Thursday, January 31, 2008
Yesterday I was mulling over my recent activities and asked myself "But is it knitting?" Which lead to an examination of what I consider "knitting". I realized that perhaps my personal definition of knitting was narrow, possibly too narrow. For many years, my definition of knitting has been restricted to knitting a clearly identifiable object such as socks, sweaters, etc.
Swatching didn’t count because it wasn’t an actual object to me; nothing useful, just a swatch. Still, while swatching I am engaged in the act of knitting. It provides me with the same tactile and calming experience I get as knitting a sweater. I can experiment with different size needles and play with stitch patterns if I want to without disrupting the shape. After all, it is only a swatch and there is not right or wrong place on a swatch to try something new. I am more likely while swatching to ask what happens if I change this and do it than when knitting an object. Although, the exception might be socks, which I frequently cast on without a clear idea of the final design.
So what about recalculating a pattern for a different gauge? Or writing an original pattern? Are these knitting? I suppose in a technical sense these aren’t knitting because they don’t necessarily involve sticks and string. The more I pondered this I came to realize that these are “knitting” in the broadest sense of what knitting comprises. I’m employing my knowledge of garment construction, fit and behavior of knitted fabric, all acquired through many years of knitting and tweaking patterns. I am imagining the outcome of such changes just as I imagine the outcome when faithfully following a pattern. I am knitting the item in my head. I am experiencing the satisfaction of problem solving; bring an idea to life by using acquired knowledge directly related to knitting. It is only missing the tactile qualities I so enjoy.
If I can’t imagine that sweater and work out how to construct it, I won’t enjoy the actual knitting—I also can’t enjoy the feel of yarn in my hands, the clacking of needles or the quiet state of mind I get when I actually knit.
So for now on, when I think about whether or not I’ve been knitting, I will consider all of the aspects of that thing called knitting.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Yes, I'm lifting the format from Brooklyn Tweed. I followed the pattern as written since the construction is a bit unusual. If I were to knit this again, I would make the collar about 3/4" shorter. This is a relatively easy pattern, using make 1 increases and k2tog and ssk decreases to provide the shaping. The center front and back rib panels are knit as one piece. You pick up stitches along each side for the sides and sleeves. It only has two seams. This is the first Norah Gaughan I've knitted and I love how clever this is.
In addition to finishing the sweater, I started teaching my daughter to sew. We picked out fabric for a pencil skirt at Piedmont Fabric. I came home and got an old friend out of the closet.
My Bernina, which has not seen the light of day in about two years. Which is somewhat surprising because I used to make most of my clothes. Before we started the sewing lesson, I got my fabric stash out (it's quite small and fits in a large storage bin, which was not the case years ago). We looked at the stashed fabric and my daughter claimed several pieces for herself, which is fine because someone should use it. I got out some fat quarters for her to practice sewing seams on. Then we moved on to the pattern stash, which sadly is very small compared to the stash I had before my divorce. The best find in the patterns was a discontinued Vogue pattern by Issey Miyake for a raincoat. I don't think the sewing machine is going back in the closet for a long time because I want to sew!
Friday, January 25, 2008
I cast on and started knitting my red beret as soon as the yarn had dried. Only thing is I didn't like it as a red beret--a project that went straight to the frog pond.
Friday, January 18, 2008
This is what the sleeve and side look like laid flat plus a close up of the sleeve ribbing.
Oh, and I've been spinning. This is the targhee I bought in September. It was a dream to spin. The fiber was ultra clean and drafted easily. I loved the way this felt in my hands. Little fluffy clouds of softness. I had 6 oz. so I spun up three bobbins of singles and then made a 3-ply yarn, which yielded approximately 210 yards. I had some left on two bobbins and made that up as 2-ply, giving me approximately 80 yards. I would really like to spin more of this fiber. Not that I need to add any more fiber to the stash!