Thursday, April 22, 2010

Responding to Comments

Every once in a while a blogger needs to respond to comments. Today's the day for me! At some point recently, someone asked me a question and I said I'd answer it in a later blog post, but now I can't find the darned comment. If you asked me something and I said I'd answer it later, but I didn't, remind me. Sigh. Poor old brain.

But the last bunch of comments I read made me want to expand. First, I had to chuckle a bit when John-Francis pointed out that the Aeolean shawl was  NOT restful. It was extra not-restful for him, and I totally gave up on the nupps, myself. But I did love touching that alpaca yarn, and I certainly had a feeling of accomplishment when it was through! There's definitely some knitting that is more relaxing than other knitting. So, that point is well taken. I do like it that now I find SOME lace knitting relaxing. Why? I have to think just enough that the pattern distracts me from whatever busy-ness is going on in my mind. That is a good thing sometimes. No doubt we all have times when the voices in our heads are overly persistent. "Do this, do that, pay this, budget for that, plan for this..."

Since I have no illustration today, here's a gratuitous photo of my Aeolian.

Johanna agreed with me that perhaps one reason so many people have taken up knitting in recent times is its relaxing nature. I also think the social aspect has a lot to do with it. Knitting is a positive, healthy and relatively non-controversial hobby that can be shared with many different ages and persuasions of people. It helps you see that you have things in common with such a wide variety of people. anything that brings others together in these times of divisiveness is a fine thing in my book.

And Cindy wondered if people tend to stick with the craft they learned first. I had to really think back to remember whether I learned to knit or crochet first. I know I crocheted more when I was a child and teen, but you know what? I did learn to knit before I learned to crochet. I think my mother taught me to knit, using her rudimentary skills, to shut me up one day. I am positive my grandmother taught me to crochet not long after. My love of multicolored items made crocheting those granny squares so much more enticing than the boring expanses of one-color knitting, in my Child Suna mind.

But wait, before any of those things I learned to embroider. For years my first crewel project hung in the family kitchen. I wish that hadn't gotten lost. I think I did a cross stitch (stamped) when I was in first grade. Wow, I just HAD to keep my hands busy as a child. But I really don't embroider any more. I stopped when I first needed glasses, I think (late 20s).

So, y'all--do you go back to your first love in crafts? Is it like comfort food, only with fiber? If you quilted first, is that your favorite thing to do when stressed or in need of relaxation?

Also, Kerry--can you send me a Ravelry link to your shawl in the Melody so I can look at it?

Thanks, commentators, for getting me thinking.


  1. I must admit that I thought the same thing---lace-knitting? Relaxing?
    I hope to some day get to that point!
    And sewing was the first thing I learned, and now I hate sewing!!! I was 5'10" tall through middle school and high school, and weighed 120 or so pounds. Guess what no one sold in those days---clothes for tall, skinny girls. Big and tall men? Yes. But I was out of luck so my mother taught me to sew. Familiarity with sewing has bred contempt. I will do simple home dec. projects in a pinch, but other than that, no way!

  2. @Suna...

    I learned to embroider first. One of many crafts handed down from my grandmother -- mainly a type of hungarian/bohemian stitchwork with fills. I do that occasionally, but I knit more.

    I learned to crochet before knitting. I bet I crocheted a good 6-7 years before I started knitting. Crochet was nice enough, but how many doilies do you need? . I only use it now when a knitting pattern requests some kinda funky edge.

    @et al...
    Yes, lace can be relaxing if you can 'see the pattern' in your mind. If the pattern clusters like 'yo k yo' then '/k3\' you don't have to refer to the pattern and just 'read your work' in the previous rows. But those more difficult things like Elizabeth Freeman's work, although totally GORGEOUS and LOVELY are a total BITCH and require all the neurons to be firing. (Suna, feel free to edit my vulgar faux pas...)

  3. Oh yeah, almost forgot... I've gotten back into quilting too, but knitting quilting did come after learning to crochet.

  4. I don't think any small children read the blog, so feel free to express yourself however you all wish!

  5. I find knitting restful when it's flowing along without glitches. Then when I can't figure out a problem, it really bothers me. I don't know which I learned first, either, knitting or embroidery, but I know I was 7 when I learned to knit.

    Your shawl looks so beautiful! I invented a way to do nupps that made them go really well, and have described it on my Aeolian project page, which I've cut and pasted here, in case you're interested:


    In order to make uniformly sized nupps and to work them with ease, use a same size double pointed needle on top of your right hand needle, set back slightly, to form the nupps so the loops are doubled in size. Keeping the DP needle in place but passive, continue to knit the pattern for a few stitches to stabilize the nupp loop lengths before removing the DP needle.
    When forming the nupps on the row where 2 nupps are separated by a knit stitch, keep the DP needle in place until both are formed, of course just using the right hand needle for that knit stitch.
    When you purl a nupp together, make sure all 7 loops are engaged before sliding the purled nupp off the left needle. Inspect it from both the right and the wrong sides. Inspect it after you finish it to be sure all the loops are secured.
    If you find later that you missed a loop, it can be corrected by dropping down to the nupp and reforming it without frogging the row.

  6. My first love was embroidering. But because of difficulties to see I started knitting again, second love. I have learned that much in the 5 years since then that knitting became my first love and is most relaxing.


    I really enjoyed working with this yarn and I'm looking forward to using it again. I have some for the Swirl Scarf by JoJo Land. If only I could figure out how to attach the secong motif! LOL

  8. Thanks,Kerry. Now that I saw the picture, I remember looking at it when you finished it. The striped yarns really do look good on patterns with some solid parts, like Multnomah.

    Also many thanks to Katie K for the nupp info. Maybe I will try it again--it was missing the loops that drove me nuts. I can do them in sock weight, but laceweight was giving me trouble.

  9. the first craft i every really learned *besides helping my grandmother sew* was cross stitch. i absolutely refuse to do it now! stitching all those little X's over and over again? no thanks. it's a shame, really, as some of those kits now are just breathtaking, i just can't bring myself to do it!!!

    after that i believe i started embroidery. i still do it every once in a while, when i get an idea for a specific project i want to do, but not like knitting where i search and search for my next project ;)

    now, which came first, the chicken or the egg? oh, i mean, knitting or crochet? hehe. i learned to crochet first. but then i got frustrated at not being able to find any patterns that i actually would LIKE to crochet, but TONS of awesome knitting patterns. that drove me to learn to knit. that is where i fell head over heels in love!! i still crochet every once in a while, and not just as edgings on my knitting either! i feel knitting and crochet both have their time and place. mostly, i choose to do something in crochet if i need to complete it SUPER fast!!

    so, there's some of my crafting history, but BELIEVE ME, those are only the biggest blips on the radar!! i know how to do most types of needlework *LOVE tatting*, jewelry making, quilting, applique, and a new found obsession: turkish lace. i have not learned it yet, but i got a great book and can't wait to get started!! *you must look up the turkish lace, it's amazing. it goes by many names and can be hard to find because of that fact, but here are some to try: turkish lace, anatolian lace, oya.

    on a side note: i also find lace knitting relaxing. i actually like a project that keeps me engaged; it's like meditation for me, sometimes i like something that actually cuts out all the background noise, and i'm only concentrating on one thing for once! *i'm a stay at home mom, i need the QUIET time! lol*


Suna says thanks for commenting--I love comments!