Sunday, July 28, 2002

The KC's Top 10 List of Overrated Knitting Fads

And far be it from me to pass judgment . However, since 1997, I've been exposed to the vagaries and fads of the various knitting mailing lists. And at least every other month there seems to appear threads about some bizarre and/or inane knitting technique/stitch/project that only the truly uninformed could possibly be interested in. So here's my short list...whether or not you agree "makes me no never-mind," as an former colleague of mine used to say. It's cruel to be kind sometimes...or kind to be cruel.

10. Kool-Aid Dyeing Yes, I know it's a quick and cheap way of dyeing. And it's a great way to teach kids about dyes without worrying about dyepots, mordants and so on. But if you're going to dye, why not learn to dye? Deb Menz's book for spinners on dyeing is a great way to get into it properly.
9. Warshcloths Glorified swatches. Have you ever tried to wash your face/dishes with one of these? And why oh why do people insist on working them in lace? Jeez...
8. Swimwear Somebody tell these designers (and their adoring fans) that you can't swim in a knitted anything. And that cotton stretches. And that they look ridiculous on anyone larger than a size 2 or over the age of 18.
7. Mosaic Stitches One-trick pony. And generally makes for an ugly sweater...although it's good for an ugly afghan.
6. Variegated Yarns How many garments made of space-dyed yarn does one need? And unless you know how to deal with the resulting blotches, they inevitably all turn out looking like some Red Heart thing you made when you were 10.
5. Double Knitting Has it occurred to anyone that knitting within the knitting does not shorten the knitting time? You're still knitting the same number of stitches, plus I think you lose time just executing the technique. AND you can make identical pieces just as easily by counting rows...what a concept!
4. Left-handed Mirror Knitting I can speak to this because I am a southpaw. And I learned to knit in the same way righthanders do. What is easier for lefties is to knit Continental, with the yarn held over the left-hand index finger. This way, the left hand controls the action. This is more important to me than knitting from the right needle onto the left...which leads us to...
3. Knitting Backwards Ah, never having to purl again. What wid dat? This technique has limited applications--I suppose it's good for entrelac but I don't have a problem flipping the work from right side to wrong side quickly, even on a large piece.
2. Designer Needles Smart business move...sell needles that have small Fimo sculptures for knobs at exhorbitant prices to knitting dimbulbs who have to buy anything that has "Knitting" stamped on it.
1. Garter Stitch My numero uno pet peeve. At the risk of offending all Elizabeth Zimmermann fans (and I am one, so sue me), this stitch has in recent years been touted by the knitting community as the ultimate stitch. Let me enlighten those of you who are garter stitch junkies: It is NOT a proportional stitch. It stretches like a bugger. An entire garment made in garter stitch looks like a bazaar item, even if it is knit in Koigu. It requires particularly good pre-planning because of its peculiarities, especially if you combine it with stockinette or other stitch patterns. EZ liked it because she hated to purl. I use it for: welts, in garments where it takes up less than 20% of the design, afghans, as edging for swatches.

So there you have it...10 of them, with apologies to Letterman. Sorry there isn't any Big Ass ham to give away. I'll be coming up with more Top Ten lists, when so inspired. As Dave would say, "Have a nice beverage." And go knit.

No comments: