Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Thanks to my friend Pat

This is hard, I have so many things I want to say, but I am not good with words. Pat is a lovely lady, kind and generous, clever, creative and great fun to chat with. We met while the kids were in Karate class. I enjoyed watching her knit these really cool socks, and I admired her lovely hand knit sweaters. Pat always said "it's easy!" and "you can learn on the Web, check out KnittingHelp.com". She was right, for the most part. Knitting basically is easy. There are only 2 stitches to learn and a couple of extras such as casting on, increases and decreases. But what isn't so easy is all the intricacies of knitting, that only a seasoned knitter would know.

I enjoy sharing our projects with each other and I learn something new from her all the time. The last time we got together, was grand! I really loved seeing and touching her fabulous knits and quilts, including a big box of socks! I learned something quite valuable about knitting at this last visit.

Simply put I was knitting TOO tight. That doesn't sound like much, but when I looked at her knits, you can really see the loft of the yarn. I was knitting so tightly that I was stretching out my yarn. Now, when they say to check gauge (which I always do) they tell you to adjust needle size to obtain correct guage. When I would change needle size I would end up with "open" stitches, yuck and would always opt for the smaller needle and just do the math to make the adjustments in the pattern for my smaller gauge. What no one tells you is that the loft of the yarn is so important in the quality of the knitted stitch.

So, changing needle size does not always solve the problem, sometimes we need to pay attention to tension. As soon as I stopping stretching the yarn as I knit with it, I noticed an immediate change in my swatches. I can now make a swatch that has the correct gauge using the right size needle, I no longer need to go down needle size. And the stitches look wonderful. Wow, wool really has a lovely effect when knit with it's intended loft in tact.

I am now making some socks and really enjoying the yarn at the same time. Completely different yarn behaviour than I was used to. And, the best part, if I drop a stitch off the needle it doesn't automatically unzip 5 or 6 rows. It just sits there and waits for me to pick it up again. Another bonus is the cramping in my hands and arms is no longer there.

Thank you so very much, Pat, for this valuable lesson. You are an inspiration and without you I would never have gotten this far in my enjoyment of Fiber Arts. I can't wait till we can get together again! Coffee? Tea? Lunch? Can't wait to show you my new socks....... :-)


pat said...

ahhh - relaxing knitting without cramped hands - I can't wait to see the soft poofy socks! I'll email you when we get settled back in and we can meet up again - NOW I REALLY HAVE TO GO UNPACK (and feed my starving children)!!

Ronnie said...

I had no idea what "frog it" meant, but now that I know, I remember my mama winding old "frogged" yarn on bottles and swishing it in water to get the curls out, then standing the bottles at the back of the wood fueled stove to dry, making balls and starting another project such as mittens, socks, scarves for the cold Swedish winters!! Good old memories.