Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Why I love Knitting!

I've tried all sorts of artistic and creative pursuits. I took art through my high school years and enjoyed all of the mediums I got to experiment with. I sewed much of my own clothing for many years, made my wedding dress and loved my tailoring classes where I made suits and coats. I machine knit and own a number of machines. I've made a few teddy bears and taken a bead weaving class that teaches you how to work on a small beading loom. I've done various types of embroidery, needlepoint work and I still play with making jewellery, mainly bead and wire work. None of those endeavors have stuck with me the way knitting has, I think it's because I have never stopped learning new techniques with my knitting. It provides endless challenges in both technique and aesthetics.

Occasionally, I am foolish enough to think I've seen it all when it comes to knitting, but I love the way knitting keeps me humble. In a recent post I mentioned that I did two swatches with the same yarn and laundered both during the blocking process. The swatch that I knew was too loose showed some shrinkage and the one that I was happy with did not. 

I asked someone else if she had ever noticed this happening and she hadn't but we both thought that perhaps if the knitting is too loose it somehow allows for more shrinkage.

I normally draw out the size of the swatch on graph paper as a comparison tool for after blocking. I lightly steam the swatch, place it on the paper and mark the size before the serious blocking takes place.

A little later I swatched for a project that I am collaborating on with a yarn the other designer has used many times. She mentioned that the yarn was very stable when washed and she never had the gauge change post blocking. I started my swatch and had to change needle sizes twice to get to the correct DK gauge. I did one long continuous swatch this time, the first two sections were each about two inches long before I changed needle sizes. The third one was a full four inches. Afterward I did my usual graph paper drawing. You know where I'm going don't you? The section that was too loose shrunk the most, the section that was just a little off gauge shrunk just a little. The correct gauge section was exactly the same before and after blocking. So I've learned another reason to make sure that your gauge is accurate and the fabric you create is stable.

Then in the same week I learned something else new. Someone asked me for my opinion on braided joins? I'd never heard of a braided join before but I was told that there is a Youtube video...I've linked to it above. How cool is that? Two new things in just one week!


  1. THANKS!! for both those tips, Robin. I am off to work where I teach a class of knitters. I will share your tips with them.

  2. I love learning something new too. Thanks for the braided join.