I was reminded of my general nature - that's always fun - which is to say competitive. Don't misunderstand. I'm not bad-tempered in my competitiveness. I just want to win! So, as I watched Sara (a knitter of under 2 years) cast on Continental-style and knit most of the rib of a sock, probably 30 per cent faster than I can go knitting British-style, I realized I've got to switch that shit up.
Sure, as I sit in my cozy home, with no one else to compare myself against, my pace seems just fine! But seriously, peeps, I could be knitting twice as many things in the same period of time. My efficiency argument is trashed by my knitting style, even if I don't seem to be able to wrap my brain around the faster one.
Sara helped me to continue the Continental learning process and, really, it was painful for everyone with in visual-range. I'm not even interested in purling at this point. I just want to get the knit stitch down so that I can make those gorgeous stranded socks without having to pick up, twist and drop the yarn every other stitch because I can only do one method.
For starters, here we are:
I realize, at this point you probably don't believe I have a physical form anymore, so let this photo disabuse you.
But let's get to the point - which is potentially germane for the knit along. Sine I never knit around others, I have determined that I am a "loose" knitter (that sounds so dirty!), but I've never really had evidence to go on.
Um, please observe the difference between a loose knitter (me) and a tight knitter (Sara) (never mind our methods). I have 60 stitches on the needle and I'm doing K1P1 rib. She's got 64?! stitches and she's doing K3P1 rib. We're both working on the same size of needle - 2.25 mm.
|Forgive the muffin box styling...|
People, I think I know now why every sweater I knit ends up being too big unless I modify as I go or make the smallest size. Though I gauge swatch, I just get looser and looser as my project progresses. It has big implications.
But How Does This Impact Me for the Sock KAL, Kristin?
Well, I think we need to consider, as my pattern comes in one-size (unless you choose to modify stitch numbers), that I am a knitter, currently on one end of the gauge spectrum. If you knit at a super-tight gauge, you may well want to use a different needle size than I suggest. Like 2 sizes bigger?! Of course, if you swatch in the round, you might also decide to add a couple of stitches - which is easily done and doesn't have big implications for actual knitting. Just make sure you do it in batches of 2 stitches. I do think my socks are as loose as I would like them to fit my foot. So you could probably just use the same numbers, unless you're a crazy tight knitter, and (as long as your foot is about the size of mine), you'll simply end up with a snugger sock than I make. Snug in a good way, I mean.
Can we take a moment to be shocked that applied knitting is the one area in which I leave the Type A at the office?
OK, one other fascinating thing (and I do think it's fascinating!): When I worked a couple of rows in Continental knitting, my gauge tightened so significantly that I realize I won't be able to practice on my current sock (sock 2 of the pair) because it would, no doubt, end up being an entirely different size than the first. I don't know if this is because I was taking pointers from Sara (she of tight-knitting fame) or if it's because Continental knitting promotes a tighter stitch? Maybe it simply varies from person to person? Maybe I was stressed by the method so I tightened my grip? Who can say?
I think I'll have to do another post soon wherein I discuss ergonomic naturalness (for want of a good term). I am so comfortable knitting in the British style. Despite the fact that I cannot go as quickly as a Continental knitter, it is very gentle and predictable for my brain. It puts me into a meditative state and, as I go, I gain speed through efficiency of movement. My father taught me when I was 12 and, though I put down knitting from the age of 13 till when I was in my 40s, when I picked up the needles again, my brain knew exactly what to do.
I think of myself as a very adaptive person. I feel fairly dextrous (though much more so with my right hand, despite the fact that I write with my left hand). I've been told I'm ambidextrous as I do most things right-handedly (and most of my dominance is on my right side). The only thing I do left-handedly is write. As a result, I find it easier to do some things than others, because I just click into whatever mental zone is most useful. I wonder why this isn't coming to me. Perhaps I'm mentally lazy and, if I don't find my groove almost instantly, I get irritated and give up.
Egad, the thought that I'm a giver-uper is too hideous! I must not ever go that way.
Anyway, that's what I've got for you today.
Questions: Tight or loose? How do you knit? And, while we're at it, do tell whether you knit Continental or British style. Also, if you struggle doing both methods with equal dexterity, please do share your experience. Moreover, I want to talk to the peeps who are more natural at one method but who have managed to become knit-bilingual. How did you do it?