Monday, October 10, 2005

Square one

I admit it. Ever since I saw a woman knitting much faster than me a few weeks ago, I've been worried (read: slightly obsessed) about my knitting speed. I mean, much more stress-free would I be if I could accomplish projects in a fraction of the time they take now? Or, more realistically, how many more projects could I get done every year if my knitting speed got ramped up significantly? It boggles the mind.

So I finally bit the bullet and really started looking into moving from the 'throwing' method of knitting to the 'picking' method. I looked at the videos for Continental knitting at (a fantastic resource, BTW). I also looked at the combination knitting method at Annie Modesitt's website.

Result: I've been practicing the combined knitting method all weekend. I cannot tell you how damn awkward my hands and fingers feel. I sure have new-found respect for new knitters, lemme tell ya - I mean, I remember how awkward I felt when I started knitting way back when, but actually experiencing it all over again brings new meaning to the crappiness of the process.

Frankly, I'm working on total faith that this will get easier, smoother and faster. I keep experimenting with ways to hold the yarn so that I don't completely feel like a fish out of water. This morning I think I may have hit upon a good way. It's kind of weird, and involves wrapping the yarn around my wrist a little bit, but I am a firm believer in the 'who cares how ugly it is if it works for you and you're producing knitting' philosophy.

On the plus side, I can easily see how this method is going to speed things up for me. Almost right out of the gate I was able to average a little over two seconds per stitch, which I think is pretty damn good time for a beginner. So I continue to practice and hope that I'll get better. I've also recommended the method to my mom, who is a crocheter. The movements you use in 'picking' seem more crochet-compatible to me, so I figure she might hate knitting less if she did it this way. Also, I've recommended it to my husband, who is far too new a knitter to have gotten used to the throwing method yet. (But if he attains high speed before I do as we both learn combined knitting, I may have to kill him.)

Stay tuned.

Stornaway sweater for BIL (blue)
I just finished it. Hear that? I JUST FINISHED IT!!!

It looks so good, it almost doesn't need to be blocked. However, although the body spreads out very nicely on its own, the sleeves are really rumply, width-wise, and really do need to be blocked so that the patterns are visible. I'm thinking more of the spray-and-pin or damp-towel-on-top sort of blocking for this rather than the full soak - I don't think it needs the total immersion.

However, I'm going to check this off as 'complete' anyway, because hey let's face it, when it comes right down to it, this sucker is done. Yippee!

Post-blocking photos (including one of my husband modelling the sweater, since he and BIL are of comparable sizes) to come.

Secret Garden cardigan for niece
I finished the body of the cardigan on Saturday:

Then I began the sleeves. I am doing the intelligent thing and am knitting both sleeves simultaneously. This means it takes longer to see sleeve progress, but the advantage is that there will be no Second Sleeve Letdown, which I despise. The sleeves currently look like this:

Nothing exciting yet, I've still got about 30 rows to go until the cap shaping, but hey, progress is progress.

1 comment:

The J said...

Yeah on the Stornaway! I've been watching it's progress in awe - so far I've only done men's socks, and they're already too huge!

I'm lucky to have been taught knitting by my German mother, and learned continental from the beginning - throwing looks like it takes a lot of energy. But I did teach myself to type using the Dvorak keyboard to speed up my typing and save my wrists, so I know the frustration of becoming a beginner all over again... after 3 weeks of cursing, I was so glad I did it! You may however be slightly crazy taking this up while trying to complete that many presents on time :P.

(btw, I'm tumblina on TB - that's how I found you!)