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Rule breaker?!?

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Rule breaker?

This is something I've wanted to talk, ok...maybe shout about,for a long time. When, oh when, my dear friends, did the knitting and crocheting worlds get so completely jammed up with all of these silly RULES???

No knots in knitting! Socks can only be knitted___ toe up/ cuff down! All knitter's must knit the same way! You are not ready to knit a_____ sweater, hat, mitten, sock...you haven't done all the projects that are required first!! You must leave a 24 inch tail! All tails must be wound on to bread ties! Cast on X is the ONLY way! You must knit on ___bamboo, wood, metal needles! No wool for babies, EVER!! Feel free to fill in the blanks of all the other rules you have been told. And now, pitch them out!

I am a firm believer in a bunch of rules that govern our society and attempt to keep us polite people. I'm particularly fond of 'thou shalt not kill....' and 'don't drive like a maniac through residential neighborhoods where I'm walking my sweet black dog'. I think things like that should be rules. (I'm working on the maniac driving one.)

But RULES for knitting? Honestly I can only come up with 3. Here they are, in no particular order:

1: Knit or crochet what makes you happy

2: Only knit or crochet for people who are 'worthy'

3: Check your gauge if the thing you are knitting or crocheting is actually supposed to fit a particular person.

That's it, that's my list. Done. That's all you need to know. All the other RULES are a bunch of OPINIONS that can be embraced or ignored. And you are cordially invited to embrace or ignore my list too.

Here we go:

Rule 1: Do what makes you happy, and honestly, DO NOT apologize that you have decided to create what you love. If you love socks, knit socks. If you simply can't get enough of baby blankets, knit on. If crocheting dishcloths calms your jangled nerves at the end of the day, rock it. If you love lacework that is knitted on toothpicks with gossamer threads spiders would be honored by, go for it. KNIT OR CROCHET WHAT GIVES YOU JOY, OR PEACE, OR CALM. This is what it is all about.

There is not an actual rule that says you must make things that pluck your nerves. Some people will tell you that you 'should' knit/crochet XYZ, because they do. Honestly if you have knitted for 43 years and now you only want to make baby hats, knit on! Make those hats for those precious babies and know that you are making a difference in a tiny person and momma's world. If the thought of lace weight yarn on size 00 needles with beads added in, makes your eye twitch, DON'T DO IT!! Just don't. Walk away from the peer pressure and go hang out with your socks or sweaters or whatever and BE HAPPY.

This whole art form started as pure utility. People knitted or crocheted to put warm layers on cold bodies. It was a function of necessity. My people are cold. I will make warm things. But that isn't our world. If your people are cold, go to the W place and buy a hoodie, and made in____ socks. We are not sitting with our sticks and string out of NEED for our family's survival. And, that said, seriously- create what makes you happy. The end.

Rule 2: Only create for those who are worthy. Banish the thought that you MUST knit a blanket/ shawl/cowl/ hat/ etc for every member of the family. Just because Great Aunt Margie knitted EVERY child 9 sets of navy blue mittens does not mean you must uphold the tradition. If you knit for new grandbaby and momma swoons over the hat and booties, by all means, knit that little one a million more hats, and sweaters or toys or any other doggone thing momma wants for little person. If you crochet dishcloths and the recipients swoon over how wonderful they are, hook on! If the traditional Christmas stocking will be loved for years, please keep that tradition going.

But, if you knitted a christening gown for little person and it wasn't used. Move on. If you have never seen that beautiful cowl on your person, pick new people to create for. If you arrive at special person's house and find the handmade afghan in the barn for the dogs to sleep on..(true story) snatch it up and never create for those hooligans again. If the receiver won't love it and appreciate your time and talents, not to mention the cost of nice yarn, I right now, this very minute, give you permission to never create for that person again. Go to the W place and buy them a can of popcorn for Christmas.

Rule 3: That whole stinky gauge thing. I know, I get it....'I don't have time to knit a gauge swatch.' Honey, bless your heart! If you don't have 30 minutes to work a swatch on a project where it matters, you are going to be seriously cranky when the sweater you have worked on for months would fit a Yeti, or your cat. Either one stinks if you had planned it for your size 6 daughter. Take the time, make the time, do the work to work that swatch and CHECK GAUGE! Blanket? No worries! Cowl? No worries! Scarf? No worries! Sweater? CHECK YOUR GAUGE. Honest, I mean it, because I love you and it breaks my heart when you have worked FOREVER and there is no way in pajamas that that this sweater will fit any human being in your world. Please, pretty please, check gauge.

Now that you have heard my Rules, let's debunk some of the others.

Knots. I have been tying knots in my knitting for the last 40 years. They were really ugly at the start, but now I have found my knotting muse. Personally, I'm a square knot girl. I join my new yarn at an edge of my work or middle of a cable or other inconspicuous spot with a clever square knot (right over left, left over right for those who were not scouts). At the end of my project I revisit my knots, re-tie if needed and weave in the tails. In 40 years and a million projects my knots have rarely failed me.

If however, you are a spit splice or Russian join person, and that makes you happy, go for it. Just add in the new ball of yarn and keep making pretty things. It's not a RULE, no knots. Thou shall not kill is a good rule. How you join new yarn really isn't that critical.

Socks: or seriously anything: knit or crochet what makes you happy! If you love toe up, two at a time on magic loop, get it on! If you love cuff down one at a time and end up with 4 lonely socks to send to my mom, that's great too. Just create what brings you joy in the pattern that you love. Do you love the basic dishcloth, go for it. The goal here is creating, and joy and REDUCING stress. Forget about other people's rules on how to knit or crochet. You've got this.

"Good Yarn" I won't gnash on this one long. But I will say, honor your craft and honor your time and talents. What are you worth on an hourly pay scale? That numbers is yours, but my thought is if you are worth $7.45 an hour, (current NC minimum wage) shouldn't the fiber you are working with be at your hourly pay rate? If you can work through 100 yards of yarn in an hour, isn't it worth your time to have $7.45 in yarn? If the person you are creating for is worth your time, then they are also worthy of 'good yarn'. Don't sell yourself short, you are that clever, you and your person are worthy.

And a final and silly word on the bread tie/ left over long tail thing. I completely understand the worry of needing more yarn, for seams or a bind off or whatever. But here we are: in any given project the work gets turned about a zillion times, maybe more. If you are turning your work a zillion times and fighting with too much tail leftover or all that tail wound around a bread bag thingie that snags on EVERYTHING, are you not going crazy?!??! PLEASE believe me and cut the leftover tail. Leave yourself 5 or 6 inches to weave in at the end and stop fighting the leftovers. I know that there are moments when the last 12 inches of tail were needed, but you didn't need to wrangle them for a zillion rows. If you need yarn to seam, just join a new piece. It's ok, go back and read the knot part. It's really all about the CREATING, and not the rules, go ahead and break a few. But, please don't drive 45 on our quite streets where I am walking my Abbie, you scare us!!

In sticks and hooks and string,

xoxox-j


 

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