Thursday, August 03, 2006

Knitting Questionaire


1. What's your worst habit relating to your knitting?

Sometimes I knit instead of washing dishes, doing laundry, making dinner, writing my book, and sleeping.

2. In what specific ways does your knitting make you a better person?

Knitting helps me listen to other people rather than jump to conclusions. When I am knitting, I seem to have the patience to hear people out and think about their perspectives.

3. How might you or your life be different if you were suddenly unable to knit?

I would probably develop some nervous tic like cracking my knuckles—or take up smoking—or, horrors, take a class from Amy and learn crochet!

4. If money were no object, what one yarn, and what one tool or gadget would you run out and buy first?

A drum carder and a loom would be my first two purchases. Then, I would buy silk lace-weight yarn. Then a really nice knitting bag.

5. What knitting technique or project type are you most afraid of (if any)? What, specifically, do you fear will happen when you try it?

I’ve not yet tried any form of colorwork other than horizontal stripes. My grandmother, a wonderful knitter, did not do colorwork because she was such a tight knitter and her fair isle puckered. I knit very much like she does and have always assumed it would be hard. But I am ready to learn this fall!

6. Who is/are your knitting hero(es), and why?

Granny, who taught me to knit and showed me how sustaining a knitting life can be. She also showed me how knitting unites communities of women (and every once in a while men) that might be separated by bonds of class, race, religious identity, age, and employment status.

Another hero is Melanie Falick, whose book Kids Knitting helped me down the road of trying techniques beyond what I learned from Granny. (If you’ve never made anything but scarves and drop-shouldered sweaters and simple hats, try her teddy bear pattern!) She made everything seem like, well, child’s play.

7. Do you consider knitting, for you personally, a mostly social activity, or a mostly solitary activity?

Although I do very much enjoy my local knitting groups and the knitting blogiverse, for me knitting is fundamentally a solitary activity—even when I am in the company of others. Sometimes knitting provides enough protection for my extremely introverted self that I can get through social gatherings. Knitting in my hands makes me bolder socially.

8. Is there a particular regional tradition in knitting that you feel strongly drawn toward (e.g., Fair Isle, Scandinavian, Celtic, Orenburg lace)? Any theories as to why it calls to you?

When I am knitting Aran, I feel like I am home. Spending time in Ireland and Scotland as a child, I wore Aran and Fair Isle sweaters as a preschooler. Honestly, however, it is not the LOOK of Aran that draws me but the feel. Perhaps is it the feel of the cable needle in my teeth, on hold until I need to use it again?

9. If you were a yarn, which yarn would you be?

I suppose I would be undyed sport-weight homespun—rough and plain, not calling attention to itself, but also homemade, honest, and truly loved.

10. Some statistics:

(a) How many years have passed since you FIRST learned to knit?

More than 30. I learned at age 7 or 8.

(b) How many total years have you been actively, regularly knitting (i.e., they don't have to have been in a row)?

About 20 for scarves, hats, and the occasional drop-shouldered sweater. About 3 for more advanced knitting.

(c) how many people have you taught to knit?

I have no idea. My partner David, my 7yo son, a small class of adults, several children who just got a taster, a woman on a bus, several college and grad. school friends….

(d) Roughly what percentage of your FOs do you give away (to anyone besides yourself, i.e., including your immediate family)

Although all the knitting I do is for myself, the knitted products I wind up with are not usually for me. I have two sweaters I knit for myself almost 20 years ago, a couple of scarves, some socks, and a brand-new Icarus shawl! Most things I knit are gifts.

11. How often do you KIP (knit in public)? i.e., once a week, once a month, etc. Where do you do it?

I pretty much knit whenever I am in public. I knit while waiting for the bus, on the bus, at the restaurant, at the party, at the board meeting, at the movies…. (Today is is 100 degrees and I will probably not knit while waiting for the bus.)

