Let's talk about last Tuesday first. This last Tuesday was AWESOME in ways I can't even tell you. When I heard the Yarn Harlot was doing her "Knitting for Speed and Efficiency" all day class on Tuesday, I didn't even wait to ask for a sitter, I SIGNED UP. And then, I got MiL to sign up and THEN I called my parents and begged profusely. (Thankfully hanging out with my kid is their favorite so begging looked more like "can you watch..." "YES WE'LL TAKE PARKER! WHEN CAN WE GET HIM? NOW!????" I'm lucky. I won't deny this.)
Just hanging out making creepy smiles at knitting royalty... as one does...
I can't really recap the entire Harlot lesson but I'll likely go on at length as it was insanely informative. The whole point of the speech is to look at how productivity in knitting has changed over the years (decreased) from our hyper productive ancestors. We also looked at things like proper hand position, sitting position etc, that, done incorrectly, can lead to problems which can mean LESS knitting. The Harlot showed us several different techniques, (I learned how to throw, since I am a "continental" knitter or "picker") including lever knitting.
And here's where I can get really honest. I've got some bad knitting habits. Habits I've known are "weird" for a while now. My 2 worst habits are:
1) I tension my yarn wrong. Instead of just knitting onto the needle like most knitters, I pull my yarn once I transfer the stitch. It's a weird little quirk that I learned likely developed in my early knitting career as I was afraid of having stitches fall off my needles, so I gave them more room on the needle, but I needed to compensate for the gap I create when I knit.
2) My hands don't like holding all the things- so I usually hold my needle stationary on my stomach or my pants so that I can just knit the stitches off. (Oddly enough this is essentially lever knitting, just not in it's more "perfect" form.)
The Harlot had us do a "Stitches per minute" test at the beginning of the class. And I posted a respectable 26 stitches per minute! That then felt woefully indadequate once we watched professional "speed knitters" knit 150 sts per minute, but in the moment I was proud of myself. That was about the last time I felt smart in the class. (This by the way is not the fault of a poor teacher or anything else, it's just REALLY REALLY REALLY hard to change your knitting style after you've gotten into a groove like I have.)
I then started to correct some of my knitting habits; better posture, more relaxed hand position, different techniques like continental for knit stitch and the "english" (or throwing) for purl stitch, and most imporantly STOP my bad habit of yanking the yarn for every stitch. And, well, see for your self, things got ugly.
My tension changed DRAMATICALLY. The Harlot told us not to be too hard on ourselves as it usually takes 30 days of practicing good habits to get back to where we were before, and I'm telling you right now, those will be a hard 30 days. I'm also, being 100% honest here, I am not even going to try and get to the right style for a while. I have an aggressive "knitting schedule" that I am already behind on, and changing my style for 30 days isn't really going to play nicely into that. I would like to set aside some time and attempt to at least work out bad habit #1 from my arsenal, but that likely won't be until the new year.
I cannot say enough good things about the class. It was highly informative and I learned a TONNE. It's probably the most imformative class I've ever taken, along with Cookie A's sock class from ages ago. If you have the opportunity take this class- even if you change nothing, you'll have a blast and LEARN SO MUCH. Thank you x a million to Sharon at Pudding Yarn for hosting the event and to Stephanie who challenged me to think outside the knitting box and try something different.
Of course, spending 6 hours in a yarn shop you cannot help yourself but buy something. I bought this. It's incredibly soft and lovely and OH I want to knit with it now. But I won't. Perhaps these will be for husband as he'd appreciate a little cashmere in his life.
Hello Cashmere my old friend...
The class was obviously the highlight of my last few days but I have managed to squeak a few rows out here and there on the various other projects I'd like to finish eventually.
1) The Mitten is looking more like a mitten (although I'm having concerns that the thumb stitch allotment might be too big- but I solidier on in denial like a good knitter does).
2) The Sock, is also looking like it might, someday, when it grows up, become a sock.