Sunday, September 19, 2010

One More Step

Fair Isle has always been one of those knitting adventures that draws me in heart and soul. Who knows why, maybe it's that faint call of Scotland in my blood that draws me back to a small part of my heritage. Some things and places just pull at a person. Once I started knitting, it pulled at me. Certain artwork and photography are the same. Some countries and cultures tug at me to come back to them, like a long lost child going home. All the places that helped form the people who came together over the last several hundred years just so and brought me into being. Almost all the ancestry in me has some connection to knitting. Swedish, Norwegian, British, Irish, Scottish, Welsh and German people, to name some of what's in me, are knitters for the last few centuries. As I've blogged about previously, 3 out of 4 of my mom's Grandparents ( mostly descendants of the UK ) were knitters, and very good ones. As far as I know, none of my Dad's people, like his mother or hers did any knitting. I'm sure it's in their heritage, though, even if it was left back in Sweden, Norway and Germany.

So what about this Fair Isle thing inspires me to wax on prolific about heritage and knitting and what yanks my heart strings? Well, it's a very simple thing, actually. When I learned to knit, English was the method the book, "Learn to Knit" went over first, so that's the method I learned. Honestly it didn't occur to me to keep reading all the instructions and different methods, because I just wanted to keep on knitting, and that, I did. Then, I learned cables, knitting in the round, and eventually, through blogging, was introduced to gorgeous Fair Isle. While looking for something simple I could try, I saw that some use a mixed method for colour work, Continental and English method together. (Since I'm talking about Europe I feel compelled to default to the older purer spelling of colour, this post.)

So I started to try to practice Continental knitting. I did well at the knit stitch, but the purl stitch completely confounded me. So I did all my colour work in the round. I even procured a copy of YNotKnit, which teaches Continental knitting, and I still couldn't wrap my head around the purl stitch.

The other day when all the kids were knitting, two out of the three kept with it, but the youngest one asked me, "Momma, will you just make my scarf for me?" So, naturally, I said I would and I cast on a random number of stitches ( a bunch ) the way I like to make scarves. After a few rows of garter stitch I got bored, and decided to do some colour work. Only one problem with that plan. I still hadn't mastered the Continental purl stitch. So, I dug out my copy of YNotKnit and gave it another try and this time, I got it. Why I couldn't figure it out before, I don't know, but sometimes my brain just isn't ready for certain things the first time I attempt to get it to soak in. The simple, task of purling back and forth from Continental to English feels like a major triumph. This very little thing, at one time impossible for me, now possible. It gives me a little light of hope for making possible other things that now seem impossible or obstacles that seemed once insurmountable are now a little smaller. It may be silly but it's true. I have a long hard journey ahead and these little things really do help.

Once I have a little more to show, I'll post pictures, what I have now is just two rows of the simplest colour work. Something like this:

VVVVVVVVVVVVVV
VVVVVVVVVVVVVV
VVVVVVVVVVVVVV
VVVVVVVVVVVVVV

Simple, yet satisfying. It's not to be a very wide scarf, so the colour work will be little more than this, however, it opens up the whole world of Fair Isle just to be able to do the colour work in both directions. One little step.

1 comment:

dyedinthewool said...

Sometimes you can stare at something so long it ceases to make sense. Then you step back, take a moment and try again and it "clicks". That happened to me with calculus just two weeks before my maths exam!