12. If a genie granted you one hour to stitch-n-bitch with any one knitter, living or dead, who would you choose and why?

I would love to spy on one of the earliest knitters and just watch that person or those people come up with the idea. Was it a creative introvert who first imagined the hooked-together loops? Was it the original stitch-n-bitch?

I would also love to chat with my Granny again and ask her how she learned to knit. I would love to laugh with the Yarn Harlot and Elizabeth Elizabeth Zimmermann over tea. Or perhaps Alice Starmore could coach me on Fair Isle?

13. What aspect or task in knitting makes you most impatient?

The finishing!

14. What is it about knitting that never lets you get bored with it?

There are always new challenges in knitting. Sometimes I DO get bored with a particular project. But even when I’m knitting a boring stretch, it is addictive. The peaceful rhythm allows my thoughts to wander to things that aren’t boring—like the lace coming up after just one more repeat, or a new project to cast on in my mind, or the academic paper I need to finish this afternoon.

15. Describe how and where you most often do your knitting - where do you sit, what is going on around you, what tools do you use and how are they (dis)organized?
I knit wherever I am---right now, whevever there is air-conditioning. ANYTHING might be going on around me. My son is often reading or knitting or doing school or climbing on furniture around me. I keep my tools in a little notions bag stuck in the same tote bag that holds my project.

16. Which one person is the recipient of more of your knitting than any other?

My son. He enjoys the toys I knit. Best of all, he wears a small size which allows me to experiment with new techniques without making horrifying commitments. His small size also allows me to use up random amounts of yarn for small scarves and hats and mittens.

17. What's the oddest thing about your knitting, or yourself as a knitter?

To be considered for a little while....

18. What do you see yourself knitting - if anything - twenty years from now?

A lace shawl from my own homespun to wear for some special event like a son’s wedding or something.

19. If you were stranded on a deserted island and could have only ONE SKEIN of yarn, which yarn would it be and what would you do with it?

I’m taking suggestions for this one. I’m also trying to figure out which novel to pack in the same bag….

20. If you were allowed to own only one knitting-related book, which would it be? (you'd be free to browse others, but you couldn't keep them)

June Hiatt's The Principles of Knitting: Methods and Techniques of Hand Knitting. (The irony here is that I do not own one and can never seem to keep the library’s copy for more than three weeks at a time.)

21. Is knitting the new yoga? Why or why not?

For me ten years ago, yoga was the new knitting.

This great questionaire is from Kate at A Strikke. At her site you can download a blank questionaire to fill out yourself. Let me know if you do it!

Kate also wrote a great piece for Knitty about the Knitter's Geek Code:
The Knitter's Geek Code consists of several categories, divided under the general headings of "identity" [what kind of knitter you are], "materials" [your preferred tools], "techniques" [what you can do and what you can't, or won't], and "habits" [that which makes you you]. Each category is labeled with an abbreviated name and some qualifiers. Go through each category and determine which set of qualifiers best describes you in that category. When you string together all of these 'codes' in a block, the result is your "knitter's geek code," informing other KnitGeeks the world over exactly what kind of KnitGeek you really are.

My Knitter's Geek Code:


Version: 1.1

KER+++ Exp+(+) SPM+ Bam++@ Addi+@ Wool++ Lux+ Lin+ Cot+ !Nov--- Stash FI0 Tex++ Lace++ Fin Flat+ Circ+ DPN5 KIP Blog++ SNB WIP+++++ Guage@ ALTSp



Kirsten said...

Hi! Thanks for your comment on the UFO August blog! Your blog led me to the KAL, thanks, I needed it!! My biggest challenge for August will be the lure of that gorgeous Icarus that you knit. I have so much lace weight waiting for me. September will have to be my month of Lace, once I get some of these UFO's out of the way.
It'll be fun to watch our UFO's progress!

Kate A. said...

Ura! Somebody filled out my questionnaire! Thank you for doing this - I hope it spreads! I love reading the's so much fun.


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