Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Craft of Knitting

Since I've become addicted to knitting, I've dedicated a fair amount of time to learning all I can about the craft. I have learned the different techniques of knitting and tried them out. (I am a devout combination thrower knitter - it's just the way my hands work. If I use a fine yarn knit at a loose gague, I can pick instead of throw, but it takes more concentration.) I have knit scarves, mittens, baby blankets, hats, socks (ok, one and a half socks), bags, and a sweater. I have knit with wool, cotton, angora, novelty yarn, and a whole mess of blended yarns. I can use straight, circular, and double pointed needles. I know how to do cables. I know how to graft. I've done a little fair isle and a little more intarsia - enough to know that I prefer one color of yarn at a time. I've followed patterns and I've designed some of my own projects. I have crossed a significant line: I bought yarn with no intended project in mind.

So I'm on to the literature. Of course, I've read Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's books, and Sally Melville's books. Love them. I watch and read Vicki Howell's Knitty Gritty stuff. I love looking at Erica Knight's books, as well as Debbie Bliss's baby book. I've looked through Mason Dixon Knitting, Stitch n Bitch Nation, and domiKNITrix. I am loving the Harry Potter Charmed Knits book (thanks again, Tina!). And I read Annie Modesitt's blog - she's the biggest promoter of combination knitting out there.

But I am finding out that these are all new knitters. To get to some classic knitting wisdom, I have checked out Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac. I love her. Her patterns are more like having tea with an older knitter who is teaching you a craft, not a pattern. She's not just showing you how to make a sweater, she's training you to be a better knitter. But it's even more than that. During the instructions for making a patchwork blanket, she shares some insight for learning to read and knit at the same time (!!!), and tells a story about how she learned to read and knit at the same time while reading aloud to her kids, which produced three children who love to read. See? It's knitting training and parenting advice in the middle of the blanket pattern!

So, I'm making big steps in my knitting education, but I'm not done. I don't think I'll ever be done, which is part of the appeal of knitting. There is always more.

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