UndyedYarnpire’s Fiber Opera

July 28, 2009


Filed under: stuff — UndyedYarnpire @ 9:23 pm

This is another of those boring updates that I am certain no one reads or cares about.

I finished swatching on the Mountain Colors Barefoot yarn. Have not found a stitch motif that pleases me yet, though I did find several that were close.

I have worked on more of my sweater. The transition point between the first two balls of yarn is not visibly obvious, so I am very pleased.

I washed and dried some yarn, including the birthday fiber yarn. Which was good because I was able to show it to the giver when she visited.

I think I have become an intermediate knitter. I am now fast enough at the plainwork that anything fancy is excruciatingly slow. Before I was so slow anyway that adding cables did not make much overall difference and the finished product seemed more worthy of my time. Now I know enough how to select stitch motifs which will not slow me down as much (easy to memorize, good rhythm, less purl-knit transitions) that I can create fancier things with less suffering on my part. But the cables are very slow.

I think I am going to try to learn Continential knitting. I did figure it out, but it is not something I can do comfortably for a long time. I really dislike holding the yarn in my left hand. I have been wondering if I might prefer left-handed Continental knitting. Then the same hand which normally holds the yarn would hold the yarn. It seems like a useful skill, the Continental knitting, but going from a process where the left hand could be replaced with a clamp to something where the left hand has complete control over yarn feed… that is not going to work out well. It seems like if Continential is so vastly superior that we should not be teaching the other method at all and the Continential should have taken a lot more primary focus in books. But then again, most sock books were still teaching cuff down (without tubular cast on, so it was not like they gained anything in terms of technique)  and butt-flap heeled socks until about this year. In fact Cookie A’s book with the cuff-down butt-flap socks is constantly touted by Amazon’s recommendations engine even now. So maybe what is being promoted is just wrong.



  1. >So maybe what is being promoted is just wrong.

    After coming back from the library today, which has tons of books just five years old featuring lumpy scarves and boxy sweaters, I can attest to how fashions change.

    As to Continental being superior or not, I think it’s like the metric system in the US: it’s more efficient, but that’s not enough to win people away from the method their friends and family have used for as long as they can remember. Personally, I love knitting Continental, but I switch off for different types of tasks. Compared to Continental knitting, English-style “throwing” makes for a death grip on the yarn, which is why it hurts my hand so much more — but for slippery yarns or bobbles, that death grip means a lot more control.

    Eh, it’s just knitting — there’s no “one true way,” y’know?

    Comment by Arlette — August 11, 2009 @ 4:50 pm

    • I think we should not be teaching the non-metric method in schools any longer. If people still think their children need to know miles and inches and pounds and pints, then they can teach it at home like the anachronism it is.

      People teaching beginning knitting should be teaching non-throwing. Though admittedly extra control when I was first starting out was crucial. I guess trying to teach a child to Continental knit with cheap metal needles would make anyone rip out their hair.

      I do not have a death grip on the yarn, but I usually have to go down 2 or 3 needle sizes to get a similar gauge with a given yarn. It was the pulling-tight part that really caused me pain. Followed by the effort to get the needle into loops when the previous row was too tight.

      There are still people who like boxy sweaters and lumpy scarves. Eventually they progress. I remember not being able to imagine wanting to knit something with a “fingering” weight yarn because I would be knitting on it for a year. Now I cannot imagine using bulky weight acrylic for anything other than as a substitute for packing peanuts.

      But I still like boxy sweaters…. eventually I will want a shaped sweater, but I suspect I will need to be an advanced knitter before then since I have never ever seen a sweater pattern that would actually fit me that has tailored shaping. All the really fancy shaping sweaters are for tall skinny women. I have the height of an average 11-year-old, so everything is weird looking on me.

      Comment by UndyedYarnpire — August 11, 2009 @ 5:26 pm

  2. heh–I can’t knit properly using either Continental or English; instead of cocking one finger for yarn tension, I use a modified English style that involves just holding the yarn between thumb and one finger. The stitches come out even (with recommended needle and yarn sizes), and I can k3tog / sssk, though obviously it’d fail on anything where correct gauge involved very loose stitches on smallish needles (some kinds of lace) because it’d be hard to keep things even then. And it lets me use my wrist or even shoulder to move the yarn, instead of my poor hypermobile fingers. eh. Whatever works.

    Comment by skg — August 12, 2009 @ 12:01 pm

    • Definitely whatever works. If it makes you happy with the results and you can keep doing it, great.

      I resent having to purl because the transition between knit and purl for a thrower is really awkward. It takes fully as much motion as a complete stitch. So a k-p-k-p is going to take about 4 times as long as a run of all knit. I think there should be a way to optimize for myself so I do not feel limited by my methodology.

      Comment by UndyedYarnpire — August 12, 2009 @ 12:55 pm

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