Vegetables, yarn, and yarns: all of my passions all in one place.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Creation of a Colorwork Chart

In our family, there is nothing so sacred as the yearly season of U of M college football, particularly the lately dreaded Michigan/Ohio State season-ending rivalry game. Some people have Super Bowl parties, but not us. Most of us couldn't give a fig about the pros at all, but man, do we have us a wild Wolverine/Buckeye shindig. Not basketball. Not hockey. Not baseball. It's about football. Thus, the next rectangle in my brother's Michigan log cabin afghan, the Maize and Blue Stained Glass Blanket, is to be a football, and not any football. I planned a great feat of intarsia glory that intersperses the brown and the white in a realistic but decidedly stained glass look. Of course, a chart for this doesn't exist in the world already, so I had to create it myself.

To do this, I employed the tools at my disposal: a graphing calculator I purchased in eleventh grade and MS excel. This is not the first time I have gone this route to satiate my family's undying love of a football team for which not a lot of colorwork charts exist. When creating the Wolverine-in-Training helmet, which utilizes the winged football helmet design of the U of M team, I had to do a similar operation, so I am fairly confident the results will please me.

To start, I used the yarn in question to create a gage swatch in stockinette stitch. To avoid using up the blue, yellow, white, black, and brown colorways I so desperately needed to make up the blanket, I cheated and used a different colorway (called either Hot Red or Red Hot) of the same yarn brand and type that I can lying around (It's red heart super saver, so sue me). Then, I measured 4 inches horizontally and vertically and divided those measurements by four to get the stitches per inch, 4 stitches to the inch width-wise and 6 stitches to the inch length-wise. From there, I did the math to get how big one stitch for length and width, and I created an excel spreadsheet whose coordinate grid was made up of rectangles set to those measurements.

Now, I assume there is probably an easier way to do this, but if there is, I am unaware of it. Thus, I free-handed a football on that spreadsheet using brown and white coloring that was as long and as wide, stitch-wise, as I needed the rectangle on the blanket to be. This process took several days and utilized measurement comparisons from a football I sketched in the blanket blueprint I drew up in December.

By the time I finished all this craziness, I had the blanket ready to cast on the for football rectangle. I reblocked it, let it dry, and weaved in the accumulated ends. Then, I did the math for how many stitches to cast on for each rectange edge along the right-hand side of the blanket and cast them out in black. Since then, I have not touched the blanket in favor of more important, time-sensitive things, but I'm hoping all the prep work and the math pay off. I'm really hoping not to have to frog anything for this portion of the blanket.

I'll keep you posted.

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