Saturday, December 26, 2009

Things I learned from EZ in 12 minutes

I opened up Knitting Workshop the other day and started reading. In the first few minutes of simply reading the lessons--the hat and the yoke sweater--I learned so many seemingly obvious things that have escaped my knitting knowledge. It was humbling.

If you haven't already, you must buy this book. And read it. You don't have to knit the projects if they don't interest you.

But you can't presume that the wisdom of EZ and her compatriots has been passed down to every published designer out there. You need to arm yourself with this knitting knowledge.

Here are some tidbits, in no particularly order:

1. A k2, p2 rib trim is great, but you must decrease 10% from the stockinette body stitches before working the ribbing in order for it to "grab" nicely. (Or, if working bottom-up, increase 10% from the ribbing to the stockinette.) (page 15)

2. When working in the round, you must work short rows on the back of the neck so that the collar raises up in back. This many of us already knew. BUT when working these short rows, they must wrap around the neck on either side so that the extra rows actually are worked nearly 2/3 of the way around the neck. (page 47)

3. These aforementioned extra neck rows should be worked in k2, p2 rib, not in stockinette (and THEN switching to k2, p2 rib). This was very counter-intuitive to me at first (all that long ribbing in back, and short ribbing in front?) but actually (duh) it looks a lot better.

4. Don't use a blunt-tipped needle for weaving in ends. Blunt-tips are for seaming and grafting. Sharp-tips are for weaving--simply "skim through the back of the fabric" with it. (page 30)

5. Blocking is best done with a steam iron. YES. No more full-immersion blocking for me. What a waste of time. I blocked the husband's xmas sweater this year with steam only and it looks great. (page 31)

Now, these things might seem kind of complicated, and might not make much sense if you are a beginning knitter--which is my point. I think a lot of advanced knitters avoid Knitting Workshop because it seems like a knitting primer--which it is--and might not have much to offer an advanced knitter--which is totally wrong.

Go buy it, people. And just read it.

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