Thursday, April 17, 2014

About practice sampling

What I am about to show you is not a gauge swatch. It's a practice sampler.

What's the difference? I'm not trying to get X amount of stitches or rows per inch. That means there's really no pressure--no measuring, remeasuring, bunching, stretching, pulling, measuring again, changing needles, no bad words, and no pulling hair out.

A practice sampler is just what it says...a sample that you knit for practice. It's not going to BE anything. It doesn't have to FIT anything. It's simply knitting for the fun and joy of knitting.

This particular sampler just happens to be the toe section of Anna Zilboorg's "Half-Stranded Socks". I've written of this pattern before, a little over a year ago. (Here.) Since that post I have taken a class from Anna, as in live and in person. (More on that later.) For me the class was kick in the butt I needed to practice the art of knitting and become a better, well, practitioner.

My little sample is far from perfect, but did I really expect to hit a home run on my first at bat? (Actually...yes I did.) Some (a lot) of the stitches are wonky. Strike one. I executed a positively crappy stitch pick up along the toe. Surely I don't have to point it out to you. Strike two. Then there's the puckered area over on the left. Strike three. So does that mean I'm out? No way! I've only just begun.

My brain knows what my fingers should be doing, but my fingers are being stubborn. I can do it, but my fingers are balking as I coax them into trying a different way of picking up stitches along the toe band or to remember not to tug the yarn too tightly across the back of the color work. Muscle memory is very difficult to erase and reprogram. It takes patience, which I tremendously lack, and practice.

And don't even get me started on that old cliche "practice makes perfect". That's a whole other therapy session... (Hi, I'm Chris and I'm a Perfectionist...)

For now I'll stick with practicing and more practicing.  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

To weave or not to weave

I picked up this cool skein of yarn at Stitches South this past weekend. Do I mix it with a couple other fibers and weave it? Should I knit a funky cowl? Or do I arrange it nicely in a bowl and use it for a centerpiece?