Why Knitting is Like Computer Programming

My husband is a software architect. He designs computer programs. I am a knitting pattern designer. I design knitted things. I have no idea how computer programming works and he is clueless about knitting. But we have noticed some similarities.

For computer programming you’ll need an operating system. Some people are a little fanatical about which OS is the best, often the more obscure the better. For knitting you’ll need a medium in which to work, some people are a little fanatical about the best kind of yarn, often the more obscure the better.

Code is written in lines. Knitting patterns are written in rows or sometimes rounds.

The underpinning of all computer languages is a binary system. All stitch patterns are either a knit or a purl stitch.

If there’s a bug hundreds of lines back, it can be hard to find. If there’s a mis-knitted stitch hundreds of rows back, it can be hard to find.

Some computer programmers like to annotate their code, others do not. Some pattern designers will give the knitter lots of instruction, others do not.

Code can be plugged into a database to change the numbers and create different conditions. Garment knitting pattern designers need to change the numbers to create different sizes.

When you’ve finished writing code, 90% of people will not understand how it works. When you’ve finished writing a knitting pattern, 90% of people will not understand how it works.

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