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Slow knitting - Elizabeth Unexplained
Lots of data but no answers
Slow knitting
Last week Warren remarked to Margaret as I was trying (unsuccessfully) to knit while supervising her play, “Mommy has decided to knit things really slowly.” Yes, guilty as charged. Warren keeps surprising me with the fact that unlike most males he is actually observant about the whole yarn thing. Yes he did notice that I was making a sweater using size 0 needles and fingering weight yarn. Not only that, but I have four projects going at the moment and the largest needle size involved in any of them is a whopping size 2. Aside from the fingering weight sweater there is still the silk lace scarf on size 0 needles, the stranded socks on size 2 needles, and the dress for Margaret on size 2 needles. It’ll be a while before I finish any of these.

I mentioned the dress in an earlier post. I just finished the back. The intarsia sheep may not have been as tricky as one might think, but the yoke of the dress was a pain. Normally I don’t even blink at cables, but tiny cables every row (including wrong side rows) makes for slow going. It wasn’t tricky, but it was labor intensive. Now I get to do the whole thing all over for the front of the dress.

The fingering weight sweater I have no excuse for except that the yarn is really pretty. If you have a sweater’s worth of gorgeous fingering weight yarn you can either go ahead and find a good pattern, or you can put the yarn in a glass bowl and use it as a centerpiece. The house already has too much clutter, so sweater it was.

The knee socks I mentioned in my last knitting post are coming along in fits and starts. I haven’t made a lot of progress, but that will change as soon as either the dress or the sweater is complete. The pattern is for toe-up socks. In my extremely limited sock-knitting experience I have only ever made the more standard cuff-down variety before. I like toe-up. I have a scale for weighing my yarn now, so toe-up means that I can pretty much just stop knitting when I’m halfway through the yarn and I will have enough for the second sock. Also, the directions for the heel on this particular toe-up pattern didn’t involve picking up any stitches. I hate picking up stitches. Assuming that I don’t notice any tragic flaws with this sock, I may be a total convert to the toe-up concept. I have mad plans for more of these, but I am trying to be realistic about my limited knitting time. Margaret is perfectly content to play with her toys while I sit quietly next to her, but the second I pick up the knitting, my needle is immediately the most interesting thing in the room. This is not so good for the knitting.

In other knitting news, Warren is convinced that I would knit much faster if I knit right handed instead of left handed. He thinks that if I switched I would actually knit faster than I crochet. I told him that this is madness, everyone knows that crochet is naturally way faster than knitting. He contends that this is not the case, that most people knit much faster than they crochet. I contend that if that data is even correct, it is due to the fact that most knitters don’t crochet enough and are therefore under-practiced at crochet. So, we have a bit of a difference of opinion. The only facts that we agree on are that I crochet much faster than I knit and I am not left handed. I may indeed become faster right handed once I am over the learning curve, but I doubt I will ever knit faster than I crochet. In order to prove him wrongtest the hypothesis, I have agreed to do the next sweater I start right handed. A sweater is a big enough project that I should get practiced enough by the end to get a good read on the speed factor. I want to finish most (preferably all) of my current project first, though, as I think changing handedness mid-project is a poor idea, and switch hitting might muddy the data. While the learning curve will be annoying at first, this will ultimately be a win-win situation. Either I will be right, or I will become blindingly fast at knitting.

Oh, and thanks to the wonderful powers of firstfrost I now have Ravelry progress bars.
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firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: January 24th, 2009 04:07 am (UTC) (Link)
I think I'd be faster knitting Continental than my learnt-from-a-book American yarn-throwing, but I was so much slower when I tried to switch, I didn't have the patience to start over from first level.

Google seems to think that crochet is significantly faster than knitting for equally-skilled people. I've been knitting for forever and crocheting for thirty octopodes, and that got me to where I single crochet about as fast as I stockinette stitch.
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: January 24th, 2009 02:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
(I'm sorry, I seem to have confused things. My comment about Continental v. American only has to do with *me* being too impatient to learn anew how to knit in a faster way. I didn't mean to remap your knitting left-handed / right-handed to Continental/American!)
psychohist From: psychohist Date: January 24th, 2009 07:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
I actually encouraged her to switch to Continental first.

Also, I don't remember saying she'd get faster than her crocheting - I might have said it with a "might" in there somewhere - but I did say I thought she'd be 2-3x faster right handed than left handed.
enugent From: enugent Date: January 24th, 2009 08:00 am (UTC) (Link)
I thought it was pretty generally accepted that Continental was faster than the right-hand throw?

It's good to be able to do both, though - once you've mastered both, you can move on to two-color Fair Isle with one yarn in each hand.
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: January 24th, 2009 02:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's not that she knits Continental, it's that she knits *backwards*! (Apparently, I notice this every couple of years during a gaming run, and take stun damage.)
psychohist From: psychohist Date: January 25th, 2009 01:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Basically she learned to knit by surreptitiously watching her mother, so she ended up with mirror image knitting.

Edited at 2009-01-25 01:25 am (UTC)
mathhobbit From: mathhobbit Date: January 24th, 2009 12:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
I learned Continental in college and gave it up the second I hit a difficult pattern with instructions in American. I'm sure Continental is faster for me for simple patterns.

In the end I decided that the point of my knitting is to have something to do with my hands, not to complete projects. If this is true it doesn't matter how fast I knit.
enugent From: enugent Date: January 24th, 2009 05:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can knit both ways, and I don't see any difference between patterns in American and Continental. What kind of instructions are confusing?
mathhobbit From: mathhobbit Date: January 24th, 2009 10:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am not overly hampered by modesty in my crafting projects. After knitting two scarves as a warmup I declared my intent to knit an Aran sweater. The ladies at the yarn store were gently discouraging but eventually gave in to my stubborn insistence.

I don't remember exactly, but I think I was learning cabling, increases, decreases, and all the other non-scarf skills you need for an Aran by looking at pictures in a book. I wasn't ready to look at those pictures and adapt them to a Continental style.
enugent From: enugent Date: January 25th, 2009 12:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Huh. I learned increases and decreases so long ago I don't really remember how I learned them, and I learned cables from a text description (no pictures to confuse things).
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