Thursday, December 13, 2007

Windscreen Principles

From adversity comes The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmes Hiatt.

It started out as "One of Those Days" - I had to drive into the city to get the car windscreen replaced because of an exponentially growing 10 cm crack. The city had been deluged by hailstorms and high winds so I was very, very lucky to get a booking at the glass repair shop.

The fact I had to drive over 100km to get there was a minor inconvenience. I had planned to leave early and pick up the replacement wireless router that had died the previous week and do various little chores on the way down the highway.

Ravelry got in the way! At 10:15 I got a polite suggestion that maybe I should get off the computer and head off to Mascot to make it for noon.

With the help of the M4 and the Cross City Tunnel (I do like those tunnels - am I the only one?) I pulled in on time. I wasn't impressed when told the job was going to take over two hours - it was too far to travel to work so I was stuck in the small shopping precinct of Botany Rd, Mascot a place not renowned for its relaxing environment.

The Council Library came to the rescue - and with it the discovery of a book I have heard about but never read until now. I was very impressed with its wealth of information, the detailed, clear illustrations and the quirky bias that June Hemmes Hiatt has towards certain knitting techniques.

Even though she states "The most important thing to understand at the outset is that there is no one way to knit" she clearly has a bias towards "Right Handed Knitting" ie 'drop and throw' style and knitting straight instead of in the round.

As for "Pencil Knitting" aka 'English' she has this to say;

"While I can understand how it must have evolved, I have yet to discover any modern justification for the version I call Pencil Knitting, in which the right needle is held from underneath in the crook between thumb and forefinger. This is most certainly a system that requires it to be learned in trusting and uncritical childhood because with out the aid of a knitting belt or stick it is quite clumsy - I don't think many adults would put up with learning it.

If someone you know knits this way and offers to teach you how, decline as politely as possible, but do decline. If this is the way you knit and you like the results, by all means continue to do so: the world needs its eccentrics to make it a more interesting place."

And to that last phrase I say 'hear, hear"


dcr said...

Hi Kate,

The June Hemmons Hiatt book is in the guild library, and I know it's there at the moment because I took it back on Monday. It's also being reprinted next year (and updated), I checked with Simon & Schuster who are doing the reprint, they said Fall 2008 for the US and Early 2009 for here.


Katie said...

I'd love to know more about the two techniques, so will go off a-Googling now. I think I must be a pencil knitter, and I certainly find it easy and fast. But it SOUNDS like right handed drop and throw....

here I go to find out. Thanks for all the lighting, by the way. We sheep are having a lot of fun.

M-H said...

You're not the only one - we love the tunnels too. Sandra left me in Woollahra on Monday, drove home to Leichhardt and got two hours of solid work in before she needed to return to pick me up. Two years ago this wouldn't have been possible, as it would have taken her up to an hour to wend her way back though the city at peak hour.