I’m still noodling on the hoodie project. Target child is waffling about her requirements. I’d rather wait until she settles into firm conviction before casting on. Some questions came in after Friday’s post:

Why start with Rogue instead of designing your own from scratch?

First, I really admire this particular pattern, its proportions and the way the cables are so cleverly used. Since it fits so closely with the original set of requirements and/or mods to it would not be difficult, why not start out with it? Cardigan-ization isn’t tough, nor would be knitting a smaller size to compensate for gauge differences. As for the rest – the texture pattern and saddle shoulders with a cable down the center of the arms, as Target Child looks over the photos of other people’s finished Rogues, she’s becoming less attached to those concepts.

You know you can use knitting design software to help.

Yup. I know that. I’ve got Sweater Wizard and the older Cochenille product. Hated the latter. I didn’t mind the non-standard format of the directions, better suited for knitting machines than for hand knitters, but I was totally turned off by the lack of technical insight provided by customer support. The thing wasn’t cheap, and I could never get it to run properly. Only one or two of the supplied templates produced any sort of output, and even they were unable to produce more than one or two of the available sizes. “Support” claimed that it was a problem unique to my set-up and there was nothing they or I could do about it aside from waiting for the next upgrade and seeing if that worked any better. Since we’ve got an average of six or seven working computers in this house at any one time (all with different processor/opsys/video card combos), and I tried the software on all of them and turned up exactly the same bugs, I rather doubted that one unique set-up was the problem.

Rather than throwing good money after bad, I decided not to spend close to $100 to upgrade Cochenille (with no guarantee that the new version would work any better. I switched over to Sweater Wizard. It’s got far fewer design templates and isn’t a full-size sloper drafting program, but what it has actually works, and is quite easy to use both during the design and knit-from phases. Which is refreshing compared to my previous experience. My only criticisms of the product have to do with personal preference and fit. I find the standard fit a bit tight for my taste, so I always add extra ease (which is verysimple to do).

My real desire though is to be able to produce the full-featured graphs of actual garment pieces, showing color or texture pattern placement like the ones in Rowan magazines. So far no knitting pattern design tools come close to that degree of integrated pattern shaping/motif placement. Yes, there are export features that allow customization of garment shapes for colorwork placement, but no total pattern maker that lets you tinker with all parameters in one interactive console. (If you gotta dream, dream big. [grin])

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

Although progress is slowly burbling along on the hoodie, there wasn’t enough to keep my fingers happy over the weekend. So I started a pair of quickie socks. Standard Figure-8 toe toe-ups with short-row heels. I’m using Lana Grossa Melienweit Fantasy, on US #00s, at the (for me) relatively large gauge of 9spi (68 stitches around). Ankle pattern is an impromptu feather and fan variant:

Here’s the graph for the ultra-simple six-row feather and fan variant used on the ankle. It’s 17 stitches wide and six rows long. I’m working my socks on five needles (four in the sock, one to knit with). Because each needle has 17 stitches on it, this graph is worked once per needle:

More info on knitting socks of this type, including basic how-tos for both the Figure-8 toe and short-rowed heel can be found in any of the sock patterns on wiseNeedle.

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