Tuesday, February 09, 2016

When the path starts to spiral into a point

Will we know when we get to the point where knitting is the best that it can be?  I take historical knitting as a standard, and try to reverse engineer the skills and technology, so I can knit like they did.  I will never achieve it, because they learned details and skills as children, so the could do their best work while still bright eyed, and nimble fingered.  In contrast, I am still struggling with the technologies as I am past my prime. Somebody should have taught me all of this when I first learned to knit in back in 1972.

 I  often say that one of the hardest points of using a knitting sheath is knowing how to secure it in place.  To a certain extent this is controlled by the choice of knitting sheath and other wardrobe.

When KIP or doing a bit of knitting, it does not matter much which tools I use.  Any of my current cycle of knitting sheaths:

Tools from beside my knitting chair

and, any belt will work, allowing me to knit faster and more uniformly than I can knit with hand held needles.  For KIP, the rosewood knitting sheath:

3-ply sock fabric
Also very good for sweaters
 threaded onto a belt worn with jeans, is very effective and not conspicuous. It does not go astray (or over board) when KIP.   And, with different needle adapters it works with different needles to for different gauges.  It is usually on my belt.

5-ply guernsey fabric

However, if I need to get substantial knitting done as fast, and as well as I can, then I use my best tools and my skill at fastening the knitting sheath in place to make the session as productive as possible.

The hint is in Figure 1 of Mary Thomas's Knitting Book, the Knitters of Gayle.

 At this point, my best solution is a soft leather welder's apron with soft leather work belt holding the sheath against it, as in:

Leather support for knitting fast.

The combination of the soft, split leather apron and the soft leather belt provide enough stability to hold the knitting sheath and give a very good spring action to the steel needles within the ergonomic zone.  I find this system holds the knitting sheath firmer, than any cloth apron, and is much better than just a belt through the belt loops in a pair of  pants, and is less stiff than my full grain leather, wood turning apron. For just practical knitting, it cannot get much better.  Ok, it is ugly, but it works. You   know me, "First make it work, then make it pretty".

When I have to get some knitting done, I put on my welder's apron, and belt my knitting sheath on over  the apron, under my right elbow. I look funny, but it lets me get more knitting done, faster.

This also means that I am using flat-tipped 12"-  long UK18 needles for much of my knitting rather than rather than the pointy 18"- long UK13 needles that I previously favored.   I knit faster, but have more needle changes per round.  The needle instructions in the first pattern in Gladys Thompson (PGJA), suggests that this may be a worth while trade off for fine knitting,and actually lead to greater over all productivity on many objects. However, If I could have only one set of needles, and I HAD to knit a lot of  lace, then I would have to go with pointy needles.

The old knitters were very smart.

I bought this apron when I first started working with fine, pointy lace needles and they went through my pants into my thighs.  In truth, this is not my welder's apron, it is my "Lace Apron"!

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