software generated ones. Some international differences occurred in published works, and international agreed upon symbols for both knit and crochet eventually evolved. There are many design programs on the market now, I have linked to some in past posts. As knitters have venues for publishing their own repeats and patterns and tools have multiplied, symbols do not always necessarily have the same meaning, and stitch codes are no longer universal.

I have been wanting to find a way other than using excel to build a stitch library usable for machine knitters in an easily accessible program that  would do some of the “work” for me. I have experimented with 2 programs. One was knitbird, which I would not recommend for this purpose, the other Intwined Studio which is proving far more flexible and worth the modest investment for me. I work on MacOS10.8, the Intwined version for this OS is beta. There are some small glitches, but this is a tool worth exploring. The option is there to add one’s own symbols to the stitch library. I have begun working on a machine knitting set with icons created in a combination of other programs and Inkscape, the one suggested in the tutorial by the developer. Some charts created with Intwined may be seen in my previous post on sideways pleated skirts. Below is a chart including some MK symbols in my personal library, also using the option to color background for them in program itself rather than editing the chart image after the fact.

To download Inkscape: site. The work around to get the program to work in Mac OS10.8 may be found here.

The combination of color with symbols in published patterns for both hand knit and crochet is beginning to proliferate. I find the visual color cues help track patterns more easily, have done it in HK in the past, one such example is my chain cable experiment in my January 3rd post.

Some illustrations for lace symbols HK vs MK may be found in my post February 25, 2012 “back to lace”.

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