Have you ever wanted to design your own intarsia or turn a favorite image into a knit? It's surprisingly easy to do. Dig out your favorite yarn and needles, pick a photo and give this "How To" a try.
First you need to find yourself a photo to start with! Go get camera crazy. For this example, I’ll use a picture that I took of a rather friendly sheep. If I take the picture as it is right now and apply a square grid to it and make a chart, my intarsia sheep will end up a too squat.
Next you need to knit a swatch with the yarn and needles you want to use. Measure your gauge. I have 5 stitches per inch and 6 rows per inch. My gauge isn’t square so I have to adjust something to make my chart turn out pretty. I find that it’s easier to adjust the image than it is to draw an elongated grid.
Open up you photo in a photo editing program and find out the exact measurements of your picture. I use Photoshop and my sheep was 900 px by 598 px. From here it’s math time! The picture needs to be resized so it works with your both your gauge and a square grid. This usually means elongating the image. We’ll keep the width the same and adjust the height using the following formula: Image Height(Rows per in./Sts per in.) Round up to the nearest whole number. Here’s the sheepy math: 598(6/5) = approximately 718.
Resize the picture’s height. Make sure the width doesn’t change. To do this in Photoshop you need to have the “Constrain Proportion” box unchecked. The sheep is now 900 px by 718 px. The picture is ready to be traced to make an intarsia chart!
Make your charts by drawing over the image. The easiest way to do this is on a program that can draw simple shapes, and has a grid function. You can continue you to use Photoshop for this, but I prefer to switch over to Illustrator.
If it’s not already on, turn on your grid. You’ll need to resize your photo proportionally or adjust the scale of your grid with your gauge in mind so your intarsia fits on your project. I wanted a 3 inch sheep and I adjusted my grid so that it was about 15 squares across the sheep’s ears. This might take some fiddling to get just right.
If you don’t have a program that lets you play with grids and shapes, you can do this the old school way. Print out your resized picture. Layer a piece of regular graph paper on top of the picture. You may need to place it over a light box. You can also increase the contrast and saturation on your picture before printing it to make it easier to trace. Use colored pencils or markers to trace the image by filling in the grid, and create your chart.
Now you just need to trace your photo to make a chart! Draw squares of color using the grid as a guide to keep your squares in shape. If your program has a snap-to-grid function, it makes things a lot easier. Use your best judgment for color placement and keep in mind that you don’t have to follow the photo exactly. You might want to make things larger or omit details in order to make a more attractive chart.
Knit your chart using intarsia, or duplicate stitch it onto finished knitting. You can put it on a sweater or just make an art piece. Get creative!