Monday, 13 April 2015

Old Dog New Tricks? Yes, yes, yes!

First of all, I will start with tatting.  Ben Fikkert.  :-(  I'm disappointed.  I cannot get this little oval doily to work at all for me.  The first rounds were already frilling a bit though I think I can sort that out with a light pressing… but that outer round!!!  No, no, no!  It doesn't work at all.  Not one bit.

There is no chance this will ever lay flat.  Even with LOTS of coaxing.  The rings are all overlapping.  I looked and looked at the pattern and I have followed it correctly.  I must tat very differently from Mr. Fikkert.  This will take a lot of amending to make it work for me.  It's now on the back burner.  Sad face.

On a positive note, I have finished my red cardigan while on our week's Easter holiday.  But I have not yet attached buttons to it.  Thank you for all your nice comments about the tatted frogs but I'm not convinced I will like the black contrast after all.  It makes it look a little too oriental (nothing wrong with that but I'm not sure that's the look I'm after for this cardigan).  Could be I just use the buttons on their own… or I may try the frogs in a different colour (though I'm limited in the number of size 10 colours I have).  Will update when I make a decision.  For now I'm enjoying wearing it buttonless!

Lastly, I have started a new knitting project.  My youngest (boy) said - to my delight - that he wanted a sweater for his birthday next month.  He came with me to the wool shop and chose the colour - a very bright shade of grass green!  But he wanted me to choose the pattern and surprise him.  He likes nature and bugs so I decided to make a diamond/leaf pattern on the front of the sweater which I thought would suit the bright green colour nicely.

I also decided to knit it in the round (my favourite way to work) and am now up to the armholes so I have put this part aside and have now started on the sleeves.

Now for the title of this post "Old Dog New Tricks"…  I completely changed the way I tat a few years ago when I started tatting again.  More efficient, faster.  Then when I enjoyed making my crochet blankets (and other items), I also changed the way I crochet.  Going from the pencil hold to the knife hold which I find much easier on the wrists and also much more efficient.  So NEXT, I had been revisiting the way I knit.  I tried all sorts of different things (some of you will have seen my musings on this and thank you to all of you for comments and to Megan for sending me knitting pins to try!).  I tried holding the yarn with the right hand and with the left hand.  I have finally come up with what works for me.  Everybody says continental knitting is more efficient… perhaps yes, but for the knit stitch only.  The purl stitch always looks cumbersome and difficult to make.  So I'm now still knitting English style (throwing) but I don't "throw" anymore.  I have modified my hand hold so that I never let go of the needle while I knit.  I now hold closer to the tip of the needle and just do a little flick of the index finger to get the wool around the needle.  It's a much smaller movement, quicker and more efficient.

So there you go.  You may have worked the same way for many many years and think you are completely set in your style and that you can't change.  But you can if you want to.  I like efficiency - in all things.  Needlework projects always involve a lot of time so if I can speed things up a bit, it's a good thing as far as I'm concerned.  I'm happy to have persevered (it felt very awkward at first to change the way I knit - you have to put up with being slower to start with before you get comfortable with a new style) and am now happy this new way of knitting is much better, and getting quicker, for me.

Old Dogs New Tricks?  Definitely.

Best wishes,


  1. I can see problems with Ben's patterns for I am try one now but wanted to know what was name of pattern you were trying?
    your knitting is wonderful looks great!

    1. Hi Madtatter, it's called "Cafetaria" from his Floriade book.

  2. Hmm, you make me think I should review the way I do things. Love the green and the pattern suits the colour well.

  3. The other great benefits of knowing multiple ways to do things is that you can teach other people ways that might suit them better and if ever you get injured or develop arthritis etc you have choices and might still be able to carry on when you wouldn't otherwise. I'm sure it's good for our brains too, the novelty and learning stops us stagnating! :-D

  4. Looks like a Rowen DK Wool?

  5. The sweater reminds me of one my mom made for me when I was in high school. Mine was Kelly green, knit in an Aran pattern... Mom's favorite! I wore it all the time, especially to school functions (our school colors were green and white).

    I try out new methods every once in a while to give my wrists a rest. I think it helps give me new perspective.

  6. What a pity about the oval doily, hope that at some time you can work it out.
    Glad you finished your cardigan and the sweater is looking great, I am sure he will love it, after all it's his mums work he will showing his friends.
    It's nice to try new things and new ways,

  7. Wow, my mom knits Exactly the way you described - holding the tips close & barely moving her fingers for the flick ! She could knit so rapidly, even while watching the tele. I've tried & tried, but cannot get that style. I have increased my speed tremendously, but nowhere as ergonomically efficient as my Mom's.
    I've come to realize that our hands, grasps, etc. are physically different, hence functioning is affected. Each person has individual limitations but can accomplish a lot by perfecting within those parameters instead of giving up. There are things in cutting fabric that I cannot do, that looked so easy when my Mom did it. My fingers just don't work that way. My detailing, embroidery, drawing, etc. were more intricate, fine & neat compared to my Mom's speed.

    But one should never give up trying to learn new things, ways, techniques. Never know what may work & improve our craft ! :-)

  8. So sorry about your oval doily! I too struggle with the Fikkert patterns. I love to take down his books, look at them...and then put them back on the shelf in favor of something that doesn't make me tear my hair out...but his designs are SO lovely, it's hard not to contemplate them over and over.

  9. You have done a great job. I will definitely dig it and personally recommend to my friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this site.

  10. That's how I knit too! hahahaha

    Everyone I've seen try Fikkert patterns has struggles with it. Don't beat yourself up!


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