Life's Little Details: Knitting, Sewing, Green Living, Frugal Living and Cooking In A Little Corner of Southern French Countryside.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Who Knew? (a.k.a. You're Doing It Wrong)

So, I've been knitting for about 4 1/2 to 5 years now, and I had a knitting ephiphany today. I went over to Louise's house this morning to pick up some yarn she got me while in the US a couple weeks ago and just chit-chat in general. We had a lovely time talking shop. I rarely get the opportunity to knit with anyone else, so it was a real treat (even if I only got about a row and a half knit).

She's a Continental knitter like I am, and long ago, the first time I went to her house, I noticed she knitted differently than I do (or, at least, I thought I noticed that). It was subtle, though, so I couldn't quite figure out what gave me that impression. Fast forward a couple of years to today... I showed her a sock whose mate I needed to finish. She liked the yarn's colorway, but upon closer inspection, she noticed my stitches were twisted. She pointed this out to me, and I told her I was well aware of this, and, by the way, isn't that what everyone gets when they knit in the round?? Apparently not. This is where the "Who knew?" part of this post title comes in. Yeah, did I mention that I have been knitting for almost 5 years now? And, do I need to tell you that sock wasn't my first experience knitting in the round? Since I have never really had the pleasure of knitting in another Continental knitter's presence (busy lives mean that Louise and I, though we live in villages 10 minutes from each other, don't see each other often), I had no idea knitting in the round shouldn't twist your stitches. Let me reiterate: who knew?

I've had people tell me I knit funny before (notably my mother-in-law), but since they were all holding the yarn in their right hands and wrapping it, I figured that me holding it in my left and picking was what they saw as strange. Maybe it was more than that, after all. As it turns out, I was "doing it wrong." Or, at least, I wasn't doing it the way the book I originally learned from would have had me knit. I did a little research this evening, and I learned that, in fact, I am a "Combined Knitter." Whaddaya know? I even studied one of my books really closely tonight to see what I was doing differently, and realized I can knit the way those books want me to, but why on earth would I want to? It feels so fiddly. And, hey, added bonus! Apparently, combination knitting is not so rough on the wrists. I'm all for that. I'll be knitting well into old age (am I jinxing myself here??), laughing at all you sorry "normal" knitters rubbing your aching wrists.

Knowing that I recently read in IK that Annie Modesitt is a combined knitter, I flew on over to her site for information on knitting "properly" in the round. I'll have to give that one a try. This information couldn't come at a better time, too, because it'd be nice to use my new-found knowledge when knitting the Deep V Argyle Vest I'm planning to start soon. The only problem is that I'll have to knit yet another swatch just to make sure this change in the way I knit a stitch (not twisting them) doesn't drastically change my gauge (though, I suspect it could at least a little). As for my twisted socks, though, I'll be knitting the second sock of the two pairs I've got started twisted like their mates.

So, what's the moral to this story? I'm not really sure if there is one, aside from restating what we already knew: I'm weird (and it even shows when I knit).

In other, less epiphanical (is that a word??) news, I have FINALLY finished the center square of that baby shawl I began so long ago. I looks like maybe Lambchop #3 has a chance of using this thing in her lifetime, after all. I'm thinking I may actually block it before attempting to pick up stitches around the edges for the next section. For some reason, it seems to me that it may be easier to pick them up after blocking. And, besides, I'm just really anxious to see this thing blocking, so I'm willing to cheat a little and block a section even if the whole thing's not yet done.