Saturday, August 19, 2006
Holy Crap! It is faster! (and other discoveries)
Way back in the fall of 2005, when I was trying to teach myself how to knit continental from a book, I spent some time knitting at a Timothy's downtown without the book I was learning from. This was just when I had mastered the knit stitch and was going to tackle the purl. So, I decided that I was going to make up the purl stitch on my own. It was going to take some time, but I was sure I could figure it out. And so I did. Or thought I did, until I noticed that all my knit stitches were twisted. Then I realized that I was looping the yarn in the back the wrong way. Must be the wrong way, I told myself, or my stitches wouldn't be twisted. 30 minutes later, I figured out what was wrong and trained my fingers to do an awkward twist to loop the yarn the right way. I went home and checked the book and lo and behold, it was right. Hooray for me.
Fast forward to nearly 10 months or so later, when in a moment of having not much to do and nothing on tv to watch, I decided to learn combined knitting. I've been wondering about it ever since hearing an interview with Annie Modesitt on KnitCast. [She said that her first sweater was made in one weekend. G was so impressed that he asked me why I don't learn to do it that way and knit faster.]
I cast on for a swatch and after working two rows, one knit and one purl; and one more knit. I could be heard to exclaim: "Holy crap! It is faster!!" G chuckles from the bedroom since he also remembers me talking about how much faster continental is compared to English. But really! this is even faster since it saves even more movement! Purl row: The awkward scoop that I'm doing on the purl stitch is very familiar. In fact, it's the same one I made up or discovered back in the day at the coffee shop with my cup of coffee! Only this time, it was 'right'. The 'twisted' stitches get untwisted in the next row! Eureka! Then it hits me, had I not been so stuck on the fact that the 'knit' was correct, and so this way to purl was wrong, I might have been encouraged to fix my 'knit' instead of fixing my 'purl'. Might I have discovered combined knitting a whole 6 months earlier? In any event, my fingers have got to learn this new awkward purl scoop now. Practice makes perfect, and I might just knit the next project with Combined Knitting.
Another note: I'm knitting a swatch using cotton. Very unforgiving for learning. While there's been some gauge inconsistencies with continental knitting, [Yarn Boy], even in this cotton swatch, this gauge is looking good. Smooth and even. Impressive start I say!Resources:
As I said, the next skills were to be color work: Intersia and Fair Isle. Here are those impressions:
- Intersia is not as much fun as I had hoped, but the nice blocks of colors are nice.
- All the balls of yarn twisting and twisting on bobbins with Intersia drives me nuts. Part of the reason why I don't find it as much fun as I had hoped.
- Fair Isle is a lot of fun, but I think that's partly due to the knitting with one yarn in each hand that I now can do since I know how to knit both English and Continental. Now I look at Fair Isle patterns with new interest!