ABOUT THE PROCESS
Putting a design in a knitting project can yield beautiful results but capturing a photographic image and creating a knitted fabric with that image is a game changer!
The resulting fabric is soft, rich with texture and a custom image of your choosing, making it perfect for decorative throw pillows & custom tote bags.
I use a vintage electronic knitting machine to knit the fabric, but before the image is ready to knit, a lot of work needs to be done with the photograph.
Your original photo should be a good picture, crisp, clear and close up of the subject you would like on your custom image pillow or tote bag .
After your photo is loaded into Photoshop the serious editing starts.
The editing takes the photo through several versions. Sometimes it’s a good idea to remove the original background to eliminate distractions around the subject.
When the composition looks good, the photo is converted to black & white and reduced to 200 pixels wide and how ever many pixels are needed to maintain the aspect ratio for height .
Since digital photos are made up of pixels and 1 pixel equal one knitted stitch, I have to reduce the photo to the number of pixels that I will use to knit the image that makes the fabric. Most digital photo files are anywhere from 1000 – 3000 pixels wide and about the same number in height. Even if I could knit at that resolution it would be a king size bed blanket.
Next the details are enhanced & defined. In the case of animals & pets, those details would be fur direction & eyes to make them show up in the knitting.
When I’m satisfied I have enough detail the image is downloaded into a dithering program. I use several different programs depending on the results I’m looking for.
“The nature of image dithering creates the illusion of color & depth with a limited palette and is achieved through an algorithm.” -Wikipedia
If the dithered image is not well defined enough for knitting then more editing of the original is needed.
The photo can go through this process as many as 10 times. The desired result is to bring out the most detail and keep it looking like a photo and not a drawing or graphic (unless the original is a drawing or a graphic).
The final editing step before knitting is checking the aspect ratio of the image. If the aspect ratio is not right the subject will not be in proportion.
Pixels are square, they are as wide as they are high, but knit stitches are wider than they are high, like a brick, so the image may need to be stretched lengthwise in the editing software.
Finally, your image is downloaded in the knitting machine and made into beautiful fabric for your pillow, or tote bag with your personal image.