After 20 years of knitting and reading thousands of patterns, I have strong feelings about knit designs. The words love and hate express those feelings, although I thought I merely had biases before giving it more thought. Bias is just not a strong enough word. Hate might be too strong, so I’ll call them deep aversions.
When I look at any design, I check out five major issues. Do elements that show on both right and wrong sides look good on both? Are selvedges nicely planned so they are useful for seaming or, if left unfinished, are attractive? Is a too-simple ribbing used on hems, cuffs, and button bands? Do shoulders fit the model’s body well, without extra fabric under the arm? Are cables and texture stitches mirrored?
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Cables look overwhelmingly complicated to the beginning knitter; they are not. New knitters want to knit cables, but avoid them because they look so difficult. How can someone who has just recently mastered knit and purl stitches possibly create a fabric that looks so beautiful?
That’s how I felt when I began to learn to knit. (Learning – the never-ending, mostly satisfying, sometimes frustrating process.) Cables were what I wanted to knit. Nothing else mattered – likely due to my Irish and Scottish heritage.
At my local yarn store, the revelation was patiently delivered. Just pull a few stitches to the front of the fabric, put them on a little needle, and knit them out of order. Repeat. Behold – the stitches cross and there is a beautiful, complicated-looking cable. Like most knit techniques, things do not stay simple for long. Immersing myself in Aran sweaters and the glorious patterns from Alice Starmore proved that.
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I make bread every week. I have for years. There are so many great things about it. It’s delicious. It makes the house smell great. It makes a great gift. It takes a lot less time to create than something knitted and is frequently more appreciated, as much for its novelty as its taste.
When I was deep into bread making as a hobby, (sourdough starter included) I did a lot of reading and discovered mitts that bakers used to wear hanging from their wrists. When the loaves were ready, the bakers would give a quick swing of the wrists and their hands were protected, ready to pull hot pans from the ovens.
Continue reading “Bread Making Inspired a Knitting Pattern”