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Knitwear Design Software
A while back, like a couple of years ago, I purchased the Knitwear Knitting, Crochet and Machine Knitting Design software, thinking that I would use it to create patterns for crocheted garments. The software is designed primarily for knitting, but you are supposed to be able to use it for crocheted garments as well. I wanted to create a sleeveless top using the Lily Sugar ‘n Cream cotton I bought on sale.
The software lets you select a style of sweater (e.g., cardigan, pullover), the size (from a list of standard sizes, or you can input custom sizes), and the type of sleeve, collar and hem you want. Once you have selected your stitch and input your gauge, the software spits out a pattern that you can follow to create the garment. It also gives you an approximate amount of yarn that the pattern will require. So you basically have everything you need to design your own stuff.
The “Elmore” Stitch
I started this project right after I finished the Spiderweb Cardigan, during the creation of which I learned about the “Elmore” method of crocheting, aka extended single, double, or whatever crochet. So I used an extended double crochet as the stitch pattern for this top because the swatch I made from it appeared to create a fabric that draped a little better than the regular double crochet. The extended stitch appears to be a little less thick than the regular double crochet stitch.
I searched and searched for some information on the Elmore Method of crocheting. I found a few references but not much. The one book I found on Amazon is used and for sale for $180, so his works are out of print. I believe William Elmore, the creator of this method, passed a way a while back. I talk a little about the extended stitches in my post on the Spiderweb cardigan right below this one.
Knitwear Design Software Creates Detailed Pattern “Directions”
The pattern instructions are not the kind of row-by-row, stitch-by-stitch instructions found in the commercial patterns we’re used to working from. But you have more than enough detail to create the garment. I found I had to make some adjustments because my original size calculations were off. But I could make these modifications right on the printed pattern as I crocheted. If I ever decide to publish the pattern, I have the original pattern plus the modifications on paper from which to create a commercial pattern.
I Added A “Stitch Guide” Border
The border was not a part of the pattern that the software produced. After I finished the bodice, I went through my collection of stitch guides and found the pattern for the border.
In selecting a stitch pattern, I had to make sure that the number of stitches around the bottom hem matched the stitch “multiple” that the pattern stitch called for. So I worked the bodice from the bottom up and the border from the bottom hem down. I could probably start from the border and work up, too.
Pattern Grading Still Eludes Me
The one thing I haven’t learned yet is how to make adjustments for the different sizes (i.e., small, medium, large, etc.) that commercial patterns calll for. Hmmm … I guess I could use the software to create patterns for the other sizes and then combine everything into one commercial pattern. I think I’ll leave that for another day.
I hope that all made sense. I like the final result with the only exception being that the cotton yarn I used is too thick. Maybe I’ll create another top in a lighter weight cotton.
Love that bird of paradise!
Update 7-4-11: Lost the original photo of this flower that was in my yard, so I found a beautiful substitute (thanks Stephen Edgar!).