instigated by the wonderful and funny Grumperina
1. Wearable And Not So Wearable Things
Until a short time ago one out of two garments I knit usually ended up completely unwearable. It didn’t matter whether I followed a commerical pattern or how religiously I swatched. It’s gotten better with time, though. That’s the reason why I often revert to knitting socks, shawls, gloves and such things. There will always be somebody who can wear them.
2. Too Short
I can’t stand knitting socks on short DPNs. Obviously my hands are too large to handle them because I keep poking my palms on their rear end. For the fingers on gloves on the other hand I like them just fine. Go figure.
3. Sock Knitters Anonymus
I love knitting socks. I will never stop knitting socks, ever. There are times when there is hardly any room for large or more complex projects. But there will always be the time to knit a few rows on a colourful, stripy, plain stockinette stitch sock.
4. Of Holes And Other Practical Applications of Math
Knitting lace came to me easily and without even knowing what it was called. My grandma showed me the Feather and Fan pattern – which was all the rage in the late 80s and early 90s – and and explained about the increases and decreases and how the have to balance each other after your pattern rows are done. Patterns with yarn over and de-/increases have never been a mystery from then on. It’s all in the math.
Despite being a proficient long time knitter I have never done any large stranded knitting project. I am really planning to start something this fall though.
6. Beware Intarsia Knitting.
As much as I love lace and textured knitting as much do I abhor intarsia. The technique isn’t to blame. It’s me, I am sure. But no matter what I try it drives me around the bend. Stranded knitting I can understand. It appeals to me on a certain level but Intarsia with all those ittle, bittle, fickle pieces of yarn, a humongous amount of ends to weave in and the obligation to knit flat – *grrrr*. I like to go with Elizabeth Zimmerman’s advice here „If you don’t like it, don’t do it“.
7. Getting People Started
For years I’ve been asking myself why is it that scarves are regarded as perfect beginner projects. I started out with a scarf once, too. I taught my sister to knit with a scarf project. But me, I don’t like knitting scarves. They are way too boring, take to long to complete. For a beginner I would now advice to choose something smaller. How about some pulse warmers? You can choose some fancy yarn, knit them flat in garter stitch or stockinette or rib and sew them up afterwards in any direction you like, maybe even leave a hole for the thumb. Perfect beginner project, if you ask me. And if you have an adventurous beginner you could even get them started with knitting in the round on 5 DPNS (YES *five*, not four).
8. Imperial Nonsense
Why is it that the imperial measuring system is so insistent on staying alive? I hate it, I really truely hate it. It’s not logical and way too inaccurate. How the hell am I supposed to remeber that 12 inches are 1 foot? And how can you get your garments to fit if your smallest unit is one inch (which equals 25.4 whole mm)? And I hate the fact that some knitting magazines and publications – I’ll refrain from telling any names here – still refuse to acknowledge that most of the world and therefore a good part of their audience deals in metric dimensions by now.
9. Of Right And Wrong
Yes, I am an opinionated knitter but I will never tell anybody that they are knitting/doing this or that wrong. I might point out the problems they might encounter while doing so, though.
Take this girl from my spinning and knitting group. She is a really enthusiastic self-taught knitter. Her stockinette fabric looked okay but while trying her hands on a lace knitting pattern she got stuck. Her decreases just did not work out. Well, the more experienced of you can probably guess what happened. She did her purl stitches with the yarn going UNDER the needle. As long as you uncross the stitches in the knitting row you won’t know the difference. But if you try to follow the standard instructions for your common decrease, it will leave you with strangely twisted stitches. After explaining this dilemma to her she was able compensate, either through purling the standard way or by working the decreases differently. See Annie Modesitt’s page for more about what she calls Combination Knitting.
10. It’s Not Rocket Science
That’s what I keep telling people all the time. I’m preaching to the choir here but is has to be said – All it takes is two sticks and a piece of string. And someone to show you the ropes can’t hurt either.