I’ve been wrestling with writing a post about a knitting technique. It’s turned into two posts because the whole process made me climb straight on my knitterly soapbox. As far as I’m concerned, there isn’t a “right” or a “wrong” way to do things in knitting.
You know the usual culprits – making cables, casting on, binding off, holding the yarn, knitting straight or circular. These are the things experienced knitters debate endlessly about the “right” or “best” way to do something. So, what are my general guidelines for tackling these troublemakers (the methods and the knitters)?
You will do it the right way for you. If there are lots of different ways to do something, that’s your clue that there is no one “right” way; no nirvana of knitting. There will only be the right way for you and your project. Whatever method you pick, it won’t be “wrong”. It might be different from someone else’s method, and it might be different from how you would do it on another project. But it won’t be wrong.
By all means study the detailed magazine articles, surf the web, read the books, ask your knitting group, browse vintage patterns for archaic methods…I know I like doing all those things too. I love finding different ways to do things with sticks n string. Sometimes, though, I admit it’s out of a morbid fascination with the extremes knitters are prepared to go to in a quest for a particular effect. But don’t do it in a quest for a holy grail of knitting. The best method is the one you like, not the method a dragon on a Ravelry forum advocates.
It’s OK to like a method just because it’s easy. Yes, that IS a good enough reason.
Make it up yourself. Seriously. I first encountered M1 on a pair of mittens, and, being a novice, I made a lovely column of holes where my M1s ran. What I’d done looked pretty, I got the required extra stitch and both mittens were the same, so who cares how I achieved it? I could excuse myself by saying youtube hadn’t been invented, but it’s not as if knitting books and libraries hadn’t been invented. I just couldn’t be bothered to get off the sofa. Apparently laziness can be the mother of invention too.
If you have enough chutzpah you could claim your version is a carefully designed pattern modification. So skip youtube and get knitting. I am slightly surprised that I find myself writing: it’s OK to be creative. It’s knitting; it’s supposed to be creative.
Who cares if it’s not what the pattern designer intended? I’m allowed to say that – it’s my patterns I’m talking about now. Go forth and modify.
Be consistent. It doesn’t matter what method you use, it’s more important to choose one method and stick to it for the duration of the project. Be consistent and whatever you do, you will carry it off in style.
Yes, I know I could (I’m not going to write should) have twisted the bar between the stitches and worked through the back loop when I did those novice M1s – then I wouldn’t have got those little holes. But because every single M1 was made the same way, it looked intentional. Dare I say it looked…designed?
One knitter’s mistake is another knitter’s solution. My made-up M1s would have been perfect if I’d missed a yarnover in a piece of lace and was trying to put it back in a row later. I just didn’t know that then. This might not make any sense to you either, if you’re a novice too – I’m mentioning it because the penny might drop for you later, when you’re trying to avoid frogging a load of lace for the sake of a missing yo in the row below.
So, if you find you’ve done something unusual, that you’re not “supposed” to do, store it up in your arsenal of techniques for later.
Let’s have no more stressing about the “right” way to knit. Choose a method you like for your project and that’s the “right” one. What’s more you’ll be happy.