Monday, May 02, 2005

What? Knitting?

Yes, occasionally.


This is the beginnings of a shawl. You can see the square neckline, and the increases (I hope, it's a dark photo).

I'm using the shape of the Irish Diamond Shawl from Cheryl Oberle's Folk Shawls, but not the lace patterning. I'm not really a lace kinda gal, but a comfy garter stitch shawl has been beckoning. It's a good travel project, and a good travel shawl, both of which make it perfect for now, as travel season begins.

I made the stitch markers, but (duh) totally forgot about them, and initially used those plastic thingys one can buy. I remembered these, though, and retrieved them. I made them a few years ago, as gifts for knitting friends, but being so not much a knitter, I'd never used them. They're cool!


The yarn is wool, a 3 ply, spun from Polwarth roving from Francine at Rovings. But yes, I overdyed it. In the picture below you can see the original roving, and the yarn overdyed (with fuschia, magenta, whatever you might call it: WashFast red #338). Francine had this roving at SOAR 2004, and I bought it, but I wanted more red. I am not above overdyeing *anything*; wool, yarn, finished goods, even clothing I buy, if it is not quite the right color.


I *do* knit, and have for many years (28, to be exact). But I've only ever knit with my own handspun (which is why I learned, to begin with) and thus have always made up patterns as I go. I have a drawer full of vests, and several drawers of sweaters. I've given away several handspun handknit sweaters when the drawers got too full.

For all of that, I do not think of myself as a knitter. I make this stuff up. I do a gauge swatch, then I do the math, use simple shapes and knit on. Elizabeth Zimmermann was, as you may have guessed, an early influence. But I'd like to advance my skills, understand shaping a little better, and learn details I've overlooked. So I am learning to follow patterns, rather than just use them as inspiration.

I have taken a few knitting classes, and I cannot tell you how inadequate I feel. The most common comment I hear when I knit in public is *shall I show you how to do that right?*. I'm not kidding.

I took a *learn two-handed two-strand knitting* class from Anna Zilboorg (a very nice, and interesting woman) and struggled through the class, but did not practice enough to actually use the technique.

But I persevere. I don't teach knitting, it is not the focus of my *work* so to speak (I sometimes have to laugh when I describe what I do as *work*. It is so far from it). I want to think like a knitter, though. I equate it with architectural thinking: spatial relations. I can do that (think like an architect), so I have hope.

Until then, I knit on. Garter stitch, and a flat shawl, no less.


Blogger claudia said...

Is there a *right way*? Darn. After 22 years at this game, I did not know that.

Slackers are we.

12:11 PM  
Blogger Valerie said...

I can't resist given the recent Interweave knits blog entry...


so you won't be writing a knitting book?

Your knitting is lovely. I purchased some of Francine's roving titled Prairie sunrise that is similar to your finished yarn. There's a tad more orange in your red...mine leans more toward the purples.

2:09 PM  
Blogger Spindlers2 said...

Garter stitch shawls are very fine things! I won't hear a word against them.

2:29 PM  

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