Thursday, November 3, 2011


According to Wikipedia, serendipity is when someone finds something that they weren't expecting to find. It's one of those small pleasures that can just make your day a little brighter.

My serendipitous moment this week came in the form of an article in my Facebook news feed titled "Margaret Atwood on Knitting a Great Auk in the Arctic." As an English major, librarian, birdwatcher, and knitter, you know I had to read the article just because of the juxtaposition of such unlikely terms.

It turns out that Margaret Atwood is an avid believer in the preservation of bird species and had been asked to contribute an artwork to an exhibit highlighting birds that have become extinct. Most of the hundred plus artists contributing to the exhibit did their art in paintings, drawings, and prints. Since she is also an avid knitter, she wanted to use wool as her art medium. And there, buried in the middle of the article was the method she used to get a graph of the auk she needed to craft her knitted piece. Just a tiny little mention of a tiny little program available free online to turn your image into a graph suitable for knitting or cross stitching. Whoa! That snapped me to attention!

And here's why:

I'd knit a table runner or wall hanging canvas (I hadn't yet decided which) a couple of years ago. A friend had provided me with a photograph of a lighthouse that I wanted to turn into a graph and stitch onto the canvas I'd knit. But I needed to find a good way to do that. I didn't want to buy an expensive program to do it. I tried various options that seemed possibilities but none really did the job I wanted it to do, so I put the project aside and moved on to other things.

The free online Web2.0 app she used for her graph is Knitpro and I found it with a simple Google search. There are a few easily adjustable settings for you to get the size and direction you want for your graph.

This is the lighthouse I needed to get a graph of for my planned project:

This is a screenshot of the graph generated by Knitpro that I saved as a jpeg and cropped so I could show you what Knitpro did with the image. What Knitpro generates for your use is a pdf that you can then print. What's great about it is that the lines on the graph are numbered to make it easy to follow.

And this is the blank canvas I knit with the plan to stitch a lighthouse on it, painted with stitches, so to speak.

Now thanks to the serendipitous discovery of this little gem of a program, I am now prepared to finish my own artwork using cotton yarn on my knitted canvas.


Erin_in_Boston said...

Wow!! How cool will that lighthouse throw be once you finish it? I love that you shared the link to create the PDF of your image! Thanks.

BTW, I answered your question as to the John Brinegar hat/scarf. Go to and look for it there.

Erin_in_Boston said...

Posted a link to John Brinegar's hat and scarf set that you liked on my Squee Sunday post but couldn't find the pattern for, on Tahki Stcay website. I also asked whether he would ever add this pattern to his Ravelry patterns and he is going to get back to me. Erin at

Linda said...

Thanks for the tip on where to look. It wasn't immediately apparent, but I found a book that has what looks like the pattern in it on the website link you posted. I was looking for it by name, but finally used HIS name and found a photo that looked like it in a book that I placed an order for and am anxiously waiting to get..Amazon says it shipped so I'm on pins and needles...The pattern had a different name, but I forget what it is at the moment.I hope it's in the book I ordered: Tahki Knitting Patterns Tweed Collection Book Smart.