Relearning to Knit

Last week I wound up my skein of Wollmeise. I hadn't finished my sweater and I hadn't finished Jason's socks. I thought I would, and I feel like I should have after all of the knitting I've been doing on them. And then I thought back and I realized that I actually hadn't done all that much knitting at all. There were a few days last week when I didn't even touch the needles.

So I made myself a deal, because, you know, bribery is always the easiest way to get me to do something (take note, I am especially easily bribed with yarn!) If I finished the gusset decreases on Jason's second sock, then I could play with the Wollmeise and my ballwinder. And I finished. So I did.

Then, with it sitting beside me and begging to be cast on, Jason's sock just flew off the needles. I knit the biggest chunk of the foot while watching Big Bang Theory, then finished up the toe last night.

And now I'm almost ready to cast on for my Honey Cowl. Almost.

See, recently I evaluated the way that I knit. You've heard me complain before about how frustratingly slow I knit, especially compared with other bloggers. In just the new year, Kay is on her 6th Honey Cowl since the New Year. (I know, the mind boggles.) Mine, just the one, will probably take me two months to complete. I mean, a simple garter stitch washcloth is two days' worth of knitting for me, and other knitters can bang out one of those in an afternoon. So, yeah, I do get a little jealous when people talk about "oh I knit half a sweater last night" or "look at this shawl I finished in a week!" or whatever. I know it's silly and it's not a competition or a race and no one is grading me on knitting, and it's what I do to relax for crying out loud. But still, I'd like to be faster at it.

So I sat down and took a good long look at the way I knit. I do knit English, because I crochet and am used to holding yarn in my left hand for crocheting so trying to hold the yarn Continental plays merry hell with my tension. Also, I hate purling Continental. So, I hold the working yarn in my right hand, looped once around my middle finger and then clockwise over my forefinger. But if I loop it the other way over my forefinger, I'm able to "flick" the yarn into position without letting go of the needle. I just had to figure out how to hold the yarn to keep my tension even.

What I need, I thought to myself, is practice. I went for a little dig through the stash and came out with this... two skeins of Red Heart Soft yarn in eye-searing green and blue. I figured I'd just cast on a bunch of stitches and just work in garter stitch until this feels comfortable. I ended up going with a Fibonacci sequence of striping, and since it's nerdy I'm hoping that the fact that it's also lime green and turquoise will keep Jason from stealing it like he did my Electron Emission Spectra of Hydrogen scarf. Anyhow, I love bright colors, I love garter stitch, I love scarves, and I really want to learn to knit faster. So this is a winning idea, right?

Wrong. I love bright colors, garter stitch, and scarves, but after two days and a foot and a half of garter stitch, I'm not knitting any faster. I'm not clumsy at it anymore, which is good, but my speed quickly leveled out at pretty much were I am when I knit the old way. AND at the expense of my hands -- after a while the tendons on the back of my index and middle fingers of my right hand start to twinge, and despite not doing anything noticeably different with my left hand, it begins to cramp up too. I don't know, maybe I'll keep at it, maybe I won't. Really, I just need to learn to accept that I'm a slow knitter and probably always will be. I'll probably finish this scarf, because luckily despite knitting differently my guage is the same. And I do love bright garter stitch scarves...