Every day, several times a day a *shout* comes in to Studio Chic Knits. Loud and clear, an email SOS lands in my mailbox. A knitter, somewhere in time, somewhere on a WIP, has hit a wall and needs to be rescued.
Usually, a little first aid goes a long way from here to there.
But sometimes, it gets stalled by what I think of as the Internet Effect.
Many of us, especially in the last five years or so have enjoyed an explosion of information online. There is content galore; blogs, social networks, videos, picture sites and more where we all can edify and illuminate Any Subject under the Sun. But of course, Knitting has enjoyed a particular heyday with this phenom.
I have met, virtually, quite, many knitters who have learned everything they know about knitting from the Internet. I bow to these knitters; they are fearless and game and creative in a way I never was sitting at my Grammie’s knee knitting my first mitten with its mismatched thumbs. BRAVA/BRAVO the new milleniums!
But even with all the incredible resources out there, I’ve found one thing to be mightly true: nothing beats a human touch. It always breaks my heart to tell someone that unless I could be there in person, I cannot diagnose their knitting in the Cloud, that sometimes they just have to reach out and find a real time demo.
And second to this hand hold? A Good Book.
There’s many knitting references out there that we turn to all the time, even after all these years of knitting. But here’s one that goes beyond a couple of paragraphs or columns and shows actual garments being constructed.
Through a series of still pictures and clear explanations, this tome titled: Knit Simple Knitting Workshops (Carla Scott) shows just how some of the most basic projects look as works in progress. In the grand tradition of “Things you wish you knew when you started…”, this book breaks it down for many topics that many knitters might come across.
After a short introductory section, with the typical tools and knit/crochet stitch nods, the book gets very interesting.
Now, you find actual patterns for essential projects (some in multi-sized, multi-gauged versions). Within these pattern pages, as you a making the item, are nuggets that help pull you along the road to an FO.
You make a hat, then some mittens, finding some easy ways to embellish a simple project to take it higher and make it truly yours. Then starts what I’m thinking is the true value of this book.
There is a great explanation of how to read a chart, called “All About Cables.” Now, in the realm of really pronounced preferences, there’s the ongoing tug-O-war between chart and written out instruction lovers.
I’m a chart gal myself, preferring the visual clues as a fast-track shorthand for what’s going down on the needles. I include the written instructions for stitch patterns as well in Chic Knits designs, for clarity and completeness.
But it’s the chart I use when I’m going great guns on the couch watching that 57th episode of Bones. ;p
Here’s something that helps explain the goobley-gook that must appear to those who shy away from graphical instructions.
There’s a great section on socks as well. You see the whole breakdown of casting on with double points, positioning the stitches, turning the heel. I like! I’ve had a dysfunctional relationship with DPN my entire knitting career and this just might cure me!
There are simple sock patterns to accompany this magic and a nice flat series of pictures showing the stitch architecure of what goes on during the dreaded Kitchner portion of sock making.
One of my main missions in knitting is to inspire knitters to Read Their Knitting, to really see it, in both the big, and the little picture. Once you *get it*, nothing remains the same, then you can soar! It’s like that indefinable moment of learning to ride a two-wheeler bike where only an immersion and user committment gives you a fundamental understanding of the almost weightlessness of balance. It’s something individual to you alone although many, many people have discovered its magic.
In knitting, it is understanding what that stitch is doing, how the loops actually work together to form the fabric.
I think because it’s done with sticks and usually bunched together in the making, we lose the individual energy and movement of the string along its path.
Looking at it from above, in a nice flat, non-moving picture, you can trace that road the yarn takes and begin to see.
This book, with its sections and projects for the basics then all the way to jewelry, buttons, shaping, increasing, seaming, i-cord, and lest we forget, pompoms, just might be what you need to see clearer, see more.
So to celebrate the start of the weekend (TGIF!) and to maybe inspire you to learn something new (or even something new about something old you already know), leave a comment below on what you’re working on and what technique you’d like to know better.
We will randomly draw a winner to be announced next Friday, the 9th.