Saturday, 11 October 2008

Every now and then everything comes up roses

I guess everyone has them now and again - moments of clarity that transforms what you're doing or how you think; an epiphany; an "a-ha" moment (and I don't mean Norwegian bands in tight jeans).

My mum taught me to knit when I was about 4 or 5, and I knit in exactly the same style as her. Until recently, this was pretty absolute; I used standard Australian patterns from ACS, almost exclusively their yarns, and I knit garments the same way as my Mum (whom I should add is a brilliant knitter who test-knit for ACS in the 70s). That is, in pieces - back, front(s), sleeves, sew up seams and pick up stitches for neckbands, button bands etc.

I thought that's how one knit.

I never thought I'd say this, but I reckon Donald Rumsfeld may have been onto something when he postulated that not only were the "known unknowns", but there were also "unknown unknowns".

I had no idea that my knitting would be so transformed by my exploration of the knitting community via the web and blogging. There were (and still are) indeed unknown unknowns.

The knowledge that has transformed my knitting, probably more than any other thing I have learned recently, is that garments can be knit in one piece, from the top down, or bottom up. One piece. No seaming.

Although this isn't anything new to, oh probably a goodly 99% of the knitting world, it was news to me a few months back when I figured it out.

One piece. No seaming. Wow.

It has changed the way I look at garment construction. I now understand how things go together to make a garment and if I see a pattern knit in pieces, I immediately want to know if it is essential to construct it that way, and if not, how I could make it in one piece. Without seams.

Although my first top-down one-piece was a wrap (so it was straight, really), my current deadline WIP is a roll-neck jumper that I've done in this style, in the round. I can't show it to you right now, because it's a gift, but let me tell you I am totally chuffed with how it is working out. I reckon it might even fit the intended recipient!

Now that I've got the top-down seamless by the short-and-curlies (to borrow a very elegant phrase from my mother), I am really looking forward to the next "a-ha" moment that transforms the way I craft.

What was your ephiphany?

p.s. the spellchecker in Blogger reckons Rumsfeld should be "misfield". Maybe someone should have spell-checked his name back in, say, 2001, and taken the hint.

The word for Monday is lend.


Bells said...

Oh yes. Nice. I long to try top down construction. I have admired everything you've done on this front so far.

Michelle said...

Take on me!

Ha ha. An A-ha joke.

That's great that you've unlearned and relearned something you've done for so long. I think the unlearning part would be the hardest.

I see you've won a spirit award over at BigCat's! Congratulations!

Bells said...

oh and as for my epiphany, I think it was the first time I turned a heel. Really, before that, socks stood out there for me as this BIG thing I was scared of. That month, where I taught myself how to do that, really marks the point where I changed as a knitter. After that, nothing was off the agenda!

And that came about because of friends around me. So the community thing was a big deal.

kms said...

ah yes, definitely a transformative moment, and so liberating. top down turned a light on for me too. my real epiphany was realising i knew how to knit a sock without a pattern. nice post george. lend is a hard one tho.....

Donna Lee said...

I became a knitter after going to a fiber show and buying a pair of sock needles and a pattern and a skein of yarn. I had only ever made square things like scarves and baby blankets and they were likely to be crocheted. That first pair of socks made a difference for me. I could knit something useful - and it could be pretty at the same time. And don't get me started on how the internet has broadened that idea and the beauty that is spinning.....

Geek Knitter said...

I'm with Bells... turning my first heel was such an amazing thing. To do from knitting one direction to knitting in another. WOW!

Rose Red said...

Mmm, a-ha. Yummeh! Now what was the question again...

Oh yes, epiphany! For me, it was doing fair isle. I've always thought knitting was relatively "easy" - in that if I tried something, I could do it. Except fair isle. I had a block about it. And then I tried it and gosh darn it, it wasn't that hard after all. So now I think I can do anything when it comes to knitting. (of course, I don't know if that's actually true, but I'm willing to believe it!)