Tuesday, September 25, 2007

While Meg Sleeps...

...I secretly work on KnitML. I've been putting a decent amount of work into what I'm calling the Engine. It is essentially a process modeler that keeps track of where I've cast on stitches, what needles they belong to, how many stitches I have to go in a row, which direction I'm knitting in, etc. This is all really important to get right, because the Engine will make sure that a set of KnitML directions can actually be followed. For example, the following instructions should not get past the engine:

Cast on 10 stitches. Row 1: K 11.

Of course this is a very contrived example, and no author in their right mind would ever make such a simple error. The power of this comes when you have a more complex row (for instance, one with lots of wraps and turns) and you want to be able to report out how many stitches you have on the needles when you're done with it. Instead of having to calculate it out yourself, you just ask the Engine to report out the number of stitches it has on its needles. (If this freaks you out, you could also make an assertion in the KnitML that you believe that there should be X number of stitches on the needle. Essentially your "test knitter" can validate that this number is what it's getting when following your directions.) The more instructions we can calculate, the fewer the errors we'll have showing up in patterns. And that is definitely a good thing.

I'm really striving to model the Engine as close to the actual knitting process as possible with a computer. The closer I can get, the more I will be able to let the Engine work for me.

The Britches were fine this evening, though I had to cut it short. While I had purchased a supplemental ball of Twilight for my Kai pullover, I didn't actually have it with me today. So I really was only able to knit two rounds of the collar before having to call it quits. Charlie was there. After weeks of me urging him to try his hand at some stranded knitting, he finally has started his first stranded project: a Norwegian sweater. I knew he was a strander at heart!

Leif, a fellow who hasn't been to Britches in a long time, showed up as well. He was knitting very cool-looking blanket on size 15 needles. Welcome back to the group, Leif!

Franklin didn't show. I suppose he was scared away by the prospect of me gifting him the etiquette book.

I very briefly explained KnitML to everyone. Leif thought it sounded like a cool idea. Charlie just shook his head and said, "You're going to be next Kaffe Fassett!" I certainly doubt it, but I do hope that my labors in the KnitML world do prove to be a service to the global knitting community. At least some day.


Thorny said...

Dude. I forgot to say before:

For all that I have only the vaguest wisp of a grasp of what you're up to here, I do grok what the end result is supposed to be, and I think it's AWESOME. Can't wait to see how it all works out!!

RobynR said...

I've gotta tell you I wish that you'd come up with the program already . . . It'd save me from using excel to map out the pattern I'm struggling with