February 24, 2006
Using Excel to graph the pattern
Well, this is a little late, I fear, since it sounds like many of us are in the homestretch of finishing the AmKamin, however, this will help with your next (sweater, lace shawl, insert favorite pattern here).
First you make a Legend-a key to use for the pattern. Here was mine...
T=Twist knitwise or purlwise
K=Knit (RS) purl (WS)
Blank - purl (RS) knit (WS)
FC=right leaning fish with an underline
fc=right leaning fish, no underline
BC=left leaning fish with an underline
bc=left leaning fish with no underline
CB=Cable Back (put 2 stitches on a cable needle and hold in back, knit 2, knit the 2 off the cable needle)
CF=Cable Front (put 2 stitches on a cable needle and hold in front, knit 2, knit the 2 off the cable needle)
I think that was all there was...
When I came to a cable, I would use the MERGE CELLS button to merge the cells where the cable happens. The merge cells button is in your formatting toolbar, and looks like an "A" with an arrow on either side inside a box. If you drag across several cells in excel, then click this button, the cells will "merge" to make one larger cell. I also used this button to merge two "stitches/cells" for the FC, BC, fc and bc's.
Each cell=one stitch.
The return key takes you to the next row, the tab key takes you across the cells.
Leave that 30 row repeat for last...do the easy ones first so you get a "feel" for how things work.
Using the AmKamin book, plot out all the stitches for ONE REPEAT into Excel. Remember, the repeats line up on the BOTTOM, not at the TOP. You may need to add rows to sections to make this happen. Here's how:
Click and drag across the cells you wish to be "dropped down", click on Insert/Cells and a dialog box pops up. Choose "shift cells DOWN". Do this as many times as you need to line up the bottom row with row 30 of that 30 row repeater...there is a short cut to this, and now's a good time to learn it.
Let's say you've just finished plotting H (a two row repeat), and that 30 row repeat. If you click on the cells for H, and drag down 28 rows to highlight a RECTANGLE covering several "stitches", THEN click on Insert/Cells, shift cells down, and your section H will magically drop down so that row 1 of H is even with row 1 that 30 row repeat!
Work the other sections in the same manner, REMEMBER TO SWITCH THE ORIENTATION OF STITCHES FOR THE OPPOSITE SIDE (for all the "prime" sections)--once you've got the repeats done, you need to add rows to make the entire sweater, right...?
Let's say that there are 140 rows in the back. You have already plotted 30 rows (from that 30 row repeat), so 140-30=110, so you only need to insert 110 more rows.
Place your cursor over the 1st row "marker" (which is marked with a "1"). CLICK and DRAG until row 110 and release. Notice that the entire rows are highlighted....
Now click on Insert/Rows, and voila! 140 rows!
Now all that's left is to copy the cells UP from the bottom. I know, I know...it's sounds daunting, but it's not if you use keyboard shortcuts.
Microsoft has allotted may different keyboard shortcuts...some you might already know.
Alt F will open the file menu
Ctrl P will print a document you're working on.
But the ones you need now are Ctrl C and Ctrl V. The first is "COPY" the second "PASTE" and they are invaluable.
Highlight the repeat for section H beginning in the top leftmost cell be sure to get all of both of the rows. Press Ctrl+C. This action causes those cells to copy to the clipboard (which is out there in computer land, a virtual blackboard). Now use your arrow key up and press it twice. Now press Ctrl + V. This will paste the information from the virtual blackboard to the cell you are in (and the succeeding cells). I call it a "fill stroke". Up arrow twice again, and press CTRL + V again.
Repeat until every row up to row 1 is filled in. TADA! You just finished copying that two row repeat to the entire sweater.
For repeats that are 6, 8, 12 and 30, you just arrow up 6, 8, 12 or 30..UNTIL you get to a point where you can't paste 6, 8, 12 or 30 rows (means you have a "partial pattern").
For these, you'll go back to the first row where the original repeats are, highlight however many rows you need for the repeat you want to copy, copy and then return to the top (row 1) to paste it in. Practice it elsewhere if you're worried about overwriting a cell or a row---which could happen, if you don't watch closely. You can always click and drag to highlight anything you don't want and press delete--it's gone!
Once you've got all the repeats "posted", then you can mark in the increases/decreases/buttonholes/shortrows-wraps etc in whatever row you want them in. I put mine in a column at the right and in the column at the left--especially on the sleeves, as I start from the left side on the right sleeve.
I made a worksheet for the back, fronts and sleeves. Use the Insert menu to insert a new worksheep if you need it--it does make for easier reading if you do; otherwise, if the pattern for all the pieces are on one worksheet, you may get confused as to what PIECE you're reading. Putting each piece on it's own also helps you because then you know how many rows you've got before you're done! Which is GREAT!
Let me know if you have any problems or questions by writing
Posted by tenna at February 24, 2006 09:21 AM
Thanks very much for these instructions. I think there are some people who are closing in on completing their Am Kamin's, but I'll bet I'm not the only one delaying my start. My thought was to let the true explorers do the real work (like you!! with this excel charting business) and then coast along with my own efforts when things are more clarified.
Posted by: Annie Driscoll at February 24, 2006 12:13 PM
Thanks for the very detailed instructions. I've charted the design in Stitch and Motif Maker, but have always wanted to be able to use Excel.
Posted by: Dicksie House at February 24, 2006 12:41 PM
Thank you so much!!
Posted by: michelle at February 25, 2006 12:24 AM
Everybody, you're welcome! I hope it helps you out.
Posted by: tenna at February 27, 2006 08:16 AM