Resizing a pouch – adjusting the pattern

It started with the green pouch …

So it started with the green pouch, which was knitted on 000 needles with 2/18 merino wool, and each side was 33 stitches wide. The green pouch is a cute little pouch, and the other side is actually a reverse image colour wise, as you can see in the picture below where the needles are rearranged so that the eventual side seam is in the center of the picture.

In progress, you can see the colour change happening on the side seam.

So in the new blue and white pouch I had some design choices to make. For starters, I wanted to make it larger, so decided I would use larger needles – 00 rather than 000 – and I would have three pattern repeats across a side rather than two. Switching the needle size results in a slightly less dense fabric after finishing; when I knit this wool the 000 ends up being just a little tight. The 00 size is hitting a sweet spot; 0 produces a light and flowy fabric that is not ideal for pouches. (So now I have to train Sammie to stop eating the pink knitting needles, those being the size 00 ones.)

So I was just going to grab the previous pattern and insert an extra flower. Easy. The original pattern is 33 stitches wide – 2 times 16 and a 1 stitche repeat on the edge, so just add another 16 stitches making each side 49 stitches wide.

It wasn’t until I’d knitting past the row of 6 florets on the top that I grabbed the graphed pattern and realized my mistake. In the original pattern the flowers are not in the middle of each half of the pouch, but are a little closer to the center. Adding another flower means adding 13 stitches, not 16. But I was already half an inch into the pouch, which means I’d been knitting for well over an hour. Time to pull out the inkscape again and fix the problem.

The new and improved flowers pattern

So this pattern looks a little odd because of the dots on the left side; that’s the 49th stitch which didn’t fit on the graph but is there. (Since someone asked, as always, the pattern is knitted from the bottom up, which is a habit I developed while tablet weaving. It doesn’t matter much either way, but knitting it top down results in the little crosses not looking like fleur de lys.) The green line, by the way, is the dividing line between two of the four needles holding stitches. I knit these using 5 double pointed needles, so each side of the pouch is 2 needles wide.

Variations on a Theme of Grecian Keys

Blathering a bit about designing and iterating a design.

So musing some more about pattern design, and specifically designing for small pouches. I wanted to do something with a greek key design so I started with a simple pattern. (Okay, I was inspired by the thought of thorny rose stems, but then got carried away … It happens) And as you can see below, this is how I usually expand and iterate patterns until I get things I like.

First attempt at Greek Keys

Problem was, as I started knitting it, that the space between the rows was one stitch too large, resulting in an uneven pattern, as you can see below.

So I fiddled some more, bringing the stripes closer together, and then for a final attempt I tried to super impose the stripes, resulting in the following two patterns. Now, of course, I have more pouches to knit, to see which looks best.

Fixing the spacing on the bands of the Greek Keys

Food for Thought or Why So Many Pouches

This is a food for thought post for people who wonder why I recommend obsessively making many small things when learning a new string related skill.

It all started with a comment that reminded me of the pottery school story.

Students in a pottery school were graded one of two ways. One group was graded on how many pots they finished, by weight, and the other group was graded on the best pot they produced.

To many people’s surprise, the first group produced, on average, much better pots.

I’m seeing a similar metric play out in my tiny knitting. I’m just knitting little pouches. Each is small enough that I *will* finish it, even if its imperfect. Some mistakes are being repeatedly, until I eventually cut that out. Others are design features.

Even when I can’t visually spot the improvement, I can *feel* it. The fingers move more easily, the yarn tangles less, there is less need for coffee …

And there’s a similar effect in pattern designing. As I’m designing more little patterns, and then knitting them, I’m getting a better feel for how the knitting will look. I’m currently on my 19th or 20th pouch, I think. (I stopped counting, mostly.)

The patterns I’m knitting are all 2-stranded, so usually 2 colours at a time. That means the pattern graphs are simple grids. Usually 32 stitches (or 2 needles) wide, because when I’m making tiny pouches, they’re usually 74 stitches in the round. (I’m a computer geek: 8 stitches = 1 byte, so these are 8 byte pouches.)

Knitting in Two Colours

So lately I’ve been on a kick knitting little pouches in 2 colours. The pouches are usually 64 stitches in the round, knitted with 5 needles, so each needle (except the active one) has 16 stitches on it. They’re small enough that they knit up quickly and I can play with patterns. The last few pouches, I’ve been playing with interlaced patterns. These pouches are all knitted with 2/18 merino wool, on size 0 needles and are large enough to hold some coins, or a medallion, or some such.

Based on medieval (but much larger) pouches, they’re knitted top down, with holes near the top edge for the eventual drawstring, and finished on the bottom with a 3 needle bindoff. Basically, transfer the stitches onto 2 needles in parallel, and then on each stitch go through a stitch from each needle together. This sounds more awkward than it should.

While I think about it, the holes are made by knitting together, on each of the four needles, stitches 3&4, 5&6, 11&12, and 13&14. Then on the next row after the 3rd and 9th stitches, add 2 stitches back in using yarnovers.

So the red and grey was my first attempt at interlacing. While technically interlaced, the diagonal bars were two close together so you can’t really see what’s going on.

After that I started playing with the magenta, which worked better. What you can’t see in these pouches of course is the crossing point at one edge where everything looks just a little wonky because you’re knitting in the round.

Which brought me to the current attempt in green and vanilla, where the two sides of the pouch are mirror images. That way the pattern extends exactly to the edge, but no further.

Pattern for Interweaving – 32 stitches wide

The pattern here is for one side of the pouch – 2 needles wide. The light green line marks the boundary between the two needles.