Inge Sandholt

Fool's gold featured by Patternfish!Designs

Posted by Inge Sandholt Wed, April 18, 2012 21:10:15

We went to Toronto for Easter, to visit family and old friends. Coming back, I found out that my design, Fool's Gold Beret had been featured in the April number of Patternfish' newsletter. It made me very proud. On top of that, the issue was all about Canadian designers - except from a section with international section where my hat was mentioned. I thought it was such a funny coincidence.

I think the design deserves to be put on display, but I am convinced that my two beautiful models, Katharina and Brithe were what made the difference! Judge for yourself.

Sock blockersKnit

Posted by Inge Sandholt Mon, April 16, 2012 15:35:04

Last week I visited Annie & Company in the search for sock blockers to accomodate my steadily increasing number of hand knit socks. Whereas I as always were very impressed by the amount of nice wool they have in stock, the only sock blockers they had left, were in size large. At the same time, I think it is a lot of money to invest in a plastic or metal frame, so I decided to make a low tech version myself. Here is how I did:

I found a template on CyberSeams, printed it and cut out the smallest - this is for Madeline's socks, she is turning 1 in a week. Transferred the outline to cardboard, cut out the sock blockers and I was almost done. To prevent the cardboard to dissolve, I wrapped plastic film around them, very easy-peasy. I am now the happy owner of a pair of baby sock blockers!

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They may not be the prettiest sock blockers in the world, but they block the prettiest socks, for a pretty baby, AND they are made from what most people have handy when they are in the need for sock blockers. And that happen very often, at least for this knitter. Eventually, I will consider making foam versions, that will work well for me. At some point I may even consider buying a pair from a fellow knitter I talked with on Facebook. Her husband have plans to make them for sale which I think is a very nice idea.

Here is a preview of the pretty sock - more about that later!

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Interactive pdf patternsDesigns

Posted by Inge Sandholt Wed, April 11, 2012 15:15:42

So maybe I should write a little about how I created the interactive pdf files - described in more detail here. Not only are the files interactive, calculations are also performed based on user input. I didn't invent anything my self, but I would love to share the links and sources I used, and provide a few tips on how it worked for me if others could find it useful.

A while back, I wrote an online "knit estimator" in html with JavaScript with the above mentioned functionality, and made it available on my web page. To judge from the traffic on the page, a few people actually used it. The calculations and the whole layout were fairly simple, but I still found it a bit intimidating to get started, and make all the boxes and so on from scratch. The layout was also not really the way I wanted it to be. At the same time, I had been using Adobe Acrobat Pro to make pdf forms for students to sign up for courses. The forms could be submitted directly from the pdf document to an online database or via e-mail. Over the top, but very clever and fun to make.

So the next step was to combine it all in an interactive pdf file instead - without the database access though, which is not necessary. The user fills in relevant values, like for instance gauge, and by pressing a button in the document, calculations are performed and written in the document as output. It can all be done offline, the resulting pdf is a stand-alone-application.

As I wrote in a previous post, Scribus - a very intuitive desktop publishing program - did the job for me. It is free, and has loads of documentation. Best of all, it supports Java Script. I went directly for the interactive pdf part - and more or less copied what I needed from the manual, here, look in particular for pdf forms and pdf and Java Script. The manual has very easy to follow instructions on how to make forms and include Java Script. I just copied from the examples and made the changes needed to include the functionality I wanted. The layout and placement of pdf boxes are all interactive in Scribus, point and click more or less, and no scripting is necessary for that part. What I have spend most time on, is the error check, and programming exceptions - for instance, to account for the situation where the form has not been filled in correctly.

To get started with JavaScripting, I suggest you google "getting started with Java Script". There is so much information - and noise - out there. You barely have to scratch the surface of JavaScript in order to make nice pdf applications.

A pdf reader (Adobe Acrobat, for instance) and Java Runtime Environment is needed for the pdf's to be useful, but most computers have both installed already. With Adobe Acrobat Pro, the files with content can be saved for future use, but with Acrobat Reader, the files will have to be printed to keep the numbers. Personally, I print to a pdf printer, which I think is fairly standard, if I would like to keep the output. And there is always paper, hardcopies are sometimes nice to have. The interactive pdf's does NOT work with Preview on MAC (the rudimentary pdf reader by Apple) but works fine with Adobe Acrobat on a MAC.

