Patty’s Purls of Wisdom: October 2017
Technique, etiquette, and lifestyle advice for the modern knitter
By Patty Lyons
I’ve been teaching knitting for many years now and the most important thing I’ve learned is… knitters have opinions. LOTS of them! I’ve always said get 10 knitters in a room together; odds are there will be 11 opinions (It’s one of my favorite things about knitters). Knitters also come up with the most amazing questions. I’ve been answering your questions in emails, PMs, tweets, in my Ravelry group and in my advice column for quite some time now and I’m so excited that “Patty’s Purls of Wisdom” is now joining Twist Collective. This column will be a space for questions and opinions and I couldn’t be more excited—just think of me as the Dear Abby of knitters.
By Sandi Rosner
Why is this question a challenge? Because the answer is usually "It depends." How big is the intended wearer of this garment? How do you want the piece to fit? For sweaters, size is determined by considering the size of the body to be clothed, the size options offered by the pattern, and the amount of ease the wearer desires. (We’ll tackle measuring and fit for hats, mittens, and other accessories in the next issue.)
What We Leave Behind
By Rachael Herron
My grandmother was a New Zealand farm wife who lived on a sheep farm, which was handy since she was a knitting addict of the highest order. In my mind’s eye, she is always in one spot, even now that she’s been gone thirty years: She sits in her green upholstered rocker, her feet tucked up on the embroidered footrest, a blanket wrapped around her, her needles clicking in her hands. The air smells pleasantly of burnt toast and rose water. Her fingers never slow, never stop.
When I was born, my grandmother knitted a garter-stitch blanket for me. Just the size of a twin bed, it was my constant comfort growing up. Made of long strips in many colors, she used yarn from her local area, Ashburton. That wool has worn like iron, and I’ve always been curious which mill spun it. I’m 45 now. There still isn’t a single hole in the whole thing. As I write on the divan in my office, it rests behind me. I pull it over my legs on chilly afternoons. When I ball it up under my head, it’s a perfect scratchy pillow for naps (scratchy wool is, of course, unbearable unless there’s enough love knitted into it. Love makes everything softer).
I’ve been thinking recently, as friends and family age and get sick and die, about what we leave behind as knitters.
The Bottom Line
By Sandi Rosner
The edges of a sweater can have a huge impact on the look and fit of the finished piece. Designers put a lot of thought into which type of edging will best complement the garment as a whole, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a sweater your own by changing the edging to one that better suits your style.
Textile Travels: Of Sheep and Shetland Wool
By Mary Jane Mucklestone
I fell in love with Shetland long before I visited it. I fell in love with Shetland through its wool, while re-stocking the shelves at the yarn shop in Camden, Maine, where I worked. It formed a glorious wall of color. I liked to sort the skeins, organizing them into color stories and marveling at the depth of color, the artful mix of various hues in the strands, and wondering how anyone could ever come up with such fantastic heathery colors. I loved the bounce of the fiber and its subtle sheen long before I attempted to knit with it. To tell the truth I was afraid to use it. I thought it was too fine, the needles required too thin. I thought that Fair Isle knitting was complicated. But I started to collect the yarn. Any ball in the sale bin, I’d nab. Sometimes I couldn't resist a color and bought it for full price, reasoning that it cost about the same as a fancy coffee. The day I started to knit with Shetland wool, a whole new world opened up and I knew that, someday, I had to visit.