Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Reminiscing on Progress

Originally uploaded by sunasak

It's been a bit of a downer at my house this week, since my Spousal Equivalent, Lee, got outsourced to India on Monday. Even when you know the company's laying of 10%, you hope you are one of the 9/10 that don't get laid off. But, good severance and many leads may help things end up fine.

So, knitting hasn't been high on the to do list. Though I did get through the heel on Campanula #2.

Let's look at today's photo. It's a brown wool vest. Not much to look at is it? It has significance for me, though!

1. It is the oldest knitted item I still have. I made this my junior year of college, so it is almost 30 years old. See how well wool can hold up? I wonder where I got wool in the 70s?? I remember mostly having a large collection of Red Heart acrylic in lime, orange, rust, gold and avocado!

2. It still fits. (YES!!!)

3. It really shows how much I have progressed.

Look closely at the transition between the body and the arms. The texture changes. That's because I was a very unsuccessful "combined" knitter at the time. I was knitting English style on long aluminum needles, one jammed into my jeans pocket for speedy throwing. And I purled the "wrong" way, thus twisting the stitches in back-and-forth stockinette. I had taught myself to purl using the Green Booklet (Coats and Clark?) everyone used at the time, and misinterpreted one of those illustrations of disembodied hands and artistically draped threads (how I ever learned to tat from that book I will never know).

I do give me credit for already kitting most of my things in the round. And for the fine border band. Pockets aren't sewn on too well, though, and this from Little Miss Embroiderer at the time.

I do know that this was the project that made me say, "Hey, wait a minute, what's up with those twists?"* First, I decided I would NEVER learn to purl the other way, so instead I learned to knit into the back, and my stockinette was fine for many years. But, when I started to do lace and things with a lot of SSKs and such, the contortions I went through to get things to lay the right way were too much for me.

I learned. Only took me a few hours to feel fine with the other technique. Doing this was a milestone. I realized I could teach myself all sorts of alternatives. So I taught myself to knit holding the yarn in my left hand. Then I did stranded knitting with one color in each hand.

Then eventually I learned to knit backwards and truly enjoy entrelac. I guess I am glad I taught myself the "wrong" way, because eventually it led me to being a very flexible knitter!

Note that I firmly believe that as long as you end up with something that looks knitted, there is no right or wrong way to knit. I tell students that a lot, and have seen some very interesting styles, but ones that work! I also tell students who ar reluctant to learn a new technique (I am not the only one who purled under rather than over) that the period of discomfort is nothing compared to the years of enjoyment you get when you see your knitting looking as nice as the garments in the magazine photos!

*It being the 70s, I probably didn't say that exactly. More like, "Whoa, man, these twists are definitely uncool."


  1. I like the texture change. But then I recently did a baby sweater with the twisted stockinette on purpose! LOL

  2. Hi Suna, thanks for stopping by my blog.. will be back to read more, can see I'm going to have fun here!


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