I decided to give myself a design challenge yesterday. U.S. Independence Day is just around the corner (July 4th) and as the daughter of an American Legionnaire, I thought about Old Glory.
I decided to challenge myself to design a place mat that would look like the American flag – but in the Illusion style of knitting. Some head-scratching and brain tickling ensued . . . .
But here’s what I came up with – start to finish – yesterday. I LOVE IT! Yup! There are 50 knit tufts that make up the stars.
It really is an illusion because look what happens when the camera angle changes:
I designed it to be knit up the narrow dimension because that’s the way the math worked better for the canton and stars. The American flag has its 50 stars set in a specific pattern and the math worked the best this was without compromising the proportion of the flag.
As you look at the field of stars, there is a bit of blue at the top and bottom of the stars. I couldn’t spread the stars out any further. It didn’t work mathematically.
As a general rule, illusion/shadow style knit designs don’t show up well if only one purl bump is supposed show on the right side of the fabric. That’s why I knit tufts for the stars. They are knit on the back side, but held to the front as you continue working. The tufts are still only one stitch, but they have height, so they stand out. No reason illusion knitting can’t combine some other techniques.
I included intarsia work as well. There were a couple of ways to deal with the need for the third color. In the end, I decided to just treat the canton as a color block, twist my colors on the wrong side, and keep knitting. I designed the pattern so that the white goes all the way across and it is only the blue and red that end up in the same rows.
A table runner will work with what I’ve already got, but I would make a series of flags and flip them 180 degrees alternately for the runner length needed on the table. (PDF file is for placemat only, however, because I only had one skein of each color on hand at home when I got started.)
If you’d like to knit one, click the link for the PDF: Star-Spangled Illusion Place Mat
Ed: If you’ve downloaded the prior to 6/19/2012, there was an error in the pattern. A reader caught it and contacted me. The pdf file has been corrected. Thank you, Janet, contacting me.
There are lots of opportunities to use the Star-Spangle Place Mat. The United States Flag Code lists the special holidays when citizens are encouraged to show their colors:
Have a happy and safe Independence Day! And hum your favorite patriotic song while you set your table!