Saturday, April 12, 2008

Reading your knitting

I am mentoring my friend Nicki, who is dashing along learning to knit. She has been at it for 1.5 years and has made a shawl, several pairs of mittens, a couple of scarves, a baby sweater and is now working on an adult sweater. Obviously, she already knows HOW to knit, purl, increase and decrease, bind off and cast on. She has done feather and fan, garter, stockinette and a variety of little riffs and flourishes.

I was thinking about the next step. For me, that is learning to read your knitting. Learning what the stitches look like and what they are "supposed" to look like, and how to do that while you are knitting so that you don't need to keep staring at the paper pattern. When you first learn to knit you are so in love with creating fabric that the individual stitches can get away from you. You suddenly look down and you have this huge THING that is not what you thought it was while you were blithely knitting along. Then you have to face all those issues, frog it? tink it? toss it? start again? blame the pattern? cry?

I just frogged the heel on these socks. I have been knitting socks for years. I have a heel that I love and that I know how to do, but this pattern (Jacobean) has a wrap and turn heel that I thought I would try. Oopsed it pretty good, in large part because I inexplicably could not read my knitting. I am working with size 0's because I have small feet and the 1.5's were making it too big, and the yarn is fine, but I just couldn't tell if I had wrapped the stitch or not, so some got wrapped twice and some not at all.

On the second try, I am reading it better, and counting certainly can help...(math has never been a strong point) but it makes me think about reading all the knitting that I do. Reading the discussions with the people I work with, reading the twinges that my old knees are giving me lately, and most especially, reading the voices of my friends over the phone. My move to the Northern reaches of Manhattan has made the phone a more frequent mode of contact than it used to be. Remembering to step in close and read the knitting, not just look at the fabric.

I love to see people's eyes when they talk to me. I miss that more than anything when I am on the phone. It is harder to read their voices than their eyes. I am still trying to learn to read the knitting, see the stitches, step back and see the whole fabric. It is one of those things you don't think about when you uproot your life.


woolies said...

beautiful work! and I love your place..!!

Nicki said...

...and how about all the wash cloths you have guided me through.