Questions and Answers for Curious Knitters.

Occasionally I receive emails from people who are kind enough to write with questions. So I’ll answer a bunch at once.

In no particular order …

Do you design your own patterns? Or do you use published patterns?

For the most part I do my own designs. Occasionally I will use a published pattern, but rarely do I follow it exactly. I usually modify to suit myself.

I like to knit in the round and I frequently steek and cut. I like classic styles and designs. I’ve got a good collection of books on Scandinavian, gansey, Irish fisherman and Fair Isle knitting, as well as all three of Barbara Walker’s pattern collections.

Creating your own patterns is not difficult and can be fun if you are adventurous. It’s often just a matter of taking a basic shape and working a stitch or color pattern you like.

Where can I get a pattern for something you’ve knitted?

You can’t. I don’t publish my patterns. Too much work. I do willingly share my notes and graphs with the caveat that they only be used for your personal use and not be published under your own name. That would be stealing. Also, no guarantees as to whether my notes will actually be helpful to you. My notes tend to fall off as I approach the end of a project. Your mileage may vary.

How do I do such-and-such technique?

If I’ve got time and the inclination, I’ll help you. If I help you and you write about it on your web site, please give me a mention. I’d appreciate it.

Is there a web site where I can learn a particular knitting technique?

Do your own research, I am not your Google. Why not try Google yourself? Or go to your local yarn store and look for books on the subject.

Can I buy something you knit?

Nope. I don’t knit for money. That would suck the fun out of it. I occasionally do trades with people I know, but unless you already know me and have something to offer that I want, don’t bother asking. If it’s something I’ve got notes on, I can send you the notes and you can maybe find someone through your local yarn store willing to custom knit for you. Pay them well. Their time is worth it.

Where can I find some discontinued yarn that you used?

I have no idea. You’re on your own there. If I knew I’d be hoarding the good stuff myself.

Questions that nobody asked.

Why so long between updates of projects?

I’m not knitting as much as I used to. I used to take my knitting to work, but it kind of got me in trouble once, so I don’t anymore. Besides, I’m too busy working at work. I used to have a lot of down time waiting for slow printers when it was easy rip off a few rounds.

When did you learn to knit?

I learned to knit through 4-H when I was 9. Hated it. Boring. I liked sewing better – more immediate gratification.

I took up knitting again as an adult in 1985 in part because I had a boyfriend who liked to drive a lot and I didn’t want to just sit there inactive in the car. I was inspired by a housemate who was knitting a vest without using a pattern. I had never heard of such a thing. She turned me on to Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitting Without Tears and EPS, Elizabeth’s Percentage System. I’ve adapted the percentage system for a looser fit than the original EPS provides. But it’s the principle of the thing that counts.

What kind of yarn do you like to knit with?

Wool is my favorite, hands down. I hate acrylic and refuse to knit with it. I’m fussy about washable wools – they can’t feel plasticy. Cotton is okay, but it can be harsh. The most uncomfortable yarn I ever worked with was cotton flake.

I like value for my money. Brown Sheep and Galway and Green Mountain Spinnery are economically priced and have a range of colors I like. The best deal is probably Harrisville Yarn, which comes on cones in sturdy worsted and shetland weights. It’s got a pretty hard twist for knitting, but fulls and softens beautifully.

For baby stuff I like Dalegarn of Norway. If I need to knit something machine washable, I’ll use Cleckheaton or Schoeller+Stahl.

I’m not crazy about novelty yarns. I like to knit something that will last for years.

Anything more you want to know? Ask me in the comments and I’ll append here.

Page updated Thu Oct 06, 2005, 23:53 PM

  1. Thanks for this post! I did have another question—you mentioned you have several books. Can you recommend a few of your favorites? Are they for beginner, intermediate, advanced levels? Okay, so that was two questions, sorry. :)


    Kirstin    Fri Oct 7, 08:16 PM    #