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Posted: December 14th, 2005, 12:27 pm
by kayray
Gesine wrote:
Here's another question, though: do Americans knit the same way as Brits? In Europe, there seems to be a British and a 'Continental' way of knitting. I was quite shocked when I saw this other method for the first time, it looked very awkward to me.

I know people who knit both ways, but I'm a "Continental" knitter (yarn in left hand, scooped up with the needle). But if I knit a 2-color pattern I carry one color in the right hand like a Brit.


Posted: December 14th, 2005, 12:36 pm
by pberinstein
Gesine wrote:Paula - If you get holes with intarsia, you probably don't wrap the threads around each other well enough when you start a new colour - or perhaps the tension is not right? Or, you don't 'weave in' the ends of the threads well enough. I just did a quick Google, and this explains it rather well:

I've just bought some yarn for a jumper (sweater), a Kaffe Fassett design - I love his work and have done a number of them. It's based on his 'crosses' pattern - at the bottom of this page click on the fourth thumbnail - it's the sleeve in the middle on the left-hand side in that image. Completely different colours, though (about 15 of them, I think).

Here's another question, though: do Americans knit the same way as Brits? In Europe, there seems to be a British and a 'Continental' way of knitting. I was quite shocked when I saw this other method for the first time, it looked very awkward to me.
Thanks, Gesine. I'll look into this. I really appreciate your help.

As far as Americans vs. Brits, I'm confused about the difference without putting some yarn and needles in my hands, but I know that I could never manage to knit the way my grandmother, who taught me, did. She kept the thread over her finger as she whirled it around the needle. I can't seem to do that. I drop the thread and hold it with my thumb and forefinger as I wrap it around, then I pick it back up again. It's very awkward, but I just could never do it the other way. My grandmother grew up in England, which may or may not explain anything.

Posted: December 14th, 2005, 2:11 pm
by Gesine
It just occurred to me how odd it is to talk about knitting! I don't know anyone else who knits. I went to a girls' grammar school in Germany, and at one point virtually everyone seemed to take up knitting. We were allowed to knit during most classes - some teachers recognised that it can be easier to listen if one has something else to do, though some were clever enough to insist on 'one colour, un-patterned' pieces which could be done without having to concentrate...

As we got older, knitting dropped off, and at university I rarely knitted anymore. When I moved to the UK, nobody even knew how to knit, and there were hardly any good shops. Finally, my interest was sparked again when I came across a Rowan shop - the patterns and yarns were so beautiful that I just had to buy something.

I do find it relaxing, and I suppose it makes me feel less 'guilty' if I do something beside watching a DVD or listening to an audio book...

How and why did everyone else start?


Getting started

Posted: December 14th, 2005, 2:48 pm
by pberinstein
Oh, wow, Gesine. Cool topic.

I'm really surprised in a way that people don't knit in the UK. They certainly used to. When I was in college back in the 60s and 70s, I made a point to investigate what they had in the UK and Canada, as I assumed it was much better than what we had here in the US, and in some ways it was. My grandmother, who grew up in the UK, knitted, as did my husband's mother, who recently died at age 87. When I visited the UK during library school in 1978, I bought two whole fleeces, which I washed and dried all summer so I could get them back in the country to spin.

I started knitting as a child. My grandmother taught me, although my mother knew how and helped too. This was in the 50s. At age 10, when my half-sister was born, I knitted her a sweater.

My grandmother also taught me how to crochet and do embroidery. When needlepoint became a big thing around 1970, I took that up too and learned to spin around 1976 or so by taking a class at a shop in Pasadena.

I remember sitting in my college classes and crocheting a very fine shawl and bedspread--lace, with thread of size 30. The hook was so sharp I'd stick myself from time to time, and there were tiny bits of blood on the thread. I still have both and recently deconstructed the shawl so I could make one for my stepdaughter, 20, who lives in the UK.

Posted: December 14th, 2005, 3:07 pm
by Izze
Gesine wrote:some teachers recognised that it can be easier to listen if one has something else to do, though some were clever enough to insist on 'one colour, un-patterned' pieces which could be done without having to concentrate...
The teachers were right. I can never pay attention unless my fingers and occupied, and my memory is good enough that I rarely have to take notes in most classes.

Of course, none of my professors allow me to knit in class, so I usually end up folding a few thousand origami cranes every semester. :lol:

Does anyone have a simple pattern for socks, especially god for beginners? All of the patterns I find are kinda complicated, and need 12 needles. Two regular needles, and ten double pointed needles, and then the instructions always get more confusing from there. :?

Posted: December 14th, 2005, 3:17 pm
by Gesine
Stripes! I love stripes.

Oh, you mean a pattern pattern. 12 needles? Crikey. I've only knitted socks once (yes, stripy ones), 4 needles all the way as far as I remember. Didn't have a pattern, though - a friend taught me, and we knitted one in parallel.

God, this site is just too addictive - must stop procrastinating. :)


Posted: December 14th, 2005, 5:44 pm
by kayray
Izze -- I knit socks like a madwoman and have never heard of needing 12 needles to make a pair. Four is usual, or five if you're lucky enough to live in a country where double-pointed needles come in sets of five.

