Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Der Teufelkind Steckt Im Detail



"Le bon Dieu est dans le detail" (God is in the details) is attributed to noted French writer Gustave Flaubert, but made popular by German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe... then we 'Mericanized it and from it's mangled remains was borne the American idiom "The devil is in the details." I've come to know this phrase to mean: Mind the smaller things to avoid serious consequences to the whole.

Before I made Deike's Quenya Travel Cap, I worked out details by making this devilishly clever diminutive version for her nephew, Jop. This hat called is Das Kleine Teufelkind. Making a smaller version before-hand is a good way to resolve architecture and pattern issues.



Before I write anything I make 6" X 6" pattern swatches to figure out density and estimate yardage. Most importantly I wash and block them to get the true gauge. The results are often dramatically different, especially with wool blends — cable work settles properly, ribs and moss flatten out, weight and drape become more apparent. Because the left and right sides are mirrored, they are written as separate patterns. I tried a few ways to use the same formula for both sides but the results were always wonky — off by a row or two or awkwardly cabled from the wrong side.



Aesthetics aside, algorithms are a part knit pattern design. An algorithm is a sequence of finite instructions in a plan. Over the summer my friend Jeremy, a neurobiologist, was over to help me carry the large softball mascots down to the field (Freddy's V. O'Connor's softball). He asked about the "algorithms" that I had taped to my wall.

Jeremy charts the brain waves of mice behavior, I chart variations of knit patterns. He commented on the similarities. Much like knitting, algorithm sequences also include colloquium and idiom as shorthand (such as p2tog, k1tbl, [k1, p3] X3, rep. from *...etc.) — anyhow, Jer and I discussed this while walking to the park wearing the mascot heads, scaring children and dogs along the way. There is a Kleine Teufelkind in each of us, zer teuflisch nicht war?
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