Sunday, February 24, 2008

A fun way to discover color

I haven't been knitting all that much lately because of my hands. And while my hands have gotten better and they no longer hurt me throughout my work day, I'm still taking it easy on the knitting front. I am using the quilting as a necessary diversion to try and give my poor hands (though its really mostly my right hand) time to heal properly and not push it. Because like most office employees now a days, the computer work will not be stopping any time soon.

However, I did discover a loop hole to the knitting issue...Continental Knitting. Since it doesn't stress my right hand, it doesn't seem to be a compounding factor to the computer stress the same way that English Knitting is. (Basically my poor right pointer finger is getting its arse kicked between throwing the yarn and mouse work.) Since I got super inspired to knit Aftur, I knew there would be some Continental Knitting in my future (I'm a two handed colorwork knitter). Its been since the Deep V Argyle Vest that I've knit with my left hand, so I figured the body and sleeves to Aftur might serve as the perfect practice, plus allow me to continue to knit while my right hand is on the mend.

Aftur WIP

I've already finished the body of the sweater since I took this photo and started working on the first sleeve. And since this is pretty much my only knitting project right now, it's seeing a lot of progress.

As you may know, I am using the yarn from the Weekend Getaway Satchel kit for my Aftur, so this has posed an interesting challenge to picking out my new colors. Here is what I have to work with, plus charcoal gray:

Lite Lopi - Multicolors

As you can see, they aren't even close to those in the original. I checked out Ravelry to see what others had done (Ravelry link) and besides Lolly's beautiful example, it looks like most people who deviated from the original ended up going with a cool pallet. This wasn't really an option for me given that the point of this sweater was to use up the yarn from the satchel kit and needed go with the Crimson yarn I am using for the body and sleeves.

I am also a planner and while I know it is possible to choose the colors as you go, I just felt that would be limiting me. What I wanted was a way to try them out ahead of time to see what might work the best and not be afraid to try crazy combinations. Marnie had posted a great Excel tutorial on how to do this very thing and I made plans to build up the Aftur chart in Excel using her guidance. However, in talking to B about what I was going to do, he offered up his Illustrator services to accomplish the same thing. And while I always enjoy learning something new, sometimes speed wins in the end.

Computer Work

In about an hour (he knows all the short cuts :-), we had the chart built and the final colors chosen. It was a great experience to make computer versions of the yarn colors and to move them around into different places to see how they changed the entire look of the sweater. Once the final configuration was selected, he also extended the chart and removed the lines so that we could see what it would look like over several repeats. So cool! I do plan to do this again myself so that I can learn the process and not have to rely on him - even if it does take ages longer.

In the end, I have a combination of colors I never really expected and I am so happy with. I can't wait to see it come together in fiber! I figure I better harness this excitement to get me through the sleeves, since they are my least favorite part of sweater knitting and the only thing separating me from all that color!


knitzalot said...

Very cool! Can you show me how to do that sometime?

Kris said...

Have you tried using your left hand to use your mouse? I've found it's a good way to distribute the usage, so normally both wrists hate me or none at all. It takes some practice, but it's worth it.

Julia (MindofWinter) said...

I'm glad that you are taking it easy on your hand - that can get out of control really quickly so it's good to take it seriously! I'm also glad that B helped you with the chart - less computer time for you! The mock-up looks great. I think the sweater is going to be awesome and the process sounds so fun! Stay well! (Oh, and I second left-handed mousing - we knitters have to get creative!)

cora said...

I can't wait to see the final selection and maybe I can buy some of your rejects for my own future Aftur. I'm becoming increasingly enamored of that sweater.

Melissa said...

Isn't Excel great? I love mocking up colorwork without having to swatch a million swatches.

Tara said...

There is another tool that I've used to see how colors work together -

You can create themes and then save and share them. It's obviously more limited than Illustrator, but much faster.

Lolly said...

i love that you used the computer to figure it out! i totally "winged" mine and was happy with the results, but the chances of that happening again are slim. i think it will be smashing in the red as the MC and the other colors you have chosen. it is a great pattern!! i am so excited that you are making it!

Jennifer said...

I can't wait to see the color combo/placement that you settled on!

Marnie said...

Well, I love doing designish stuff in Illustrator, so I can't fault you guys for going that route :) hehe

I think it looks great.

Anonymous said...

Fun! I can't wait to see how this all comes together!