question everything

Recently I’ve been reading a lot of posts and forums about knit design.  I figured if this is something I want to soon try might as well read up and learn from others.  Granted forums are organic beasts that can go off on tangents but one thing I kept running into was to Question Why you are knitting the way you are.

For instance, if there a Ktog, why?
If you need to YO, why?
If you’re knitting flat instead of the round, why?

All of a sudden you start to see your knitting in a different way.  At first I would see FO and just want to simply knit.  Knit to my heart’s content without recognizing why things are doing what their doing – so long as the finished project looked like what I wanted.  Cherie was the first knit that totally crushed that idea and sent me in to a minor knit depression.  Sometimes, patterns just suck and blindly knitting into the night will often cause more heartache than fun photo shoots.

Medallion Shawl

What comes from knitting so much is that you start to See what is happening and thus why it happens. I’m currently all about the Medallion Shawl by Norah Gaughn in the new VK.  These little hexagons are wipping out in a very quick fashion but not without me questioning Why?  Why is there a random purl in some of the knit rows? Becoming more familiar with the pattern repeat shows that this purl happens when faced with a double YO, however there is an earlier row that doesn’t specifically state how to knit into the double yarn over, which for no other reason than it just worked, I simply knitted into the front of one YO and the back of another.   Once blocked it looks fine.

But then I thought… well if the other rows are purling the 2nd YO, why not just purl the 2nd YOs on that first double yarn over row?  Then something strange happens, I scrunch up my face a bit and think what if it looks like crap or destorts the final shape of the hexagon, well then the question of why there is or is not a purl in the 2nd YO will be answered.   In the end it looks fine and perhaps makes the Double YOs more even and uniform.

When you go to a museum one of the first questions you ask yourself while looking at the pieces is "why did they do it this way?".  Why dark paints or sharp shadows or blurred here rather than there.  I was that girl who saw a painting and just thought oh that’s pretty instead of now why did he/she take or make it that way.  Questioning knitting is no different.  Why is this stockinette or why use the moss stitch here? I get it now so much more than I did before. 

You may be looking at your knitting but do you really see what your knitting? I think I finally See.

12 thoughts on “question everything

  1. Lise says:

    Interesting observations. And what a great message about seeing. I’ll remember it when I pick up the needles. Creations make more sense if you start asking questions. It’s not the easiest way to get something done but then again, easy is not fun.


  2. Ava says:

    Sometimes I just question why I am knitting a project to keep me motivated. I began questioning the “why” part of it after knitting Salt Peanuts and entering that post first sweater let down/depression. Never again have looked at a sweater quite the same. Thanks for the reminder.


  3. nova says:

    I have to admit that sometimes I am blissfully happy to be ignorant. But I after knitting the Sienna Cardigan, I started to question my choices and my knitting. I think sometimes it takes a loser knit or knit depression to spark the questioning.


  4. Kirsten says:

    It is a wonderful moment when you finally “see” it. I highly encourage you to try designing, for two reasons. First, after reading your blog for more than a year, I truly believe that you have an eye for design. Secondly, I think you will enjoy the challenge of solving the same types of questions that you speak of when you encounter them in your own designs.


  5. stacey says:

    it is like a lightbulb moment – looking vs. seeing. sometimes i truly only like to look. the mindless knitting that we sometimes crave and enjoy. other times, seeing is really enlightening – why decreases are where and how they impact the rest of the knitting further down the road. kind of like learning to read through an entire pattern first to get the gist of it before starting.


  6. Julie says:

    You are so right- all it takes is that one disasterous project, and you realize that you can’t just follow directions blindly, you need to think about what you are doing. I often tell non-knitters that knitting can be as simple or as complex as you want- it can feel like a bubble bath or like a chess game, depending on the project and the yarn!


  7. melissa says:

    i still remember the first time i found myself reading stitches in lace. i had forgotten the pattern and really wanted to work on my shawl and suddenly i could just see what to do next. i has really changed knitting for me, loving the genius of the process and the finished object.
    i need to visit more of the design forums on ravelry, though. i really struggle with designing most of the time because i understand that there are lots of knitters who still would like to strictly follow a pattern, and my “figure it out as you go along” style doesn’t translate well to print.
    i would love to see some designs from you. i ‘ve been really enjoying your blog and watching your knitting unfold.


  8. Marilyn says:

    I’ve recently been asking myself those same questions. And, ironically, it began while knitting Norah’s Spiral Scarf from Knitting Nature. It’s in a 1×1 rib, and I am so curious to know why. I also recently knit a her scarf in Scarf Style, and I had a nagging question about why do the cable the way she said. I didn’t experiment without it, but I may have figured how why. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one.


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