What is it about a new pattern that really revs me up? Pulls me away from doing the things that need doing in life, just to knit a few more rounds? Well, let me tell you.
Everyone has their favorite (and not so enjoyable) elements of a knitting project. Weaving in ends, blocking a finished project, seaming? Definitely near the bottom of my list. But there are a few things that absolutely delight me when I come across them in a pattern. Here's just a few.
Bobbles. Woohoo! I love, love, love knitting bobbles. Sure, they make knitting a round or row slow going. It's almost predictable that when a new design has bobbles, fellow knitters dismiss it, saying "Oh no, all those bobbles." But I'm instantly drawn in. The very first Year of Hats design was jam packed full of them, and I relished knitting every single one of those little bumps. The newest sweater designs from Andrea Mowry, Stonecrop Cardi and Pullover, have bobbles from top to bottom. Guess who couldn't wait to cast that puppy onto her needles. ME! And these ones are extra special, with a new (at least to me) way of knitting them - backwards. Instead of the back and forth turning for each bobble, you simply knit backwards. Genius! If you haven't tried this amazing little strategy, you're missing out; as luck would have it, Y'vonne is teaching a Knitting Backwards class next weekend (Saturday the 14th, 1-4) at For Yarn's Sake. Give it a try - you'll become a master at creating lovely little bobbles, as well as other amazing knitting feats without having to turn your work. But whether there's turning or knitting backwards involved, I can't get enough of those wonderful bobbles.
Short Rows. Weird, huh?! But my favorite part of knitting a sweater or sock is adding the curve. Back and forth, wrap and turn, picking up and knitting the wraps when I come to them - yes please, give me more. And who knew there were so many ways to work them. I recently discovered the Japanese method. You work your stitches to the turning point, turn, marking the working yarn with a scrap of yarn or removable marker. On the next row, the marked yarn gets pulled up to create an extra loop, then worked together with the next stitch. Some of the tidiest turns I've ever knit!
Fancy, flowery, intricate, time-intensive stitches. Some folks like stuff that works up fast. I too can appreciate a huge swath of stockinette that just hums along to the finish line. But being a self-professed process rather than product knitter, I totally get into those intricate, multiple-step stitches that need your full attention to get right. The April Year of Hats is a case in point, with its delightful Puff Stitch - worked with a crochet hook, inserting the hook into the space between stitches a few rows below, and creating floats on the right side of the work. It took a little practice, but once mastered, super fun to knit. Unlike most, who look forward to a 'rest' row, my favorite rounds were those with Puff stitches. And I'm on my third Dandelion Sweater - one for each of my gaggle of granddaughters. It's pretty much unheard of for me to knit the same pattern twice. But the plethora of little Dandelion flower stitches throughout this sweater design captured my heart. Pretty little flowers are created by pulling loops up from below and increasing three stitches, then decreasing on the subsequent row. I actually was sad when I finished each sweater, and couldn't wait to dive in again.
Those are just a few of the many little details that make me love my craft. So many wonderful little elements to knitting, with more to learn every day. I can't wait to discover them all.