I learned socks from Elizabeth Zimmerman's incomparable book "Knitting Without Tears" which everyone should run out and buy right now. I don't do well with ordinary knitting instructions (k3, *p2 tog, yo, rep from * 47 times) because I always want to customize things. Elizabeth Zimmerman's sock instructions are chatty and run something like this:

Find your gauge. Cast on enough stitches to go around your leg, and knit a ribbing tube that's long enough. When you reach the heel, make a heel as follows. And then she gives instructions for two or three different kinds of heels. Then continue knitting along the foot until it's time to make a toe. And then she tells you two or three ways to make a toe.

Socks are EASY once you just try! Don't be intimidated, it's really just a tube with a right-angle bend in the middle.

My grandmother taught me the basics of knitting when I was seven or so, and I think I probably knitted a blanket for one of my model horses, but nothing more complicated. At some point in my early twenties I happened across Elizabeth Zimmerman's book in the library, read it cover to cover, and was hooked on making socks. And then a few years later I found Barbara Walker's book, "Knitting from the Top." Her style is similar to EZ's -- she'll give you a basic formula and you get to knit to suit yourself instead of slavishly following someone else's pattern. That's how I knit my new pants :)

Yup, I have a hard time paying attention to things if my fingers aren't occupied. I also go stark raving MAD if I have to sit somewhere without something to do with my hands, preferably something productive. I love to read but people will keep talking to me, and it seems rude to respond with a monosyllable and keep on reading, heheh. I confess that I knit while teaching piano lessons and it keeps me sane. I also knit while editing librivox recordings, since I listen to them all the way through and there's not usually that much that needs to be fixed.


Posted: December 14th, 2005, 9:22 pm
by thistlechick
I learned to crochet at a youngish age... but in 7th grade I was to play Mrs. Brown in the Adventures of a Bear called Paddington at the local youth theatre... and the director insisted that Mrs. Brown knit onstage (not crochet)... so a girlfriend who had attended Catholic school taught me to knit and I taught her to crochet.

At that time I made a baby sweater-thingy out of some aweful grey acrylic that my mother had left from a million-year-old afghan project... and her old Columbia-Minerva Learn-to-knit booklet (which I later found a copy of on ebay... so that I could recall those early knitting years *reminices*) ...ah but back to my story... i ran out of yarn and bought new yarn that didnt' really even match to finish it... miracle of miracles, I actually finished the darn thing.... one of the few finished projects in my lifetime, and gave it as a gift to my cousin's new baby at the time (who is now graduated from high school)

Later in high school, a different girlfriend insisted that we knit a sweater together, each of us knitting a sleeve and a front or back piece... sadly, my gauge was much looser than hers and the pieces didn't really fit together... our friendship eventually ended tho... but I don't think it was because of that sweater project hehe....

After that, I was busy pretending to be a quilter (during the hey-days of quilting) and didn't pick up knitting again until about 5 years ago when my brother was expecting his first child... and I haven't put down the needles since... well, maybe a little bit to learn to spin and record audio books *grins*

Knitting podcast

Posted: December 15th, 2005, 9:39 am
by pberinstein
I hope I'm not being redundant here. Someone on the podcasters list I'm on just announced a new cast:

Have not listened yet.

For the socks people

Posted: December 18th, 2005, 1:38 am
by Gesine
Personally, I don't much like wearing socks... it was a big blow to me when it got cold enough here (in November) to put some on. Fortunately not for long...

I've just come across something, though, that almost made me want to knit some: self-patterning sock yarn! You may all know about it, but to me it's complete news. Here's an example:

A similar idea for larger projects is Noro - best execution I've seen of colour-changing wools. Really beautiful colours... and easy, too. Stripes without having to bother with more than one yarn. Or zig-zags, waves...


Posted: December 18th, 2005, 10:21 am
by pberinstein
Oh wow, Gesine. I wish you hadn't done that. Now I have to get some of that yarn!!!

Posted: December 18th, 2005, 10:24 am
by thistlechick
Yes, the self-patterning sock yarns are beautiful, fun, and easy! Regia is another company that makes these self-patterning yearns.

Be careful with Noro though, I've been hearing some bad things about it lately... poor quality issues such as breakage, inconsistant thickness... and I find it to be rather scratchy.

There are several other companies making self-striping yarns now too... but, drat it all, I can't think of their names... my local yarn shop doesn't even bother to carry noro anymore (she can't get it consistantly) and now carries these others... I'll double check and let you know =)

Posted: December 20th, 2005, 7:55 am
by kayray
I was listening to my History of English lectures this morning (done by The Teaching Company) and I learned something!

The words "text" and "textile" both come from an Indo-European root meaning "something that is woven together" -- so we have a weaving of words and a weaving of fibers.

Neat, huh?


Posted: December 20th, 2005, 7:56 am
by thistlechick
wow! that's deep .... that explains everything... what a relief! =)

Posted: December 20th, 2005, 11:24 am
by Gesine
Yeah, and how does the Teaching Co. reconcile librarianism with knitting? I still find this so odd. I can understand it with audio books, because it does go together well, but otherwise librarians are supposed to be... well... bookish, right? My late stepmother - a librarian, like my father - was an avid knitter. No audiobooks, though. She knitted in front of the television.

Being on Librivox has made me think of her recently.