posts tagged: techniques

how I knit


I’m always fascinated by the thousands of different ways there are to knit. People learn from books, from teachers, from grandmothers, from mothers. We all make it comfortable for us, in our own ways.

My mom taught me to knit when I was about 8 years old. She knits English, so that’s how I knit. But even then we knit differently—back then, we only had straight needles (long ones!), and mom tucks the needle into the crook of her elbow, something I find impossibly awkward. I’ve since moved exclusively to circular needles, and after taking a class (in double knitting, natch!) at Stitches East, in which I sat next to a woman who knit Continental, I’ve switched to knitting with my left hand. (So I’m a completely self-taught Continental knitter—I saw it in action out of the corner of my eye, and I just unvented it for myself when I was back home.)

I’ve mentioned before, but I’ll say it again: Making the switch to Continental was really rather difficult. Getting an even gauge and even feeling comfortable with the motion (heck, remembering to knit Continental, and not just go back to the old way) took a lot of time. The payoff is so so worth it, though—I’d been a quick knitter before, but I’m lightning-fast now. And since I’m a product knitter, I like speed. (I’m also just an impatient person, so speed works for my personality.)

Here’s a video of me knitting. I don’t try to show you how to form a stitch, I don’t explain how I wrap the yarn: I am just working on my project. Note: This isn’t only knitting—I’m doing a k10, p1. Because purling looks so wacked out, and because I didn’t want people to be confused and think I was actually knitting the entire time, I say “purl” when I get to the purl. (So those of you who haven’t purchased the Tapestry Cowl or who don’t know me in person will get to hear my voice! If I sound stuffy, it’s fall allergy season.)

It’s funny to watch it and dissect the actions. Damn, I move the tips of my index fingers a LOT! Much more than I thought I did. In all the various times I’ve taught someone to knit, I’ve noticed more and more quirks to my style—how I hold the stitch I just knit with the tip of my right index finger. But there are some things I’d never realized until today—I feed myself more yarn by lightly pressing the middle finger of my left hand against the yarn.

I just filmed three short videos showing my technique in slower-motion—more of a tutorial on my version of Continental—with the aim to share that with you, too, but I’m having trouble getting them up onto the web. (And putting all 4 in one post might have been too much for the blog, anyway!) I hope I’ll be able to share them soon.

Knitting is so visual, and yet we rarely take the time to really look at how we do it. I’m loving making these little videos, and I hope to include video with all my future patterns so that the patterns are as clear as possible. But I maybe need some actual video editing software—as it is, I’m uploading straight out of the camera! Does anyone have a suggestion for something easy and, preferably, free?

a tale of two onesies


Yesterday, my friend L and I got together for a crafting afternoon. Our mission? Freezer paper stenciling onesies. i’m sure there are tutorials out there on the web, but I didn’t quickly find one when I briefly looked for it, so here is my brief guide to using freezer paper stencils to paint adorableness onto clothing. It’s super easy, and you’ll figure it out yourself, but it’s nice to know you’re on the right track, I think.

it’s begun!

social knitting

The Shocking! Skirt is in the works. There are no good pictures in the magazine or online anywhere to help me out with any close-up details of this thing. I’ve completed one panel, and it’s going well–the skirt is pretty straightforward–but I hit a small snag and as a result I’m rejiggering the pattern a bit. Annie and I dissected and discussed it tonight, and I feel pretty confident with my new direction. I’ll give full notes upon completion, especially because by then I’ll know for sure if it’s a good change.

about the picot edge

Just so I’m clear–which I definitely wasn’t in the last post–the picot edging I did was a simple, no-fuss, picot bindoff. Yeah, I italicize a single word and think I’ve made the entire situation clear. But I didn’t do some fancy picot edging, I bound off into picots.

Still saying “dude, you are using synonyms here”? Yeah, I am. I can do better.

left-leaning radical

Now that I’m redoing the Sunrise, I’ve decided to work on all the little things that could have been done better the first time around. I’m also being as OCD as humanly possible—I’ve already taken part of the sleeve out once! (I forgot which M1 was R and which was L, but went ahead without checking, and turned out to have had them backward. This would have meant nothing in the grand scheme, but I wanted it to be right. My boyfriend gave me an intense ironic face and said “this is for your mother. are you going to settle?” :) ). So anyway, fixing the k2togtbls is a high priority, because they’re all fat and ugly in the original (look along the right shoulder of the jacket, to the left in the photo, here)—it’s a constant problem for me all the time with those ssk/k2togtbl decreases.

I knit up a swatch, and here it is: