Tuesday, February 9, 2016

People watching

Ever since I was a small child, we have been a family of people watchers.  This is not to say we spied on the neighbors.  This was strictly a mall activity.  My mom didn't drive so shopping expeditions were of the drop off and come back at a prearranged time type.  If you have little kids, you know that shopping can be a wearying adventure.  So when tired, we would sit and people watch or color in our new coloring books, hopefully with a cool drink.

This story is to say I have not lost the people watching ability.  I have a lot less time for it though.  I also drive and don't do shopping the same way my parents did.  And all this relates to knitting and crocheting.  I watch my students, potential students, peers at guild meetings.

I have learned that when I taught myself to knit as a child, I knit in a mixed bunch of ways.  I knit into the back of the stitches.  I held my yarn in my right hand.  I knit very close to the tips and held every thing in a death grip.  When I finally understood purling, years later, I had a bizarre look to my knitting.  Because of how I put the yarn around the needle on the knit row, when I pulled the new stitch through the old one, I would have a row of crossed stitches and a row of straight stitches. As a kid I had a lot of trouble understanding the how and why it happened.  Yes my garter stitch had crossed stitches on every row.  It caused my stuff to spiral.  Scarves took on the look of DNA strands since I didn't know about blocking.  When I learned to work in the round, all my stitches crossed and that made my knitting bias horribly.  Sitting down as an adult when I had free time allowed me to figure out how I was doing this.  It was the direction I wrapped the yarn.

This has given me the knowledge to help my students easily fix problems with their knitting and crocheting.   It has also made me interested in how the students coming in for a refresher class learned.  I have seen a unique way where the needle is held between knees and stitches are put on with both hands.  Turns out these women learned from Italian grandmothers.  I don't know if this is a local  thing, regional, or something all Italian grandmas do.  I have also had a chance to talk to local Russian women about their knitting and learned that the Continental/German method is also part of the Russian method.  The Eastern method is also a part of the Russian method. I don't know any Portuguese people, but have checked out their method on line.  There are many ways to get yarn onto knitting needles and I'm interested in learning them all.  Someday.  Maybe.