by Franklin Habit
There’s a box under my bed where I keep certain things I’m slightly ashamed of. No, not that box. Another one. A larger one. The one with all the swatches in it.
I like to swatch. I swatch all the time. Even when I’m not planning to make anything in particular, I put yarn on needles and play with it. I swatch for the sake of swatching.
“What are you making?” somebody will ask me. “A hat,” I reply. Or, “A scarf.” I never say it’s a swatch, because the next question is always, “A swatch for what?” And admitting that you swatch for the sheer pleasure of it is like admitting that you feel slightly aroused whenever the office photocopier develops a paper jam.
Let ’Er Rip
by Franklin Habit
When I was but a lambkin of a knitter, treading timidly across the time-honored beginner’s obstacle course of scarf-then-hat-then-mittens, I had exactly one way of dealing with mistakes: I hoped very much not to make any. We all know how well that works.
I was teaching myself from books. They were not good books. They were flimsy, ugly things, sprinkled with advice as useful and reliable as a kindergartener’s schoolyard lecture on How Babies Are Made. Yet they did, in the end, lead me forward from knitting to purling to shaping to binding off.
But knitting isn’t always about going forward. It’s often, especially if you are me, about going backwards. It’s about undoing as much as doing. Yet the books were entirely mum about what do if your mitten went awry, or if you simply didn’t like the way part of it was turning out. What did you do then? Grit your teeth and soldier on? Throw it away and take up petit point or archery?
by Sandi Rosner
Never tie a knot in your knitting.
Always block the pieces before sewing together.
Whether you learned to knit from your grandmother, a class at your local yarn store, a book, or a YouTube video, you were subjected to a long list of knitting "rules." Have you ever stopped to question what you were taught? Much of what we think we know deserves to be challenged.
In this issue, we'll take a look at some questionable common knowledge. We'll talk about when, if ever, you should follow the rules, and when they are better broken.
Swatch It! Winter 2012
by Clara Parkes
Stitches are patient creatures; they stand in line and wait their turn. But once in a great while, an impatient stitch (or two, or three, or more) will jump the line. Needles don’t know the difference, so they take the line-jumpers next. By the time they get to the stitches that got snubbed, things are tense. The overlooked stitches are peevish. It takes a while—a few rows, depending on how many stitches jumped the line—for everyone to calm back down again.
That, my friends, is how cables work. They introduce a bit of a traffic snarl where once everything was going smoothly.
You can tell a lot about a yarn by how it responds to a cable. Does it go with the flow, or does it get all tense and pouty? Do the cables look crisp and sculptural, or do they stay low to the ground? As an added creative challenge, most cables are accompanied by purl stitches that help the cables stand out; they also help to buffer the cable complexities.
Ask the Problem Ladies: Winter 2012
The Princess and the Stolen Cocoons or How the Secret of Silk Was Revealed
as retold by Daryl Brower
Long, long ago (let’s say 350 AD) there lived a Chinese princess who had reached an age at which it was expected she would be married. Now as was the custom of those times and that place, her parents had made a fine match for her when she was not more than a girl, promising her to a Prince of Khotan. The princess was much pleased by this for she was told by all that it was good match, the prince was a handsome and charming man, Khotan was a fine city, and truth be told, she was rather looking forward to the adventure of living in a new land.