Friday, November 27, 2009

LaTeX and knitting

Hi folks, we've been talking about this on Ravelry for the last week or so, and I thought I should really put it up here too.
The idea has been floating around for some time of writing a LaTeX package which will typeset knitting patterns, although exactly what it will do and how far it should go has been rather harder to pin down.

I decided to give this a go, and put something together. The idea is that it will provide you with simple commands which will provide a basic skeleton to your patterns using (very) simple commands, so you can just write your pattern without having to worry about the formatting, or even work from a template.
The class I wrote to do this is now at a testing stage -- I've got all the commands I thought would be useful, and I now need to see how this works for people writing actual patterns. I'd rather not make it *entirely* public just yet, so we're doing some testing in GeekCraft on Ravelry. If you'd like to try it out, go there and it will redirect you to the files and instructions and things.

The plan is that after a period of testing I'll collect some feedback, make whatever changes people suggest, then I'll stick appropriate "do what you like" copyright notices in it and release it into the wild. (I suppose I should write some proper documentation at some point too.)
I wonder if CTAN would take it? It *is* pretty elementary.
An important thing to note (and someone mentioned on GeekCraft) is that it should be pretty modify-able too -- since it's mostly dealing with style I'm hoping people will personalise it. Nothing in there is hugely complicated, it's mostly just a matter of tidying it out of the way.

So, if it sounds good to you, look out for it in the near future, and if you're on Ravelry you can come give it a whirl and let me know how it goes!

Relatedly (and coming out of the discussion of this, I was pointed to KnitML. I haven't read up on exactly how much it's capable of just yet so I'll write more about it when I understand it better, but it looks like an amazing project -- go check it out!



miya^^ said...

\k{2} \p{2} :) \rib{@o@}

Jhadur said...

Oh, was meaning to ask you -- I've been using this to write up a pattern as a kind of sample. Could I get you to proof-read for me?