Sunday, July 24, 2005

Speed

There's been some discussion on one of my e-lists about LC's fall from the top as fastest crocheter in the world to this woman , which led to discussion about just how fast people knit.

UK Kandkitting has the low-down on speedy hand knitting and crocheting. Interesting reading!

This, of course, prompted me to time myself. Though I have been a "thrower" for the past 50 years (all attemps to do continental "picking" have ended in frustration), I still clock in at a respectable 35 stitches/minuute with worsted weight and size 7's. I am faster with wool and slower with acrylic (drag factor?). Once, back when I briefly knit for hire, I clocked myself at 40 yards (or yarn) per hour on plain stockinette.

Which leads to a discussion of "why knit fast?" When I need to finish a project in a hurry, I haul out the (recently packed away) Bond. You cannot beat a machine for producing yards and yards of plain ol' knit fabric. Even the hand manipulation required to Actually-Make-Something on the Bond is not as time consuming as knitting by hand. And there is a certain pleasure in turning out small, reasonably pretty garments:




fairly quickly. Indeed, on both of these, the hand finishing (seaming) took as long as the knitting (or very near).

Ship Support is one of those places that I send my hand- and machine knits (mostly the stockinette portion of the dorm boots--the cuffs and soles I do by hand). With the need growing exponentially, the machine comes in handy. (Note to self: time to haul it back out. Second note to self: finish the fair entries, then haul it out!)

I think that nearly everything I have ever made on the Bond was Big Box Store acrylic with the exception of some very plain alpaca blend scarves I made last Christmas (miles and miles of stockinette).

But for pure pleasure, nothing beats knitting by hand with precious fibers: really good wool (or even inexpensive wool in really good colors), Lopi (Icelandic wool), alpaca, silk. And watching a pattern develop (like the stocking I just finished) just isn't the same on the machine. And slow and steady wins the race.

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Welcome new reader! I discovered not too long ago that I have (at least ) one non-knitting reader! (We've known each other since high school, lost touch. "Found" each other again as he's planning our [mumble, mumble] class reunion. ) Hi, WS!


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Comments:
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My Bond is on vacation for now, but I use it for production and speed, but I am with you that nothing beats regular HK for relaxation and comfort.
 
On US #7s (Addis), with cotton (yes, a freakin' dishcloth -- green) I got 33 stitches in a minute.

Well. That's nowhere near as slow as I claim. Why the hell does it take me so long to finish anything? (Could it be the 8 jobs, 43 children and all the other stuff?)
 
It might be that you can knit fast for a minute, but you don't get many minutes to string together--ya think?
 
Yes, I think it's the number of minutes rather than the number of stitches that is at issue here. I'm either working or taking care of Her Highness or clearing up after His Assholiness or driving or ... oh yeah, every other Tuesday I sleep for an hour.
 
Very well said about the machine. I found myself trying to explain it last Tuesday at my SnB. Met with some snobbiness, but nothing I couldn't handle.

As far as knitting by hand, hell I think I must be the slowest "picker' in the land!
 
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