13 April 2007

Knitting Q&A

I can't remember who I took this knitting questionnaire from, but I thought it was interesting.

1. What's your worst habit relating to your knitting?

I hate swatching, so I cheat when I swatch. I completely understand how necessary it is, particularly for fitted garments, but I don’t like taking the time to do it. I often start a swatch, knit a few rows, pull it off the needle, and measure gauge. Then, I’ll check gauge again many more times throughout the working of the project to make sure that it matches my pseudo-swatch.

2. In what specific ways does your knitting make you a better person?

It gives me an outlet that I didn’t have before, which makes me a saner person. It allows me to focus on something positive when I’m stressed, and the methodic nature of knitting is very calming to me. It also gives me a creative outlet that I haven’t had since high school art class. Color is a great inspiration for me, and knitting has allowed me to be creative with color in ways that I couldn’t in any other part of my life. Also, knitting has made me a more generous person. I like making things for other people, and find that I make things for people that I wouldn’t normally buy a gift for.

3. How might you or your life be different if you were suddenly unable to knit?

I shudder to think. I would be quite depressed. It would be like having a death in the family. There would be a mourning period, then maybe I would find another craft to do as a creative outlet.

4. If money were no object, what one yarn, and what one tool or gadget would you run out and buy first?

Definitely Morehouse Farm Merino. I’ve been eying it for many months, but can’t justify the expense for a whole sweater’s worth. As for tools, probably the KnitPicks Options needles.

5. What knitting technique or project type are you most afraid of (if any)? What, specifically, do you fear will happen when you try it?

Fair Isle intimidates me. I am worried that my tension would be off and I’d end up with puckering. And steeking freaks me out. I don’t know if I could cut my knitting.

6. Who is/are your knitting hero(es), and why?

My knitting heroes are anyone who has managed to make a career out of this craft that we all love so much.

7. Do you consider knitting, for you personally, a mostly social activity, or a mostly solitary activity?

It’s mostly a solitary activity. I know a few other people who knit, but none of them has the obsession that I have. I’m part of an online knitting community that gives me advice and support, but otherwise, I’m by myself. While there are times that I wish I could share my addiction with someone, I also feel sort of selfish about this being something that is just for me.

8. Is there a particular regional tradition in knitting that you feel strongly drawn toward (e.g., Fair Isle, Scandinavian, Celtic, Orenburg lace)? Any theories as to why it calls to you?

Fair Isle calls to me. As mentioned above, color is very important to me. I like the use of color in fair isle knitting. It seems like the possibilities are endless with the combinations of colors and motifs that could be used in a garment.

9. If you were a yarn, which yarn would you be?

Lamb’s Pride Worsted is probably most like me. It’s a hard working yarn, but not hard to work with. It appears to be rather no-frills, but the mohair content gives it a little complexity. The fact that it can only be hand washed makes it more high-maintenance than some superwash wools. And the color variety! Massive!

10. Some statistics:
(a) How many years have passed since you FIRST learned to knit?

Almost 4.

(b) How many total years have you been actively, regularly knitting (i.e., they don't have to have been in a row)?

Almost 4.

(c) how many people have you taught to knit?

3, but it stuck with only 1 of those.

(d) Roughly what percentage of your FOs do you give away (to anyone besides yourself, i.e., including your immediate family)


11. How often do you KIP (knit in public)? i.e., once a week, once a month, etc. Where do you do it?

Now that I have a knitting group that I sometimes meet with, and we meet in a local coffee shop, it’s probably a couple of times a month.

12. If a genie granted you one hour to stitch-n-bitch with any one knitter, living or dead, who would you choose and why?

Virginia Woolf. Her writing has always fascinated me. I found out a couple of years ago that she was a knitter. She supposedly said, “Knitting is the saving of life.” I’d love to hear her thoughts on knitting and how it has influenced her.

13. What aspect or task in knitting makes you most impatient?

Aside from swatching, I would say seaming. I’m a perfectionist, but also a bit impatient, so when a seam doesn’t come out the way I want it to, I get frustrated.

14. What is it about knitting that never lets you get bored with it?

Seeing this lovely object appear from under my needles.

15. Describe how and where you most often do your knitting - where do you sit, what is going on around you, what tools do you use and how are they (dis)organized?

I almost always sit in the recliner in our living room, watching tv. Shane is either with me watching the tube, or in the office, on the PlayStation. To my right is an end table with a drawer in the front. That drawer holds all my notions, like scissors, tapestry needles, gauge finders, tape measures, cable needles, stitch markers, row counters, and crochet hooks. It also has lip balm, a nail file, cuticle scissors, and hand lotion. On the floor in front of the end table is a rectangular basket containing all my current projects—those are projects that I’m working on right now, not just any UFOs. Next to the basket is this small, old barrel thingy that has a hinged lid on it with holes in it. It’s a yarn keeper that I sometimes use.

16. Which one person is the recipient of more of your knitting than any other?

No one in particular, though mostly family members.

17. What's the oddest thing about your knitting, or yourself as a knitter?

The oddest thing about my knitting is the fact that I’m a knitter. It is an activity that is so opposite of the self-centered, anti-domestic, material girl that I used to be. Now I find myself sitting for hours at home knitting, and I’m always coming up with ideas for gifts that I can make my family and friends.

18. What do you see yourself knitting - if anything - twenty years from now?

Pretty much the same things that I do now, except I’ll be a lot better at it.

19. If you were stranded on a deserted island and could have only ONE SKEIN of yarn, which yarn would it be and what would you do with it?

I think I would grab the 3400 yd hank of laceweight that I have in my stash and some size 1s. That would keep me busy for a long time. I’d make myself a lace shawl that no one would ever see and appreciate, but me.

20. If you were allowed to own only one knitting-related book, which would it be? (you'd be free to browse others, but you couldn't keep them)

Probably the Vogue Knitting Techniques book (I think that’s what it’s called). Combined with my own creativity, I could keep myself going with self-written patterns for years.

21. Is knitting the new yoga? Why or why not?

No, because for me, knitting is not a fad. It’s a way of life, a culture, a community.

22. What important thing are you trying to put off doing whenever you knit?

Cooking, laundry, house cleaning, house painting, paying bills, going to the grocery store, washing the car.


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