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Dear Kay,

I’ve been wanting a sign on the door to MDK World Headquarters for a while now. The other tenants in our building have signs of all sorts.

Fancy signs.

Lit signs.

Arty signs.

At the moment, our sign is waterproof and sturdily affixed to the door.

But you can see what I mean about our door possibly needing a more visible sign. Now that our building has a new roof, the need for a laminated, flood-proof sign is (somewhat) reduced. (Granted, the Cumberland River remains one block away.)

It might as well be a knitted sign.

The challenge: our logo is one of the least knittable logos I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t have a straight line anywhere in there.

Still, I wasn’t going to let that shut down my dream of a knitted door sign for MDK.

How to Turn a Graphic into a Knitting Chart

I knew there had to be a way to distill a graphic into a knitting chart. People do this stuff all day, right?

A knitting chart is a simple thing: each square equals one knit stitch. Actually, the squares are rectangles, because a knit stitch is wider than it is tall. If you use regular square graph paper, your knitted graphic will end up looking squooshed. (Here’s downloadable knitting graph paper created by The Knitting Site.)

I began by trying to make a chart in Photoshop: importing knitting graph paper, then loading the MDK graphic over it. The result shows the challenge of rendering our logo on a grid:

It was going to take a fair amount of futzing to reduce the graphic to the stripped-down pixels I needed to knit this sign.

So I dug into the internet. It took about one minute to discover an app that is truly, completely, amazingly awesome:

STITCH FIDDLE. [Imagine the sound of trumpets and chirping birds of happiness in background.]

Stitch Fiddle is the creation of a couple in the Netherlands, Sander and Jannetta. (Click to see their fantastic Stitch-Fiddled pullovers.) (This makes me want to make some legible knitting.)

This tool got me the chart of my dreams in only a few minutes.

The thing with a knitting chart is that you need to have figured out the gauge you’ll be using to knit the chart. So that’s a bit of calculation. Stitch Fiddle will generate a chart at whatever gauge you tell it—clever!

I uploaded the MDK logo, added the dimensions I wanted the logo to be, the gauge I needed, and selected two as the number of colors I’d be knitting.

The result:

All the curves are boiled down to the essence of knittable rectangles. Good times! It would have taken me forever to fudge up this chart by hand. And it still would have looked wonky.

If you squint at this, or look at it from ten feet away, see? It’s our logo!

Stitch Fiddle can create much more complex charts than this. But I was so chuffed to find this solution to my problem. Thanks, Sander and Jannetta!

Getting Started

I dove into the MDK yarn archives for the yarn for our sign.

Sincere Sheep Cormo Sport! It’s bouncy, beautiful, and sincere.

The background is Cumulus.

The tomatoey orange red, Kung Hey Fat Choi, is a real zinger.

I’ll duplicate stitch the logo—you’re not going to catch me doing intarsia on this thing.

The curling of the stockinette here is mighty! I am not ruling out a bit of log cabin around the edges to get this thing to behave.



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  • Can’t wait to see the finished sign. I admire your ability to duplicate stitch, I would be winding bobbins and happily intarsiaing away.

    • #respect

  • I am very much looking forward to seeing your completed logo! Back a million or so years ago, I charted Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album art (front and back) to knit into a sweater (front and back). I did a long sleeve version in wool and worked that in intarsia, and a short sleeve cotton version that I duplicate stitched. Duplicate stitch was definitely the way to go!

    I used to get a lot of attention at Pink Floyd concerts. 🙂

    • Do you have pictures of these sweaters? I’m dying to see them!!!

      • I think I still have the cotton sweater. I’ll see if I can find it. I also knit “Wish You Were Here” and “Animals” sweaters, though the flying pig on the Animals sweater was a pin. I remember my dad wondering why I was knitting Battersea Power Station onto a sweater! One of many times he was sorry that he asked “What are you making?”

    • #totalrespect

    • Wendy, this is completely amazing and unsurprising. Particularly that you created an all-seasons wardrobe of Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon album cover sweaters.

  • That’s indeed an amazing chart!! I gotta check out that app. I’ve long wanted signs in my studio for the office, the shop, and the dye kitchen. This is doable!

    • To somebody with a knitting chart app, everything looks like a possible sign.

  • Way cool! Seems like you could do the logo Fair Isle style though – it would have some long floats but it’s to hang on a door, nobody will see the back. But if you carry on with duplicate stitch, how about a tutorial? My duplicate stitch always looks messy, with bits of the underneath stitches showing through.

    • I’m a huge Fair Isle fan, but can’t stand to work it flat. Duplicate stitch is fun for me—isn’t it interesting how we all have techniques we love or loathe?

      • I would have chosen to double knit it (no curling that way! You can flip it to the white-on-red side if you get bored!), but I know plenty of people groan at that one, too. I also enjoy duplicate stitch. It’s good to remember that it’s just a form of embroidery, so similar principles apply — especially, don’t pull the embroidery yarn too tight!

    • I second the duplicate stitch tutorial idea. I can do fair isle, brioche, lace, instarsia, you name it, but am completely defeated whenever I attempt duplicate stitch!

  • of course a knitted swatch sign.

  • Fantastic!! I’ve used Knitter’s Graph Paper for years but this sounds so much more simple!!

  • This looks like fun. Well, fun to look at someone else doing. I don’t mind duplicate stitch at all, I was afraid you were going to say intarsia – just add a few bobbles and kill me now.

    • Yes, I’m bobble averse, too. Maybe I need to get over that?

      • Norah Gaughan has a great technique for bobbles, as I recall It’s a riff on icord & of course ingenious ‘cause it’s Norah. Just look for any pattern of hers that uses a bobble.

        Thanks so much firvyhe knitting paper link. Especially such a good one. Not to mention a new knit site to explore.

