Friday 24 November 2017

The Lure Of Slow Knitting

When our Editor recently had a tidy up, which included listing all the yarns in her stash alongside the patterns she intended to knit with them, the total came to ridiculous and profligate 36.  That's 36 projects, involving jumpers, cardigans, socks, T-shirts and cowls, but not including the three already on her needles or the odds and ends of yarn stored 'just in case'.

Image courtesy of Abrams Craft
It's a situation that lots of people who have been knitting for many years can identify with. There's the special edition yarn you buy because there won't be another chance, the bargain wool that's lurking a the bottom of a cupboard, the sweater kit that you loved at the time but never got around to making ... and many more.

Just when did the excitement of choosing a new design to knit turn into guilt that you own enough already to keep you busy for the next few years? Plus how did deadlines for completing knitted presents and keeping up with your self-appointed knitting schedule eat away at the enjoyment of the craft itself?

In her book published in October 2017, published by Abrams, Hannah Thiessen argues for the concept of slow knitting: that is encouraging knitters to "step back, pare down, and celebrate the craftsmanship of their work". We haven't yet seen a copy of the book, but the concept is one that's very enticing.

Like its counterparts in slow cooking and slow TV, slow knitting's emphasis is on taking time to appreciate each stage and the finished item as a whole.

Want to give it a go? Here are A Woolly Yarn's tips for slow knitting:
  1. Think quality and not quantity. Sell or give to a charity shop any yarns in your stash you don't love. 
  2. Forget about setting yourself deadlines and goals. Knit for the love of it - it's a passion and not another thing to add to your 'to do' list.
  3. Only give a hand-knitted gift to someone you know will appreciate the time and effort that goes into it. 
  4. Don't rush - enjoy the craft of knitting and learning new techniques. It's tempting to always knit with the radio or TV on but for a change switch them off and totally concentrate on what's on your needles. 
  5. Don't buy any more yarns or patterns until you need them: you can always keep a list of your favourites on Ravelry for when that time comes. This way you'll recapture the excitement of choosing a project when there's nothing left in your stash to knit up. 
  6. When you do buy more yarn be selective and learn where it's from and how it is made. Knitting shows are great places to talk to small-scale British yarn makers and dyers and they are usually happy to explain the provenance of their product. Can you trace your hand-knitted jumper back to the herd of sheep the fleece came from?
  7. Protect your knitting time. Switch your phone off and try to ensure there won't be any distractions. Focus on your needles - save mentally planning your supermarket shopping list for another time!
Competition reminder

There's still time to win three 100g DK skeins of Baa Baa Brighouse yarn. You have until midnight on 30th November 2017 to enter! For full details see the competition blog post

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