Laying out the numbers on a rectangular grid: method 4
This is the next part of my rewrite of my instructions for turning words into knitting charts (or charts for other crafts). Once the letters have been turned into numbers, they need to be charted on a grid. I already posted three ways of making rectangular grids with the numbers; this is the fourth way.
This is the method I tend to use most often for my lace stitch patterns, though it varies from word to word.
Where methods 1-3 for laying out numbers on a grid are all pretty similar—like graphing numbers using (X,Y) coordinates—method 4 is quite different. I think of it as being more like writing, though the direction I work in for placing the marks on the chart is the same as if I were knitting. This direction doesn’t really matter, though I prefer to be consistent in the beginning stages at least.
Where methods 1-3 for laying out numbers on a grid are all pretty similar—like graphing numbers using (X,Y) coordinates—method 4 is quite different. I think of it as being more like a second level of encoding. If peace encoded with the telephone keypad is 73223, the next step is to encode each digit with a set of mixed black and white squares, where the number of white squares is the same as the number indicated by a given digit.
Happily, we have black and white squares in emoji that are great for this purpose.
Here is the list of encodings:
If I replace each digit of 73223 with its corresponding set of squares, I get this word made of emoji characters:
The next step is to make this into a series of possible code grids by adding line breaks. I start by putting breaks after the fourth square (there’s no reason it couldn’t be two or three), and then for each following code grid I increase the size of the line by one.
I particularly like this aspect of Method 4 because it gives me a wide range of possible charts and makes it more likely that I can find an attractive layout for a given word.
There’s some space left at the end of the last line that I will fill in with white squares like this:
Since there is no further black square after the extra white squares, the knowledgeable knitting code chart reader will know not to count those squares as part of the code.
I usually lay out all the rows in Method 4 from left to right, as if I were writing. There is an alternate version that could be used as if knitting flat, where alternate rows are laid out from right to left.
This is the six column wide chart with the alternate rows in the opposite direction:
In Sequence Knitting, stitch patterns that alternate direction like this are called serpentine (because they wind back and forth). Some old manuscripts were written this way (with the letters facing the opposite direction from what we’re used to!); this writing style is called boustrophedon. Feel free to try it out; I have never used it for my stitch patterns as of this writing.
See the very bottom of the page for an explanation of the metaphor behind this method, otherwise there are two general options at this point: first, work with the grid as it is, and second, play with the possible symmetries.
There are a couple of metaphors for how Method 4 works.
The one that came to mind when I created it is that the the marks on the grid are like the spaces between written words: they help us know where one word stops and the next begins. There is this difference: instead of marking words on the grid, I’m marking the spaces between numbers. Each number is represented by a line of white squares equal to that number, with a black square following to show where the count ends.
My friend Katherine came up with the second metaphor, obvious in retrospect: the black squares are like the stitch markers in knitting. Count a certain number of stitches and then place a stitch marker, or count a certain number of white squares and then place a black one.
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