Sunday, July 14, 2019

Introduction

Phrancko.com

Welcome! As I get ready to launch this website, let me tell you what you can do at Phrancko.com once it goes live, and also tell you a little about myself. But first, if you would like to be alerted when the website goes live, enter your email in the box at the right and I will create a blog entry here on that date and you will receive the notice of that blog entry.

I was motivated to create this website to share with you an innovative method of knitting sweaters with set-in sleeves, which I have developed and improved over the past year. You probably know that a sweater with set-in sleeves fits better than some other styles as it does not produce the bulk of fabric under the arms like drop shoulder and modified drop shoulder designs. But you may also have heard that set-in sleeves are the most difficult to work. Traditionally, these sweaters are worked in several different pieces. The body is created with holes where the sleeves are attached and then the sleeves, worked separately, are seamed into that hole. But that seam is one of the most difficult to get right.

An alternative method that has gained in popularity in recent years avoids that difficult seaming task by working the body first and then picking up stitches around the sleeve opening, working short rows across the top of the sleeve cap, and then finishing the sleeve in the round from there to the wrist. 

In both of these construction techniques, even if the lower body is worked in the round, the back and the front of the body from the underarm to the shoulder seam must be worked flat. This makes it difficult to use a pattern that is not conducive to alternating right side rows and wrong side rows, like for instance Fair Isle patterns and Austrian-Bavarian/Alpine patterns (which, unlike Aran patterns, usually call for cross-overs on every row, not every other row). So even if you use the easier alternative construction technique, you are still limited in the style of patterns above the base of the armhole.

The origin of Phrancko's Seamless Set-in Sleeves

Of course nothing is new in the thousand year old craft of knitting, so it is unlikely that I have invented something no one else has ever done. But as far as I know, no one is currently suggesting the exact algorithm of shaping the set-in sleeves that I now call "Phrancko's Seamless Set-in Sleeves." A less developed form of this technique was briefly described by Barbara Walker in her book Knitting from the Top.  After following up on some suggestions by JC Briar, I have simply expanded on that technique to create a true bell-shaped sleeve cap. I also published an article called "Learn Something New--Phrancko's Seamless Set-in Sleeves" in the Fall 2018 issue of Cast On magazine describing a simplified version of the calculations.

The beauty of this technique is that you work in the round from the neck down, including both the front and back of the sweater at the same time as the sleeve caps.  The two initial patterns presented here are a traditional crew neck sweater and a saddle shoulder sweater, also with a crew neck, both worked from the top down. Only the part of the sweater at the very top at the sides of the neck is worked flat, allowing for all kinds of pattern designs to be used on the chest, back and sleeve caps.

The algorithm I have developed has been tested using ordinary gauges for sizes child through adult as well as with yarn weights from Light (#3) through Jumbo (#7). It may in fact work for other sizes, gauges, and yarn weights, but frankly I have not been able to try all the thousands of possible variations.

Customized sweaters from Phrancko.com

This website was created to allow you to enter the exact measurements of a person for whom you are knitting a sweater. You also describe the yarn you are using along with the needle size as well as the stitch gauge and row gauge for that yarn and needle size. Finally you enter a few specifics for the sweater itself, like the hem length for this particular sweater and the fit (or multiple fits) you desire for this pattern to produce, for example undersized, tight, standard, loose, or oversized. A customized pattern is then produced for all the fits you selected for that particular person using your specific yarn and needle size. These are not your usual Small, Medium, Large, etc. sizes. The multiple sizes you may choose to have in your pattern are all custom sized for the same person, just different fits.

In short you are generating a pattern for a custom sized sweater for a particular person, possibly with different fits, using the yarn and needle size of your choice.

My Story

My name is Frank H. Jernigan, aka Phrancko. I retired in 2005 after a 28 year career as a software developer at the age of 59. A few years later I took up knitting as a hobby. I had learned the basics and knitting a few things thirty years earlier, but I had put it aside to focus on my software career. I was immediately smitten with my new craft. A couple years later, after knitting a few scarves and a couple of sweaters, I heard about the Master Hand Knitting program offered by The Knitting Guild Association (TKGA). I immediately signed up for the course and charged ahead, driven by a desire to learn everything I could about my newfound craft. Two years later, in September, 2017, I was awarded the Master of Hand Knitting Certificate. Since then I have published at least one pattern in every issue of Cast On magazine starting with the Spring 2018 issue. I no longer tell people I am retired. I have started a new career as a knitwear designer. And I am well into my 70's! I guess that proves it's never too late to get started when you find something you love to do.

3 comments:

  1. This is awesome, Frank! I am eager to try out your sweater software.

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  2. Wow -- this is terrific! Especially top down and set in sleeves. I'm looking forward to trying this as I love top down.

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  3. I so glad you are excited about it. I loved creating the site and can't wait to see the sweaters people create. If you get a chance, please sign up for an account on the forum website PhranckoForum.com so we can have these kinds of interactions there. Thanks!

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Let me know what you think of this blog entry here. Please sign up for an account at PhranckoForum.com for more general questions and comments about the Phrancko.com website.