Monday, January 08, 2007

Listening to my hands

First off, ta-da. Sort of. This will be swimming in the lily pond soon.

A complete non sequitur here, inspired by trying to photograph this thing. Do people realize this is extremely pointy knitting? Do sock knitters do this all the time? It's like knitting a spider shooting out two strands of webbing. Greek Mythology got it wrong. Arachne wasn't a spinner. She was a knitter. A circular knitter on DPN's in point of fact. A stranded-colorworking-circular-knitter to be most precise.

To return, I have attempted stranded colorwork. The key word is "attempted." It wasn't pretty or pleasant. But then, my learning experiences so seldom are. Some people you have to hit over the head with a brick and all that. It has, however, been fraught with new neural connections. I do love the figuring things out part.

I am a two-handed stranded-colorworker. Trying to carry both colors in one hand was so cognitively dissonant, I almost had a breakdown right there at the kitchen table.

I may have figured out my problem with continental knitting- I twisted my stitches. When I picked up the yarn from my left hand, my stitches ended up with the leading leg at the back instead of the front, which made them harder to knit. If it's harder to get at and through the stitch, I figure I'm doing something wrong. It was true for learning to cast on. It was true for learning yarn-overs and ssks and k2togs. If I'm trying to remember the past, that I not be condemned to repeat it, I think I'll allow that it was true for the way I was catching the yarn from my left hand. After spending an embarrassing amount of time staring at my hands, wondering what they thought they were doing, I realized there was more than one way to pick up the yarn. I get so smug when I'm right.

I don't seem to have tension issues. It's nice and stretchy. The strands all seem pretty uniform - not the length, which is pattern dependent, but the way the yarn lays. An unexpected and pleasant surprise, given what I've been learning about my gauge lately.

That's the good part. It's still destined to be tadpole fodder. Because of this.

While I have figured out how to knit Continental-ly, I still need to figure out how to purl. That or switch the yarns, MC to my right and CC to my left.

And then there's this.

Must listen to my hands. I will repeat this until I get it: I can trust my muscle memory. If it feels wrong when I knit it, it probably is wrong.

So, why did it take me 3 1/2 rows to figure out why this was so hard? And why did I persist in knitting, albeit correctly, the remaining seven rows of the repeat once I knew the first 3 were wrong?

Some people you have to hit over the head with a brick. Some of us you have to hit with a BIG brick.

Post Script.

2) Snow Cat mined my archives and left a comment there asking about the Tree of Life pattern I used on one of my Mason-Dixon towels. His/her Blogger profile doesn't have an email address, and Blogger doesn't allow direct replies to comment emails, but I don't believe in not answering questions. It's from Debbie Bliss' How to Knit book. I find her didactic attitude to the right and wrong way to knit annoying, so I only use it for the stitch dictionary she includes. The pattern is, however, apparently a common motif for Aran and fisherman's ganseys/sweaters, so you might be able to find it in a pattern book.

1 comment:

diane h said...

I hesitate to guess what the error in picture #3 is

Don't frog it until after I see it!

I am going to PT for my knitter's elbow.