Saturday, July 25, 2009

Barcode Knit Complete

Music-themed scarf/iPod cozy.

Vital stats:

Needle size: 2, one set straight, one set double pointed
Yarn: sock weight
Gauge: 6 stitche per inch, 8 rows per inch
Total number of stitches in project, 13,382, (31 stitches per round)


Here is what I learned.

Barcode is truly a machine language. I took the name "bellflur" (after the band) and used an online converter to translate it into Code 128. It looks really good on paper. Great visual, nice stripes. I enlarged the printout so I could see and count each row of pixels. Very simple. Stripes are easy to knit?

WRONG.

In barcode, each number translates into rows of pixels. The number 1 is a single row, the number 3 is three rows. Code 128 does the same for letters. This allows a lot of information to be printed in a small amount of space, such as a label.

In knitting, this greatly expands the project. If you look at the photo of the scarf, you will see that the letters take up less space than the stripes of the code. In addition, in knitting there is the issue of color changes and weaving in ends. I carried the yarn up the sides to avoid having over 100 loose ends to weave. A final consideration with knitting is changing colors on odd or even numbers of rows. In flat knitting, it is easiest to change colors every two rows. Originally, I tried to expand the barcode so that one row of pixels equalled a two-row stripe. That gave me a pattern repeat in the range of 250-300 rows. Eventually, I chose to knit the scarf in the round, to facillitate frequent colr changes of one-row stripes. I knit the scarf as a closed-end, double knit tube to make it more interesting for myself. After knitting about 6 inches of the pattern, I decided to use the tube to hold my iPod or cellphone, leaving an opening that was later bordered in 1x1 ribbing.

After the barcode portion was completed, I knit the remainder of the scarf in plain black. This portion was knit on double pointed needles and I just knit until I used up nearly all of the black yarn. The final length is 55 inches, which is rather short for a winter scarf, but just right for holding my ipod at a comfortable level.

The last step in the main scarf was to duplicate stitch the name "bellflur" on the solid portion of the scarf. I used chart that I made some time ago. The chart was made from the band's logo that I charted using KnitPro and then altered to get the effect I wanted. I found it frustrating to duplicate stitch black yarn, at a small gauge, in a long, narrow, tube.

The final steps were to bind off the knitting and add fringe. The loose ends were tucked inside the scarf.

I am SO glad this thing is done. This project had an idea that I loved. I hated the execution. If I do another barcode project, I will choose a different yarn and perhaps knit it using a knitting machine, flat. I will definitely do it at a much larger guage. I fit the project to use the yarn I had available in black and white. I may try another version of barcode, called AZTEC next because it appears to be graphically intersting.

1 comment:

Tom said...

that is awesome! great job. you have busy fingers