After reading Alex’s post about knitting style I decided to start jotting down all the thoughts swirling around in my head. The result was possibly a more jumbled mess than I expected on Friday but as I got my last order of anything knitting related in yesterday, things started to fall into place.
The knitting style part isn’t as complicated, so let’s start there.
Lately, I’ve been experimenting with my knitting style and have decided to make the switch to pure Continental knitting as part of my plan to gradually switch over to Portuguese knitting. I’m not entirely sure which will work best but I like the mechanics enough that I need both in my tool box/ skill set. Since I am going to start to knit my own tops in order to live a bit more sustainably, I need to make sure that I knit in a sustainable fashion.
I should clarify that I’m not entirely sure what I knit before. I taught myself to knit, so I just went with whatever worked but as I started to knit more, particularly with finer weight yarns, I found that my knitting isn’t as consistent as I’d like and my hands start to ache a bit after a knit for a good while; it was time for a change. Continental seemed the obvious choice, since I already held the yarn in my left hand (I hear that this has to do with my starting off in crochet but I am still somewhat ambidextrous so keeping the tension with my left just makes sense). So after re-injuring my ankle, I decided it was time get on Youtube and attempt to try to learn proper Continental technique.
So far, so good. I’m painfully slow, but the tension is great, I’m a bit more consistent, and any discomfort is gone. I haven’t completely switched over, mind, but I find myself knitting the old way less and less. Once I’m a bit more comfortable, I think I’ll go get a lesson for Portuguese knitting.
This naturally brings me to the subject of needles.
Given that I’m knitting my own tops now, and most of the patterns that I’ve chosen are worked in the round, I found myself in need of some tools and completely stuck on which to get. Everyone I know that knits garments uses circular needles and though I am really intrigued with the idea of having interchangeable circs, I haven’t forgotten that the two experiences I’ve had trying to use these kind of needle has not gone the least bit well. It could have been that I was a lot less experienced, or that the kind of needles I tried weren’t for me – or that I just wasn’t meant to use circular needles. I am totally willing to suck it up and learn to use them if that’s the only sane way to knit garments, but I’m not entirely convinced that using big DPNs (which I LOVE for socks) will make things that much harder, so I came up with the traditional Pro&Con list below:
Interchangeable Circular Needles
- Efficient storage
- You can try stuff on more easily/I always see people knitting sweaters and tops with them and that’s what I’d like to be knitting.
- Sets are pricey
- Cords and lots of parts
- I need to learn to use them
- I’m not sure I want more plastic in my life – yes, I know I’ll have them forever but if they break/wear out, then they’re off to a landfill.
Double Pointed Needles
- I know how to use them and breaking up the project among different needles helps me make sense of it.
- Wooden DPNs can be ethically sourced and are compostable
- I like how old-timey they feel/needing to replace one needle doesn’t stop your progress
- I have to buy a bunch of sizes – possibly in both 6″ and 10″ lengths – not sure how knitting sweaters works on DPN’s
- I might have to buy more storage
- $$$ (It’s all about the Hamiltons…)
What do you all think?
To tell you the truth, I think I’m over the whole shopping/buying aspect of knitting. As I try to knit more sustainably, I have to do more research, which is time I’d rather spend knitting – and let’s face it, knitting gets expensive real quick. Yes, even when stuff is on sale. I just want to skip to the knitting 🙂
I know that there is a big learning curve to knitting. In addition to learning knitting styles, different stitches and how to make different things, over time you learn what you like to knit as well as what you like to knit with and I guess that this is the reason that I had a huge bin of yarn to work with but nothing to knit the projects I’d like to start. This was kind of a wake-up call for the minimalist within and I’ve given myself a deadline. I need to get through all the yarn in my yarn bin before 2017, or I have to gift or donate it.
Yes, I did just make that rule after taking advantege of KnitPicks Halloween sale but since all this yarn is already designated to projects I’ve started or am going to start soon, I’m not too worried. I’m actually kind of excited since this is the first time I’ll be knitting with Sport and DK weight. It took a while but I finally figured out that Oakland is way too warm to have tops knit out of Worsted weight, so I got rid of most of those patterns (some I’d like to adapt to a different weight) in my queue. It can get pretty cold here, but since we have a layering kind of thing going on (you never leave the house without a sweater in the SF Bay) I think it will work out.
There are two skeins of yarn not accounted for here because after getting a coupon code from KnitPicks, I decided to get three sets of 8″ DPNs sizes US 5, 6, 7 and I added two different orange yarns to the mix. Since it’s kind of impossible to match the orange I began the blanket with, I’ve decided to use three oranges to mix it up a bit. After a lot of thought, and making up the 2017 rule, I decided that the most cost effective way to go was the DPN route. This isn’t to say that I’m set on this path but it stall the final decision until 2017, when I’ll have an empty yarn bin and thus room to make big decisions like that.