      • Go Japanese Bobble and yoully never look back~ ;3

  • Ann, such a great amount of information in this post! Stuff one needs but never thinks of until it is actually needed. A lot of problems solved. I’m sure the sign will be lovely, although I don’t envy all of that duplicate stitch. However, I would like intarsia far, far less!

    With regard to the curling, do you think that blocking would be enough to relax the curl? I had a similar situation with the scarf that I created many years ago, and nothing I could do would help. The only reason that I didn’t use blocking was that the person who was going to receive the scarf probably would never know about how to do that once he washed the scarf. Anyway, if you decide to put the sign in a frame (so that it doesn’t get dusty, grimy , frayed, etc.) then you would not need to worry about the curling.Or, perhaps it could be formed into a little pillow with a nice cord for hanging purposes.

    Whatever you decide to do, I’m sure it will be the best sign (on the Best door) in the whole building!

    • Thanks, Diane! I have an idea for how to hang the sign, but it depends on how flat the knitted piece will hang. I love the idea of a little pillow. Our mail carrier Emmanuel could stop by and have a quick vertical nap on our door.

      • Okay, that really made me laugh!

      • Quick vertical nap: now that’s funny! 😀

  • There’s also knitpro pattern generator, which I used to lay out a picture a friend wanted. Never actually made it, because the picture is dreadfully complex and life is too short, but I have the chart, anyway.

  • I used to work at an LYS which also sold needlepoint; we provided finishing services. The answer to the finishing issues is simple: a padded board. A padded board is a thin piece of fiberboard, or heavy cardboard, covered with a very thin wrap of fiber fill. The blocked knitting is stitched (usually by hand if it involves knitting) to a fabric backing on three sides, the board is inserted ,the fourth side is stitched shut, and some sort of hanging device is added. You might want to consider stick on velcro in this case, but for home use, it was usually a pretty twisted cord, or a ribbon.

    Needlepoint shops make these sorts of things all the time, but with Karen Templer right across the hall, the three of you ought to be able to come up with something wonderful.

  • You have a problem solving knack! Love your idea, can’t wait to see the finished product.

  • I followed the link to Stitch Fiddle – how cool! Their sweaters look amazing. And of course, I want to add knitted pictures and words to everything now. I have done very little duplicate stitch, so perhaps it is time to up my game. I second what someone else suggested: posts as you go along, giving readers a duplicate stitch tutorial. It is going to be a fantastic sign.

  • It will be great! when i saw the first chart, my thought was “cables”!
    cables would fit the curvy lines of the logo beautifully, but visibility would be an issue, and contrasting color cables are painful, for sure.
    so your solution is way better, love it!

  • Now I’m worried that somebody is going to steal our sign.

    • Put it in a shadow box type of frame and screw it into the door. Maybe that will make it more secure from theft.

  • It’s going to be wonderful! My first thought was writing it with I-cord and attaching to the background piece, because it’s so curvy and three dimensional! So glad you’re having fun with it! I mean, that’s what it’s all about!!

  • It’s really important to maintain awareness of copyright. Using someone else’s artwork or logo is a no-no, without express written permission….. Seriously, would we want someone else using our artwork or logo without our permission? No. You making your logo — perfect. Someone putting someone else’s logo on … anything? No.

    • Hooray for you, Vicki, for reminding us of this. I have musician friends whose work is CONSTANTLY being used without permission. Even more so knitting patterns. (“Oooh, can I have the pattern for that?” “Sure you can!” Goes off to copy the pattern. Designer doesn’t get paid as she deserves.)

  • You are so clever! I love this idea, and can’t wait to see the finished sign! It’s going to be the best! But I agree with Kay, you may need to BOLT it down so no one takes it!

  • I’m not quite awake yet and I haven’t enlarged the photo to be sure – but I think I’d change the spacing a bit. It appears that there are 2 spaces between the letters – as well as between the parts of the letter K. I’d probably move the two parts of the letter K closer together and maybe even add another space between the letters.

    I also would love a tutorial of duplicate stitch for when intarsia is too crazy.

  • It definitely needs some log-cabinning (log-cabinizing? log-cabination?)

  • What a marvelous resource! Thank you for bringing it to our attention. I can’t wait to create a chart.

  • Once upon a time…
    I knit an Open and Closed sign for a knit shop that I worked in. It was made in 2 pieces that were sandwiched with an i-cord edging. I added a twisted cord for hanging to a suction cup hook on the inside of the glass at the door.

  • Incredible! Thank you so much for sharing these two sites; I see some personalized Christmas presents coming…..!

  • I’m still thinking Japanese bobble. I love the colors you are using not to mention the name of the red color. And I think Cheryl might be right about the spacing, but not quite sure. Regardless, with those colors and yarn it will be beautiful. Can’t wait to see it!

  • I love the name of that red!!

  • It needs log cabin edges to make it completely MDK!

  • I used Stitch Fiddle to create a design for one of my dishcloths. I never could have done that on my own. Can’t wait to see your sign!

  • That is genius. Thank you for your research and discovery. I used to fiddle with Excel to make grids that matched my gauge-shallower than average-but now I don’t have to…

  • Wow, game-changer! I have been designing some two-color items using plain old graph paper but this makes the process so much easier (plus, has the special wider-than-tall rectangles instead of squares). Thanks so much for sharing this awesome tool!

  • Please post the finished object!

  • This sounds like a brilliant program. My granddaughter wants her dog on a sweater but I think I’ll do it on a cushion for her – then it will last longer. The dog won’t last much longer. 🙂

  • An fascinating discussion will be worth comment. I’m sure that you need to write much more about this topic, may possibly not certainly be a taboo subject but usually people are not enough to communicate in on such topics. To another location. Cheers

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