Friday, June 6, 2014

Learning Something New!

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I had gone to a retreat where it was all knitting and spinning all the time.  What I didn't mention, though, is that Saturday afternoon, after the sock swap, the middle finger in my right hand started feeling strange.  In fact the knuckle was swollen and a little red!  I couldn't knit at all for the rest of the retreat!  (I was able to spin, thankfully!)

The knuckle inflamation was a reaccurance of an old Bowling injury,  and I had to let it rest for well over a week.  I even bought a cool finger splint packet that had a finger shaped ice pack in it.  It was wonderful!  This got me thinking about how I could continue to knit with this aggravation always a possibility.

 I remembered that the Yarn Harlot has a very interesting way of knitting, I had looked into it several years ago, but I didn't really give it a good try,  it is called Irish Cottage Knitting or Lever Knitting.  I started watching the You Tube videos of her knitting, and I began the awkward process of learning something new.

 You may remember this Featherweight cardigan from last week.  I have knit and reknit the last 3 inches of it trying to get the method down.  I knit it once on size #3's using my usual Continental style, when my finger was still messed up, and it looked terrible.  It is k1p1 ribbing and normally you would go down a needle size, but I forgot.
I then started in ernest with the new lever method, (you can watch the Yarn Harlot knit using this method on You Tube!)  I was all thumbs of course, for the first couple of days, but I am persevering,  I have no choice!  I dutifully went down a needle size, but found that my tension was a little tighter, so I ripped it out again, and went back to the #3's.  I am now getting ready to bind the ribbing off!

 K1P1 is an absolute bear to do when you are learning a whole new technique, but I really want to learn this method, and I really want to finish this sweater!   Yes, those are straights you are seeing.  I haven't used straights in forever, seriously!  With this method you start by practicing one month, with one long straight metal needle held stationary in your right armpit.  The yarn is wrapped a certain way around your right hand and your whole hand flicks the yarn around the needles at the appropriate time.  The Yarn Harlot is incredibly fast at it, I clocked her at 65-75 stitches a minute.  I think I am at about 25 stitches a minute, but that is over K1P1.  The left hand really does the bulk of the stitch management. You really have to see it to believe it!
I also have a pair of So Simple socks on dpn's, and following the same lever method, I am slowly making progress, the yarn is that skein I bought at the retreat.  Then I realized that I was knitting on really small needles and with really thin yarn, I thought I might need to mix it up a bit.

In our goodie bag at the retreat, there was a sample skein, that I wrote about last week, from Dyeabolic yarns, In the Lucy color.  It was just enough to knit a Calorimetry, which is a cross between a headband and a hat.  I knit it on size 5 straights, well I first knit it on size 7, thinking I had gauge, and I got down to the last 12 stitches on the bind off, and ran out of yarn.  I tried it on and it was too big anyway, so I ripped it out last night and today I, redid it on size 5's.  I had 2 yards to spare after the bind off.  Now to get a button to finish it off.

My finger is much improved, though I do ice it every now and then.  The knitting doesn't bother it, but it is surprising how many times a day it reminds me to take it easy.  My speed should improve with time and practice, but speed isn't my main focus.  I want to be able to knit for many years to come, and I think I have found a way to do it.

Until next time, Happy Spinning, Weaving and Knitting, Tina


LA said...

I watched that video! It reminds me of how I tried to knit when I was 10 years old!

Amanda Cutler said...

The Calorimetry is an awesome pattern! I have been using mine every winter for the last 5 or 6 years!