November 13, 2007

The stages of knitting

I was going to write about my kool-aid and RIT dying experience from this weekend, but ESC mentioned in the comments something that got me thinking about "what are the stages of knitting?"

When you first start knitting, it's the 'purl' stitch throwing a monkey wrench into the works. You had that 'knit' stitch all down and then somebody comes along and tells you to do the reverse. What a eye opening experience! There are now literally hundreds of options that weren't available to you prior to the 'purl.' You have texture and choices! You have patterns!

Then possibly you moved onto increases (k2 in same stitch) and decreases (k2tog). You learned that you could do these all along and probably did as you first started knitting. If only you had known that all those 'mistakes' you were making weren't really mistakes at all you would be an expert knitter by now. Dang it! Not only were you increasing and decreasing, but you were also making new stitches (m1) and learning to yarnover (yo) at this point too, possibly without even realizing it. Doh! And from there the world opens up. You can see errors, you can shape things can make holes on purpose!

Once you were a Noob, but then what do you become? Initiate? Green Belt? Not-quite-so-new-but-not-quite-advanced? I think most people would reply without delay, "Intermediate," but personally I think this is too broad a term. Intermediate patterns can range from plain ole' tube socks to 5,000 stitch scarves and wraps. Both use all the same simple techniques. So what differentiates the two? The amount of yarn used? Or perhaps the cost of said yarn? Acrylic or Merino? What's the difference between a knitter and a Knitter?

Some in the knit-blogging world suggest that sweaters and lace could be used to identify a Knitter from a knitter. Intarsia, stranding color work, entralac, seaming, grafting, steeking, hemming, edges, i-cords, DPNS, circular needles- the list goes on of what could be used to determine you level of capability. Of course, their are many including Grumperina, Franklin and the Yarn Harlot who would disagree with the fact that your capability to do those things makes you a Knitter. They would argue that your desire to learn new skills is what makes you a Knitter. The fact that you can doesn't put you on a pedestal. Still, the fact holds true that the more variety of experiences you journey through, the better knitter you become.

The ChickenGoddess wrote yesterday that she enjoys learning from her failures. She feels that when she comes to a stand still in a pattern it "usually identifies the areas [she has] to work on." I tend to agree with this statement, not that I go out of my way to make knitting painful for myself, but pattern with new techniques are intriguing rather than scary. Could I do that? Will I like it? Is it good blogging material? Are all questions to spur me into trying new experiences.


evilsciencechick said...

when I left that comment yesterday, I had the fun mental image of a bunch of people wearing robes, leading some new member of the craft into an stone circle. maybe softly beating on them on the back with circular needles, and chanting "...23..24...25...shut up...26...i'm counting...27..."

then the initiates strip naked and rub the softest merino silk blends and cashmere yarns all over themselves, giving themselves OVER TO THE FIBER COMPLETELY!!!!!

then...they become true knitters.

sorry, I have a highly overactive imagination.

turtlegirl76 said...

Ha! ESC cracks me up.

But if we use the theory that when one runs into difficulty with a pattern, that means that's your something to work on, could you not argue that maybe you just need to learn how to read better? Hookd on foniks werked 4 me!