Jul 4, 2007

Skeery Knits: Techniques That Terrify...Let's Discuss

My good buddy Sean and I first "met" in cyberspace and discovered that we had a string of random things in common - Florida, knitting, similar page protectors for our patterns and fasting for better health. You can check the archives for more on any of those topics, but I'm including this disjointed intro to say that our stars aligned yet again today. I was just thinking this morning that we're due for another go 'round our discussion table, and there he is in the comments saying the very same thing. Thanks for the nudge Sean!

Koigu KPPPM  3

This discussion is one that I've wanted to open for some time, and to break tradition a little I will include my own answers within the call for responses. I've been spitting out FOs left and right lately (and there now, I've just jinxed that by writing it...ah well). Each of those finished objects is the product of thousands of stitches and anywhere from one to 5 different techniques. In some cases, these are things I had tackled before (cables, shaping, picking up stitches, Turning A Heel.); and in others, the techniques were new to me, and therefore quite daunting (magic loop knitting, 2 socks on 2 circulars). But in all cases, I knew that there were only a few ways to skin the cat, if you will, and without pressing ahead with a specific technique, the project just would not be finished. Believe me when I tell you that the thought of some of these steps gave me great pause. In fact, something as simple as mattress stitch seaming up my Central Park Hoodie caused me to neglect it for weeks. And don't get me started on what picking up over 300 stitches evenly did for my confidence (shudder). For my Sangria Socks, I snapped a dpn and cursed another pair of socks tying up my circulars before I finally buckled down and googled "Magic Loop" to get the pair finished on a spare needle. Why so afraid of these things? Well, they were either unfamiliar to me, or they had very negative associations based on what I had heard or read from other knitters.

Shrug Sleeve/body junction

Speaking of other knitters...there is much talk of knitting stardom around our community, and what constitutes a really good knitter. Whether someone is or isn't a Knitter with a capital "K" gets tossed about quite a bit. And let's face it, we all measure how "good" a knitter is by what techniques they have been willing to try, and by how well those attempts come out. Now, allow me to digress for a minute - the amount of courage one has does not always directly equate to the measure of one's skill. To see that someone has braved Fair Isle, or a moebius, doesn't necessarily mean they are a better knitter. So to put such a knitter above yourself based on their courage to try such things doesn't seem quite right to me. I think learning to cast-on at all, and then sticking with it is about the height of knit bravery, because really every other thing is just a product of that, right? Hmmm..that may well be a discussion for another day. I will concede that if you have tried or are willing to give certain knit tricks a go, then you do deserve the admiration you get when it works. Hopefully, as a group, we can agree to let those examples inspire us.

Alpaca From KnitNY - Resized

But we're not talking inspiration today folks, we're talking fear.
I assume you all traverse the web at least as much as I do, and if you haunt the library and bookstore craft sections as I do, then you've probably seen just about every technique out there. Which of them just gives you the heebeejeebees? Is it mitered squares? How about (GASP!) steeking, or shadow knitting? Have you done a sock yet? What about cabling without the use of a cable needle? Is it tools that get you shook? Are you afraid to branch out in the round by trying those new fangled circular needles? Maybe you throw (English) and you've considered trying to pick (Continental), but haven't made the switch. And what about yarn and pattern types?! Does the thought of lace knitting with cobweb weight yarn on size 0000 needles just make you dizzy? (That one makes me a bit lightheaded I must say)

You'll notice I intentionally didn't link to many of these techniques I've mentioned and that's because (a) I trust your research skills, and (b) I would not want to bias your answers here by linking to some page/example that actually makes you afraid to try something you were not daunted by before. However, please feel free to share your own links with the group - links that address the dreaded techniques you see listed by others, or those that show examples of your own unconquered skill. That way we can better appreciate what makes you quiver, or we can find something to add to our own list of Techniques to Tackle.

2nd Sock In Progress 060207

So, Share with the group...we promise we won't laugh. If anything we'll more likely say things like "Mmm hmmm, I know that's right." Let's name the enemy, call it out and face it together! Just think - this could be the start or the expansion of your knitting arsenal. Pull up a chair, and let's discuss...when it comes to your knitting,

What techniques terrify you?