Monday, March 09, 2009

Knitting Stubbornly; Or, How I Chose To Gracefully Ignore

I've been described (by a few people) as stubborn. In line with my usual attempts to make a definite negative into a possible (though questionable) positive, here is my list of knitting skills/techniques and other bobs that I've chosen to "gracefully ignore", and (if appropriate) the way I've gotten myself around them.
(lest you think I'm a whiner who constantly and consistantly avoids, stay tuned for tomorrow's post where I'll outline all the skillz I forced myself to learn, and why I'm really glad I did).

Avoidance #1: The Steek
I've not gotten over the *gasp* of cutting one's own, precious, knitting. Admittedly, this is basically because I haven't looked into the steeking process all that much.
Way I've gotten around it: choosing not to knit the beautiful knits that take advantage of this particular technique. Yes, not the greatest knit-role model ever, but there it is. I'll add this caveat: steeking is on my list of things to accomplish this year.

Avoidance #2: The Set-In Sleeve
or, more specifically, Designing the Set-In Sleeve. I've knit them before, but have not chosen to master the (most probably) simple mathematical equations required to skilfully manufacture a sleeve that sets in how it's supposed to. Let alone re-size a knit to make sure that a sleeve will set in how it's supposed to.
Way I've gotten around it: the wonders of the raglan. Knitting garments (wonderfully) have numerous ways of construction. My current favourite is the bottom-up raglan. This happily avoids the set-in sleeve math, as well as decreasing and all seaming!

Avoidance #3: The Throwing-Your-Yarn Technique
or, Knitting English Style
This skill, I understand, is particularly helpful when one is creating a colourwork knit (in tandem with the continental method).
Way I've gotten around it: plugging along with my yarn-pickin' method, generally inducing an aversion to said knitting style.

Avoidance #4: The Sock
While I hear that "there's nothing like a hand-knit sock", I ask, why invest so much time (precious, precious knitting time) and yarn into a garment who's job it is to clothe a foot, absorb it's gross sweat and icky smell, and in many cases ultimately not last all too long due to hole create-age from constant walk-age?

Avoidance #5: The Beautiful Shawls
Yes yes, I've fallen into this trap before. And I have an awful lot of shawls queued. But I've learned this about myself: shawls are just generally not for me. Though I love their beauty so.
Ways I've gotten around it: in this case, I need to let some of the lace-knitting desire out. I try to integrate it into my other, more wearable knits. But I also have plans for a rather large, possibly tedious, lace project for my impending nuptials (stay tuned for that one).

Avoidance #6: The Variegated Yarn
Recently blogged about by the wonderful Cyn, I must address the sneaky tactics of the alluringly lovely variegated yarn. Sitting in their hank, they beckon the colour-file knitter with their gorgeousness. But be forewarned! They never, ever, turn out the way your idealistic knit-brain imagines they will.
Ways I've gotten around it: I have a rule, and it's a very sad one indeed. I am not, under any circumstances, allowed to purchase variegated yarn.


Rosie said...

nuptials? You getting married?

Clumsy Knitter said...

I am SO not a lacy shawl person either, but I love knitting them! My workaround is to just let them pile up until I find someone who needs a gift. I may have to contact the local retirement community soon to see if they want any!

Ellen said...

Eeek! You're getting married?!
I can't wait to hear more (about the lace project too!). :P

Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree on the socks issue.

andrea said...

You know what! I am not into any of these techniques/things either!! I think it's ok to be a Serious Knitter and still not do the same things other knitters do, you know? (I really like lace, though; I incorporate it into hats and cowls and scarves a lot. Try it!)

Chrispy said...

I am with you on some of those avoidances. I haven't steeked. Its on my to-do list. The shawl and the varigated yarn not for the foot, both baffle my brain.

I prefer raglan or set-in sleeves so I've been forcing myself to learn the math for the set-in sleeve.

I've thrown and picked my whole knitting life because I learned to do colorwork almost at the starting gate and didn't know any better. The pattern said use one color in one hand and one in the other and so I went for it. Never knew it was hard till recently, but I'm currently learning to do colorwork with both yarns in my picking hand for the tapestry cowl.

I only know about the sock because I refused to knit my husband a sweater. he's a skinny 6 ft dude. Well he didn't like the first pair I made which I'm amazed he still wears, but I did learn a few things on how to keep holes at bay.

1. knit at a tighter gauge. there is this magical place where you knit tighter and the gauge goes from purl bumps bitting into your fingers when you squish it to being soft as squishy as you get tighter. This supposedly keeps those princess soles happy and helps the pure merino socks hold up to excessive wear. So far I've been wearing socks for more than a year with this philosphy and its been holding up with no holes.

2. knit with negative ease. about 10% unless you have thin feet (A/B width and then you knit at about 20% negative ease). This stops the foot from sliding around in said sock and creating friction which also helps quicken sock holiness.

Hilary said...

Pending nuptials?! My goodness, congratulations!!!

I'm right there with you on #'s 2, 4, and 6. But I am DETERMINED to learn to design set-in sleeves this year. If I come upon any magical formulae that make everything clear, I'll surely pass them along to you!

Teresa said...

Thanks all :) I am engaged, though the wedding isn't for many, many months yet.
Chrispy, thanks for the sock tips! I knew there had to be some tricks out there :)

Susan said...

Congratulations! Marriage is in the air on blogs these days...I just got back from my good friend's wedding and I've heard of a few others lately, too.

I am SOOOOO preparing to do steeks for a vest I want to make. Keeping my fingers crossed.

LittleCanoe said...

Congrats! I'm so excited for you. Thanks for the encouragement, but I still can't get into the provisional cast on, I think I'm too lazy;) Grrrrowl!

Jessi said...

I'm with you on pretty much all of these. Steeks are a scary thought, but you just have to use a nice "grabby" yarn. For set-in sleeves, if you don't own a copy of The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns by Ann Budd, I highly suggest you run out & get it. It gives you a good general framework to design sweaters around based on sleeve type. Knitted socks can be really nice & warm, though I don't think I would get much use out of a shawl. I also can't knit English style anymore...I know how to, but Continental is just so much faster. And I don't think I'll ever like variegated yarns, unless I'm making a scarf with a neat stitch pattern that might be enhanced by different colors running through it. :)

Anonymous said...

I love knitting two handed. Once you get the rythym, it's not at all hard. It feels somehow very efficient, doing so much at once. I don't "get" socks. Too hard to show off in daily wear.
I do not like lace. I cannot tell where I am.
Congrats on the engagement!