Sunday, April 10, 2005

Combined knitting

This afternoon I spent an enjoyable two hours being instructed in combined knitting by Annie Modesitt. I'd not attended a knitting class since leaving boarding school as a child. It was very satisfying. I learned a new way to pural purl—wrapping the yarn under the needle rather than over it. This method takes slightly less yarn, and therefore the stitch is slightly tighter. The effect of purling this way is that the knit stitch lies differently on the needle, as when you rip something out and put it back on the needle but "twist" a stitch by mistake and have either to put it back on the needle the "correct" way or to knit it through the back to "untwist" it. In Annie's method, knitting through the back is the "normal" way.

The reasons for combined knitting are speed and evenness of tension. I will need to make some other adjustments to the way I hold the yarn to increase my speed significantly, I think, but I'm hoping my stockinette stitch on two needles will be more even.

Although I had Annie's book, I was able more easily to see the "whole picture" through her in-person explanation rather than trying to read knitting diagrams only. And having your work immediately validated or corrected builds confidence. Also, I realized I already knew half of the technique (knitting through the back of a knit stitch that is on the needle "backwards"); I just didn't realize fully what I was doing other than fixing something.

I appreciate her philosophy of knitting—there's no wrong way!—and her encouragement to be adventuresome and intelligent about knitting. I now "get" her book, and it will be a handy reference and stimulation to try new ways of doing things.

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