Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Shop Q & A

This episode of Q&A asks: what project taught you the most, and what did you learn?

Jeanne learned the most from the first sweater she made -- a top-down sweater. "I learned I could knit a sweater, which I really doubted when I started. As long as you follow the directions, a sweater will eventually materialize. I love top-down construction because there is no finishing, and you can check the fit as you go along." The homely, well-worn specimen at left is one of her early top-down efforts and it's still getting a lot of use -- especially when she's had to shovel snow this past winter.

Barbara doesn't know what project taught her the most ever, but even after many years as a knitter, she continues to have "eureka!" moments. One came recently when she was making the Einstein Coat from Sally Melville's book, The Knit Stitch. The pattern called for a crochet cast on, and Barbara noticed for the first time that this style of cast on allows you to knit the first row as a "right side" row. Most cast ons, like the long-tail or cable cast on, look best if the first row is a wrong-side row. The crochet cast on is the opposite.

Karen learned the most from the Shell Tank pattern she knit out of Norah Gaughan's Knitting Nature. The intricate cabling was a challenge, and she wound up creating her own charts to better follow the pattern. She also learned to pick up stitches invisibly. The result was well worth the extra effort, and it's still one of her favorite-ever projects (pictured at right, in color we might as well just call "Karen Green").

Helen learned the most from a fisherman's sweater that she knit for husband. What did it teach her? "That it's always worth it to rip it out if you're unhappy." This is an issue that comes up all the time with customers. "If they're doing a 'should I or shouldn't I?' I tell them to go home and sleep on it. Nine times out of ten they decide the next day to take it out."

Tell us in the comments what project taught you the most!

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