Pdf knitting toolsDesigns

Posted by Inge Sandholt Sat, March 24, 2012 13:23:53

I have been working on my interactive pdf files and now - finally - I have the first generation finished. They are not really patterns, rather tools to make simple estimations related to knitting. The bias edge estimator is finished, and it has been followed by a gauge change estimator, and a function that calculates # of stitches per inch or centimeters. All tools work in US or Metric units.

I have had the bias edge tool tested with various versions of Windows and pdf-readers. Found testers on Ravelry to help me out, and apart for allowing me to have the files tested on various computers, the testers provided me with useful feedback and suggestions. I love Ravelry.

To be honest, I am very proud of the tools. The doubt that I had about the usefulness - I mean, what the tools does is in fact just back of the envelope calculations - has vanished after the feedback from the testers.

Next step is to integrate the idea into real patterns. I have however not found out about a suitable layout. There are more options, for instance, should the pdf result in what look like a normal pattern, easy to read and print, or would tables be a more suitable output form?

Shawls and Mindless KnittingDesigns

Posted by Inge Sandholt Sat, March 17, 2012 19:39:35

Today, the human knitting machine went to Fort Tryron Park to get some serious knitting done in the nice weather. I have been longing for knitting full speed, and being able to let my mind go in all directions it would want too. Shawls are perfect for that.

I found some really nice yarn at Yarntopia recently, Ultra Merino from ArtYarns. The colors were so beautiful, and I thought they would make up a wonderful baby cardi. Well, the demand for mindless knitting took over, and instead, the skeins are being transformed into a lovely shawl with large blocks of color. The shaping is a bit unusual, at least for a conservative knitter like me, but very promising so far. I have used my interactive knit estimator to guide me in the design, do I have to say, it is such a wonderful tool smiley

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The garter sections give an interesting contrast to the center triangle of the shawl. I have been experimenting with short rows, ended up using the most simple form - short rows in garter st are so easy and the look is perfect. I am half way through - stay tuned!

Interactive patternsDesigns

Posted by Inge Sandholt Wed, March 07, 2012 11:15:41

I have for a while tried to look into how to create interactive patterns. I do most of my grading in spreadsheets and thought why not make the functionality available to knitters of my designs?

My ultimate idea was to allow knitters to input for instance gauge and body measurements and - voila, a personalized sweater pattern would pop up! So I have tried out several online spreadsheet solutions, but the few that actually could be embedded in a web page had a terrible layout and not really user friendly. In the end, the optimal solution seemed to be based on Java scripting, but I have been a bit reluctant to pursue that direction, because it would require a complete restructuring of my web pages. If I had all the time in the world, maybe...

However, then I found out - via a Ravelry forum, naturally - that Scribus supports Java scripting, which means I can create interactive pdf files! Scribus is an Open Source Desktop Publishing program, very easy to use, even for someone like me, who usually is most comfortable using LaTex for word processing, because all layout issues are taken care of beforehand. After having tried Scribus, I even consider to rework all my patterns, also the ones that don't require interactivity.

I am almost done with a generic sock pattern and have finished a prototype of a pattern that estimates how many stitches to pick up along a bias edge. I am having so much fun! Here is a preview of the bias edge estimator:

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Tenafly SocksDesigns

Posted by Inge Sandholt Sat, March 03, 2012 23:00:02

The circle pattern is now featured on a new design - the Tenafly Socks - traditional, but stylish, IMHO. And I had to ad a little sparkling gold...

The experiments with the new sock construction have been put on hold for the time being. But I will return to it ASAP!

PS - my pattern web page have had 1300 visits so far today. WOW! Check the pages here...

Son de MadreRandom

Posted by Inge Sandholt Sat, March 03, 2012 11:29:15

Yesterday DH and I went for a concert at the Bronx Museum of Arts - part of Carnegie Hall Free Neighborhood Concert Series. A New York based group, Son de Madre, played Latin music. A great experience in all respects. I highly recommend the band, go and check their webpage to hear for your self. The setting was perfect too, the audience was a wonderful mixture of fans and locals. At the museum, they feature an exhibition by the invisible architect, Juan Downey. Interesting. In particular I liked his world maps and maps of South America. One drawing was even made on top of a geographical map! Naturally, that kind of things have appeal to a Geographer. Oh, the knitting related stuff - a local Bronx knitting group was present with a table with lovely, knitted items, all crafted in the Bronx! We love the Carnegie Hall events!