Ok, I admit it. This baby blanket cannot be finished too soon. And I’m starting to worry – just a little – that I won’t be finished with the Christmas stocking either. So, yesterday, in the late evening when I should have been sleeping, but was wide awake from having taken my ADHD meds way too late in the evening, after going to the mall with my husband to look at sunglasses, iMac laptops, and … Ok, that sentence was getting way too long.
Last night, I ended up doing a three-hour web search on knitting faster. I’ve always heard that Continental knitting is faster than English. I did try to learn Continental knitting, and my Continental knitting is ok, while my Continental purling still needs a lot of work. But I never really practiced enough to make it a muscle-memory activity. Besides, after three hours, I found out that I already do all the things that they tell English knitters to do to speed up. So, I guess I am a pretty fast English knitter.
I found a lot of sites discussing Lever Knitting, where the knitter holds the right needle under her/his arm or in the right hand like a pencil. I’ve been in online classes where the teacher holds her needles like this. It appears that all the fastest knitters in the world knit like this. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the Yarn Harlot, knits like this and teaches full day classes on the topic. I’d love to be able to learn from the expert, but she’s not going to be in my area any time soon. So I did the standard Google search and spent the afore-mentioned three hours reading blogs and websites, and watching youtube videos about lever knitting (list to follow for those who want to recreate my search in their own three hours).
I’m convinced that I can learn this method. After all, I am an English knitter, so I am already comfortable with using my right hand to hold the yarn. And I have an armpit. I’m probably going to use the pencil-hold way more because I use circular needles all the time.
But, as all the video teachers said, I am not going to use this technique on the baby blanket, ’cause the blanket is going to be done today. But I can use it to make the Christmas stocking! Stephanie, according to the many blogs about her class, tell her students to work on the technique every day for 30 days with a project that has equal knits and purls. Well, there we go! The Christmas Stocking is knit flat for the intarsia part (under the armpit?) and then the seam is sewn and the foot is knit in the round (oh, look! Circulars!)
And, according to rumor, my stitches per minute will increase. Thus, the stocking will get done on time, and all future projects will be completed faster.
I’m not going for world’s fastest knitter, but I am looking forward to getting more done in the time I have for knitting. Here’s hoping!!
Sorry. I didn’t get this finished to post before General Conference today, so I will tell you that I did knit on the blanket, and got through 1 and 1/2 more pattern rows, so hopefully when I finish the last one and add the border, it will be more of a rectangle than a square. I’ll post final dimensions after it is blocked, ends woven in and pictures taken!
Between sessions, my son asked us to get Skype so we could video chat. I did so, and we got to have a live Skype tour of his new apartment. The only problem is that my iMac internal microphone kept changing its volume to Zero (ie, silent) so they had a problem hearing us. I need to go to microcenter tomorrow and see what they can tell me to fix that problem. I showed them the blanket – and they were both impressed with the size. Even if it still seems like it’s wider than it is tall, it will be big enough for a newborn baby to get wrapped up in. Yeah!
Now, for the list of things I read last night on the subject of faster knitting:
Yarn Harlot Knitting - the Yarn Harlot demonstrating and showing both techniques
Irish Cottage Knitting with Yarn Harlot Stephanie Pearl-McPhee - a short video of Stephanie knitting socks extremely fast which is then slowed down to show the actual movement of her hands and yarn
Lever Knitting the Yarn Harlot Way by JaneAliceMarie – a student of Stephanie’s demonstrating the yarn tension and movement slower than the other videos
HeartStrings FiberArts – not a video, but has good pictures and instructions
Yarn Harlot Speech in Denver – Ok, this isn’t a video on lever knitting, but it is the Yarn Harlot at her funniest. Obviously taped on someone’s phone, so there’s a lot of extra noise, etc., but it is so funny I had to share. There’s a ‘Denver part 2″ video as well, the continuation of this talk.
Another Yarn Harlot speech – laughed so hard, especially about what to say to people when they find your stash.
So there’s everything that I learned last night … well, early this morning.