Novel Concept

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Happy Wednesday, mon peeps. The hat flew off the needles, but although I carefully packed it next to my camera with my sadly unblogged Greenies sweater, the trifecta of daylight, knitwear, and photographer did not materialize over the weekend.

While I wait for the stars align, I will attempt to distract you with random posts about things that are not finished objects. Today, we will discuss…. *dramatic pause* patterns.

I like to have hard copies of the patterns I knit. With a hard copy, I can write down my gauge, note modifications at the appropriate places, and read through my pattern on a surface larger than the screen on my phone. The pattern, like the knitting, goes into my purse or lunch bag, and comes with me everywhere I go.

Unfortunately, this mode of transport beats up my patterns pretty quickly. The paper gets folded and bent, the printing gets smeared by water-bottle leaks, and in the past few months, I have had to defend patterns and knitting alike from nibbling kittens. (I really have no idea why chewing on paper constitutes ENTERTAINMENT for kittens, but it does. Also chewing on boxes.) My attempt to solve this problem, knitting faster, has not been working so well, so Querido had a new suggestion: laminate the patterns.

My inner preservationist was a little stressed out by this suggestion: encasing any dead-tree documents in plastic is not something archivists of the future will thank you for. Also, what about marking the pattern, marking again, and then folding the page into teeny little squares? Then Querido bought be a laminator. I kind of forgot to use it for a bit, but he kept hint hint hinting, so before embarking on Northanger Abbey and the Wallpaper Cowl, I broke it out.

Admittedly, my inner eight-year-old had a lot of fun squaring up the sheets back to back and sending them though the feeder. Laminators have gotten a lot better since I was eight, though, so no nasty bubbles. They’re faster, too: the kittens were busy vaulting themselves through the kitchen pass-through when I began laminating, and before they had time to notice PAPER THAT MOVES, which had the potential to be THE BEST KITTEN TOY EVER, I was done.

End result? Querido was right. The laminated chart for my Northanger Abbey beret made it to Philadelphia and back for Midwinter Meeting with no pesky wrinkles to obscure whether a stitch should be knitted or twisted. For the Wallpaper Cowl, however, having a nearly-indestructible chart has been a lifesaver. This chart defies memorization, so every time the cowl comes out of my bag, the chart does too. In, out, in, out, every train ride to work and back.

Anyone else here a lamination convert? How do you preserve patterns that need to be marked up to note gauge changes and sizes? The preservation police may be here for me any moment, but I’m too happy to have an unrumpled pattern to mind that!

4 thoughts on “Novel Concept

  1. Debbie says:

    I wanted to note: Super-Fine point Sharpie markers (or other super-fine point permanent markers) work great on laminated things. To “erase” things, you can either use a white rubber eraser or rubbing alcohol. Staedtler makes awesome markers, and eraser/alcohol markers as well, but I have a hard time finding them and Sharpies work well enough. I don’t currently laminate my patterns, but I did have a period of years where nearly everything else was laminated because I spent a lot of time outdoors. đŸ™‚ Also, a quick fix for shorter/smaller patterns is plastic document protectors that you can put in three ring binders.

  2. Carol T says:

    New reader of your blog. I was directed here by the Yarn Harlot and I’m glad she did. A question on the laminating. Can you make a readable copy after it’s laminated and can you mark it up after laminating it?

    • Allison says:

      Hi Carol: I have not tried sending any of my laminated patterns through a copier, but that’s a good experiment to try (preferably someplace where copies are free!), and if you wanted to mark it up, you would have to use something like a sharpie or dry-erase markers…as I said, not ideal!

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