Saturday, February 23, 2013

A knitter's confession

Let me just get this off my chest...I don't read and understand patterns very well. Whew it feels good just to say it.

Once I get a pattern or understand how something is made I am golden. Have you seen how many socks I've made? I understand socks, well my style of socks I understand. Throw in a different method of construction and the light bulb goes out. Now I am playing with the idea of making achilles heAl which is way out of my comfort zone, but still it is a sock. I looked at it a few times before I made the jump and printed off the pattern. It still seems to be made in a way that I understand, at least half of it I do. I am itching to cast on but I've been lured away by other things like finishing up some works in progress. D should have a new pair soon. His sock drawer was empty again the other day. Many of them were clean downstairs in the laundry room just waiting to hitch a ride up to the drawer, but still an empty sock drawer in this house, gasp!

And speaking of other things luring, you know like a new sweater I want so badly I can taste it? (Did you know wool tastes like wool not chicken? Yeah, you're welcome for that little tidbit.)

I have a hitch in my sweater plan. My problem is that I want to make a sweater from one of my Christmas books, Ann Budd's Knitter' Book of Top Down Sweaters. You see my problem? No, neither do I, let me explain; I can not conceptualize how it works, I start in the back knit for a bit, pick up stitches on the original cast on and knit down a bit on the front. Now I know it does not say knit in the round all the time but that is the only method that has ever been done in my head. Can you see how prior experience is leading me astray? Also how does short row shaping work in a sweater/sleeve? I never done short row shaping for a sleeve cap, I can not see how this all comes together either.

What is an frustrated knitter to do? You got that right, I contacted my local yarn shop and asked if anyone would be willing to teach me the skills I lack. Turns out that people are willing to teach what you need to learn. Now I just need to think about how I want to ask some things since I really don't want to walk in saying simply, HELP! I need to think about what am I really asking for, what don't I understand. Do I just need someone to explain how it comes together?

I remember being extremely frustrated when I first started to knit socks. On a sock with a heel flap, you pick up and knit along the sides of the heel flap. Being a new knitter I had no idea what that meant. Pick up and knit what, where and how? Every source I looked into simply said pick up and knit. Pick up and knit, pick up and knit, pick up and knit. That phrase kept mocking me! No where could I find an example of the action. Argh!

Finally when I started to want to write angry letters to all the people not explaining it, I saw the Yarn Harlot on Knitty Gritty doing it. My next thought was That's it? It was the first knitting example of me over thinking something that should have been intuitive.

Let's hope my instructor can spark up my intuition.


  1. Ask your instructor to draw you a picture, or to show you how each row will be knitted with an actual sweater sitting in front of you. Where exactly does each row go? How does it form? And well, if she doesn't help you, I will, ok? I have an idea of what those instructions mean, but I'd have to spend some time digesting them myself!

    1. You're so helpful as always. That is a great idea to discuss it with a real sweater. It should fill in the pieces I'm lacking. I am usually ok with trusting the pattern, but I hate having to rip back something that big. Or worse yet not ripping back and having something that fits me awful.
      Thanks Again!