Knitting directions

How do you slip your stitches? I ask because according to Merike Saarnit one always slips purlwise, unless directed to slip knitwise by the pattern*. Montse Stanley agrees in my knitting bible, The Handknitter’s Handbook, and this has me pondering how many other knitting manipulations I do the way I think is right rather than the way that is actually right.

WoollyDaze and I learned to knit many moons ago (about 9855, to be precise), I suspect as a cunning way to keep us quiet and occupied. While I’ll explore new techniques on Knitty or YouTube or other blogs, I’m fond of imagining there are some things I can do without looking them up. This is, I suspect, part of the usefulness of taking a class – I could have learned about Estonian knitting stitches at home, but who would then have pointed out that I was making such a fundamental mistake? And let’s not mention when I changed colours for the first time and started knitting with the tail from the long-tail cast on. My pride was saved by WoollyDaze doing exactly the same.

The class was enjoyable and enlivened by Merike’s anecdotes about the differences between teaching American and British knitters (apparently the British are more stoic and prone to ‘muddling through’), and occasional ‘ooohs’ from our fellow knitters as seemingly complex maneuvers came together to produce something that approximated the picture that illustrated our worksheet. This wristwarmer was the product of my labours, showcasing four Estonian knitting stitches in two colours (while it’s too small to fit my man-sized hands, I’m exceedingly pleased with the brioche stitch variants in particular and am daydreaming about how they might look in hand-dyed yarns).

Knitted cuff
A public ‘thank you’ to the knight in the shining wheelchair who very kindly pointed two rather overexcited knitters to their classroom for the 3-2-1 Roundabout class on Saturday afternoon. We were at a loss in the Electrical Engineering building at Imperial College London before her matter-of-fact directions, pointing out that we had been given a student info brochure when we registered that contained all the information we needed … a case of not following directions (again?).

*Merike’s other notable pearl of wisdom was that if a designer wants you to increase in a particular way, that will be specified in the pattern. Otherwise, you’re free to make it up.

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