Technique, gauge and ply

7 June 2010
When you pick up your needles and start knitting for the first time, you'll join an extended family that covers the globe and goes back in time.  Knitting connects you.  As soon as you venture out into the community with wool and needles in hand, all manner of people talk to you, even if they've never met you before. All those long strands of yarn link us all together with questions about technique, gauge and ply, and it's quite common to show unfinished work to complete strangers and to listen to tales about old knitting needles, learning to knit as a child and being warmed to the bone by home made woolly jumpers and socks. Knitting arouses memory, curiosity and friendship.
At the moment, I'm working on a jumper for Hanno. It's quite a simple design, in washable  pure wool and if I keep going at my current pace, it will be finished by the end of June, maybe a little bit before. There is nothing better than settling into a comfortable armchair on a cool Sunday afternoon and watching an English murder mystery while chatting and knitting. My sister is visiting at the moment, she was sitting on the sofa with her quilt which she is hand stitching, and as I sat in my arm chair and picked up my knitting needles, a cool breeze came through the back door and I knew that this was where I was meant to be.
Are you still hovering on the edge of knitting?  Knitting will help slow you down, it's like meditation when you knit alone and an invitation to connect when you knit in public.  You can knit gifts of mittens, scarves, hats, dishcloths and bags when you start, and the more advanced jumpers, shawls, socks, and soft organic baby wear when you develop your knitting technique.  Whatever you knit will be unique and not a replica of the thousands of commercially produced knits that flood the market from China.

We are starting a knitting group at our neighbourhood centre soon. I have no doubt it will be popular with those people wanting to learn how to knit as well as those who like to knit with others around. Knitting circles are an excellent way to develop friendships and community - there are many groups I know of that knit for charity. I've been on the receiving end of that kind of generosity in my voluntary work and it fills be with a warm fuzzy feeling to give scarves, mittens and beanies to our homeless people that have been sent to me by the knitters here.   Knitting connects us all.
I have come to the realisation that if you're a knitter, you'll usually have something on your needles in every season.  I am tending towards wool knitting in the cooler months and cotton knitting when it's warmer.  I would love to know what you're knitting right now. And if you have any patterns to share here - something that you love or a quick and easy knit, please let me know.