ama-gi

from wikipedia: “Ama-gi is an ancient Sumerian word (AMA.GI) thought to mean “freedom”. It is believed to be the first instance of humans using writing to represent that concept.”

i wanted to knit this on my next hat (which i have so far deemed “the freedom hat”– i know– it’s just a working title) but didn’t want to have it reverse on one side as with regular double knitting because well… who knows what kind of bad karma would result from reversing the symbol for freedom? that’s nothing i want to tap into right now.

so i mocked up a chart…

and then bent my mind and made it reversible (i’ll explain below– it’s not as complicated as it looks. well, actually it sort of is)

and here’s my swatch! look, no bad karma!! fantastic. for the record this is a long-tail cast on that’s been knit in the front and purled in the back of each stitch, with a grafted top seam. i think i’m gonna put this on the nape of the hat… right in between the earflaps.

amagi double knit

once i finished, i realized that this was something NOBODY would notice. like, not even a knitter would imagine how complicated and annoying this chart is. but i still think its an amazing thing to be able to conceptualize so let me try to explain it…

a quick tutorial on charting for non-reversible double knitting: (click any photo to enlarge)

OK so here’s the thing about double knit charts. usually, with regular, reversible double knitting, the colours are worked in pairs– one stitch on the front (knit) side and one on the back (purl) side. these stitches are represented together on one square of the chart. in order to work a reversible design, these stitches will ALWAYS be opposite one another. so it’s not hard to imagine that by working a different colour pattern in the front and back, you can make a non-reversible pattern. great, concept: over. the hard part is actually charting it.

start with any colourwork chart. i’ll use my own as an example:

now, in order to have a different pattern in the front and back, add an extra stitch in between each column. now what’s below is just the stitches you will be making on the RS. the stitches in between are for the WS

copy and paste that image, mirror it, and invert the colours. these are the WS stitches.

then place it on top of the first image, shifted one cell to the right. confused? yeah.

at this point, i inverted the colours of the whole chart– this isn’t really necessary, but i wanted the dark and light yarns to correspond with the squares on the chart.

so when you’re ready to begin, instead of each square corresponding to two stitches, one in front and one in back, each stitch will now have its own. you will still switch off knitting and purling, ensuring that each side retains its stockinette appearance, but the colours will read more like a fair isle chart. when working, you will zigzag through the rows. i began at the top left and worked right, and then the next row down worked from the right to the left.

one major difference between a regular dk chart and this method is that on a regular chart, worked flat, the chart is only colour accurate every other row. in other words, since the RS and WS colours switch every row, the chart doesn’t correspond to which colour you are working, just when you will be working the MC or CC. with this chart, the colour on the chart will always represent the colour you are working.

basically, you’re knitting the same thing, but from two different ends of the chart, so that they will appear the same on both sides and not mirrored. you could do this with two completely different images as well– just place one chart every other column, and the other in the spaces in between. eventually you’ll get used to knitting this way and it actually doesn’t take as long as you’d think

well. i hope i helped at least someone grasp this concept. if anything is unclear, leave a comment or send me an email and i’ll gladly clarify. it’s something that’s really fascinating to me and i’ll probably have more on this subject in the weeks to come (i just finished my last class of the semester– summer break, woohoo!)

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7 thoughts on “ama-gi

  1. Ladybug ladybug « Feather and Fan

  2. This is very interesting, beyond my skill level but makes a higher goal to reach eventually.
    I had been thinking of something a littlemore simple; more on the lines of opposing stripes. One side would be horizontal and the other side would be vertical stripes.
    Thanks for your post, really gives me something to think about.

  3. This is very cool. I stumbled on this by accident but I love the inventiveness. It strikes a chord with me because it reminds me of designing game sprites for very old computers, where pixels were nearly this big!

  4. I can’t tell you how helpful/inspiring I’ve found this post! I’m just about done knitting a non-mirrored, same pattern (because it just did NOT look right backwards) project. Next up: a different pattern on each side!

    Thank you! 😀

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