Tuesday, November 17, 2009

66% Unaware!

I spent the better part of Monday listening to the Knit Pick’s podcast. It has been about 6 months since I listened with any sort of regularity so I had some catching up to do. I ended the workday feeling more inspired to knit big projects than I have in months, years even. I can really see some gapping holes in my knitting knowledge that I was completely unaware of. Ok not completely but at least 66% unaware of.

The first area is general sweater construction. Knitting sweaters in pieces and seeming has been the way I’ve constructed all but 2 sweaters. For some reason the magazines all seem to think that panels and seems are the way to go. I’m really starting to wonder if this is correct. Elizabeth Zimmerman gave us the Elizabeth's Percentage System Sweater and wonders like the Baby Surprise Jacket. I am missing out on a whole area of knowledge that accompanies knitting garments in the round and converting patterns to do so. Part of my sock addition is that I can simple go in circles for hours and never ‘purl back’. Perhaps I’d knit more sweaters if the ‘purling back’ step is eliminated.

The second area is steeking. Yes, I’ve steeked. 4 times on one vest to be exact. And I’m not-uncomfortable doing so. But I’m also not using them as I should. Steeks are another opportunity to turn flat knitting into circular knitting. At the moment I can’t think of anything I’ve knit recently that would’ve benefited from knitting in the round with steeks but I will make an effort to use it more going forward. Cutting isn’t scary!

Finally, is the area I’ve been avoiding. The type of knitting I’ve purposely looked away from and plugged my ears singing lalalalala I don’t see you. Lace. There are so many benefits to lace knitting, the biggest being that it forces me to full grasp SSK & K2tog, which goes which way, and most importantly to read charts. I’m not a big fan of charts or intricate work. But The Communicator’s Hemlock Ring Blanket is knit with Bulky yarn and has 4 rounds of Stockinett stitch. That can’t be too difficult. Sweetie’s Mom knit a worsted weight triangular shawl that I loved. And even as we speak a friend who has been knitting for close to 60 years is attempting her first lace project with great success. I’ve tried lace before with tiny nickel needles. It was too slippery and too unruly. But if I’m smart about this and use wood with a nice flexible cable I should be able to handle it. Afterall, lace knitting isn’t about fun for me, socks weren’t either when I started. Lace knitting is about improving my skills and trying new things.

I’m thinking that my first step is to challenge myself to knit one of Elizabeth's Percentage System Sweater for myself. It doesn’t need to be fashionable, just warm. It’s a garment to learn construction not highlight my ability to craft stitches. Now where is that book? Somewhere in the yarn closet I’m sure. I remember the black and white diagrams and tiny pages of newsprint type paper.

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