Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Sometimes it's not you (knitting truths)

My sister taught me to knit. She's one year older and much more patient than my mother ever was. Mom used to knit my father a vest that could, swear to God, stand up in the middle of the floor without anyone in it. That's how tight she used to knit. An actual reflection of the woman if you catch my drift. When my sister taught me to knit, there were a number of knitting "truths" that she explained to me. When I teach someone to knit, I find myself quoting her often.

  1. When you are learning to knit and you make a "mistake", it is not a mistake if you do it over and over again. It is a design element.

  2. If you have a hole in your knitting, it's not a hole, it's lace.
  3. To knit is to rip. If you cannot rip, you cannot knit.
  4. Illiterate women have learned how to knit. Don't be afraid that you can't
  5. Knitting patterns are not perfect. There is almost always a mistake in there somewhere so sometimes it's not you.

There are many more of these truths. I bet you can contribute some to this list for me. My point is, even knowing these truths and teaching them to others. I sometimes forget them. A good example would be # 5. I had tried to knit the Shetland Tea Shawl from "A Gathering of Lace". I kept getting hung up on the Madeira Lace section in this circular shawl. I could not get it right. I thought I just stank at lace and gave up in disgust for a very long time. I stopped doing any lace at all and went back to cable knitting. The shawl sat mouldering away in a bag, mute witness to my lack of knitting skill. I couldn't rip it, I couldn't knit it. To rip it under these conditions was to admit defeat. Very different from ripping because it's not a pattern you like or a color you fancy or you are bored. I couldn't knit it because it kept coming out wrong. Because I forgot about truth # 5, I never checked to see if there was a correction to the pattern. Until, that is, someone mentioned it on the Yahoo shawl knitting group. See above, there are corrections to the patterns from that book.

For any knitters new to lace. Welcome. Thank you to everyone who posted suggestions for new lace knitters that they could try. It was very very thoughtful and helpful of you all to contribute to a little list I have now put on this blog.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE any new lace knitters. Check to see if there are corrections to any lace pattern you are going to try for the very first time. Remember. Sometimes it's not you if it doesn't come out right!

Good night to all! and Good Knitting!