Category Archives: MHK

POK

So, the Principles of Knitting book was tossed on my front porch yesterday.  Literally tossed – there’s a dent on the spine of the book because of it.  I’m not happy with my postman right now.

I’m happy to finally own a copy and as soon as I finish working on the Maria designs, will go back to the MHK program – now with more books at my disposal. :)

I haven’t really read the book yet – I browsed, but I can’t concentrate on the reading as it is giving me headaches (yes, the eyesight is *that* bad – going to pick the new glasses today, though).  I have to say, from this first browsing, that I like the first edition better.  I was a little annoyed at the persistence of giving new names to techniques that already have one – for example: everyone who’s been knitting for more than a week knows by now what the magic loop technique is.  There is no need to come up with a new term for it.
I can live with techniques being renamed, although it takes me a few seconds to realize what she’s talking about (and do some eye rolling), but I on Earth did she have to go mess with charted symbols is beyond me.
Really?  New symbols for charts?  After all the effort so many knitters have gone through to memorize the ones already available and the efforts of so many designers to try to be consistent.  Why????
Ms. Hiatt had her name added to the knitting pantheon a long time ago.  POK is one of the most complete reference books out there.  There was absolutely no need to try to leave her mark by coming up with a new set of symbols that, IMO, aren’t that innovative or any more helpful that the ones already created.

Don’t get me wrong, Principles of Knitting is worth its weight in gold (and it’s heavy!) if you’re the type of person who likes to know the why (the…physics) of knitting.  The book doesn’t give you quick solutions – it’s not your garden variety reference book.  Instead, it explains why a certain technique/stitch/what-have-you does what it does.  It teaches you to understand your knitting in a level that other books don’t.  The things you’ll learn from this book will help trouble-shoot pretty much any piece of knitting.  You’ll become a better knitter because of it.
If you just want instant gratification and quick answers with little to no thinking, I’m afraid POK isn’t a book for you.  Which is a pity, as you’ll miss on a lot of learning, and learning is always good.

Where an old dog learns a new trick

I was very disappointed on how my ribbing 1×1 was coming out.  It had been so long since I knit this stitch flat that I couldn’t remember if it was always like this.  At first I blamed it on lack of practise, so I knit a few more swatches, to no avail (well…little).  On the swatch above, the ribbing was knit by working back and forth without turning, and, aside from the horrible tension, it doesn’t look so bad (but doesn’t look good either).

This one was done by turning my work and you can still see the zig-zag formed by the knit stitches.

I began pondering about this, doing other samples of ribbing and changing little things, and no matter what I tried, the results weren’t that different.  Then, I began to wonder if I used Norwegian purling I could make that ribbing look better.
Off to YouTube I went, looking for a video on how to do it.  I had heard about this before, checked it out and came to the conclusion it wasn’t worth the effort (too confusing).  This was some 3 years ago.  Now, I just wanted to get that ribbing right, so I gave Norwegian purl another try.
To my surprise it was way easier to get a hang of than I though.  As to the claims that it makes for faster knitting…meh.  I had to adjust each purl stitch after doing it, which slowed me down a lot.
      This image shows my first attempt at Norwegian purling.  I was working on the seed stitch swatch at that time, and of course, couldn’t wait until it was done before trying a new technique.  The swatch eventually got frogged, as for the first time in my life, I got  holes in the fabric when knitting seed stitch – that’s how bad the tension on the purl stitches were.

I went digging for answers as to why that ribbing was so wonky and from what I found, there is some consensus that it has to do with how the yarn is plied in combination with how “we” knit.  The “we” is between quotes because I don’t knit like the people who wrote about it.  In my mind, it made no sense that, even when knitting in a different way than most, I’d get the same result (granted, their samples might be zigging when mine is zagging, but still).
So, after giving up on the idea of Norwegian purl, I went back and gave it another try.  Guess what?  It worked for me.

The pics above aren’t of an official swatch and aren’t blocked (on purpose).  Aside from some (very) minor tension issues, it looks much better.
I think I got such a result because I’m not used to Norwegian purling – meaning I had to tug on the yarn and wiggle the stitch a little after doing each one.
One final note, the first and last swatches were done using Ella Rae Classic, so the twist of the plies wasn’t an issue (because I must have some kind of “scientific” standards here 😉 ).

Pics, finally!

The whole lot

     The picture above is of the swatches that, at some point, I called my final swatches.  This was before I changed yarn and needles.  Once I had these swatches blocked, I wasn’t happy with them, but as I edited the images to place them here, I was in shock as how bad they really are.

Garter

This is the garter stitch swatch.  I’m ashamed at how uneven it looks.  Granted, I did block it with little attention (read: no attention whatsoever) to measurements.  Still, it’s an awful work – if you click on the image, you can see – the horror! – holes in the fabric.

Cable swatch

On this one, you don’t even need to click on the image to see the white of the background showing through.  Again, bad blocking, but most importantly, bad choice of needles – the cable just doesn’t pop the way it should.

I could go on and on, showing more photos of the lousy job I’ve done, but don’t want to scare you away.  I can knit better than that, I swear.  This post is just to show why I’ve decided to knit all the swatches again.
BTW, the new swatches (done with 4.5mm needles and Fishermen’s Wool) is soaking in the sink as I write.  I still need to knit one cable swatch and the color one and can then move to the project.