Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Need for Speed

This is my first post from my new computer! Thanks to Dan for hooking me (and it) up.

I have been thinking about a number of topics for a post. Having a blog is making me think more often of the philosophical, emotional, and personal aspects of knitting. Most of what I’ve been thinking about stems from either something I read on another blog or something I’ve witnessed or experienced while knitting.

The first thing that got me thinking about posting like this was something I read on this blog. It wasn’t in the post but in the comments. Grumperina was writing about resisting to learn to “throw” the yarn with her right hand. Someone in the comments said that she threw the yarn but has hit a speed wall so is learning the Continental method. This got me thinking about speed.

If you Google “speed knitting” you come up with about 31,7000 entries. Many of these are for tools that help you knit faster (like Addi Turbos), but some are for actual competitions for speed knitting. A Dutch competition (as shown in the first result Google gives me) set the record speed at 257 stitches in three minutes. That’s doing stockinette over 60 rows on 4mm needles (US 6). That is fast. One could whip out a million scarves in just a few hours. But does anyone want to? Isn’t that rather boring?

I myself wouldn’t mind knitting faster. Why? Because I feel that the faster I can knit, the more I could knit. Being a gift-knitter, I don’t think anyone else would mind if I knit faster, either. But I am not going to change the way I knit just to crank out more items. I enjoy knitting. I knit English style, and I have an almost exaggerated throw. I would like to learn the Continental method to make ribbing less tedious, but I find it very uncomfortable to hold my left finger up the entire time. It gets tired.

Dan took some video of me knitting.

I am not knitting at top speed because I am working with size 7 Bryspun circulars and a 100% wool yarn. There’s some drag on the needles and I find it more difficult to work on circulars than on straight needles. I continued to knit while I was watching the video and caught myself going at exactly the same speed. I really do knit this fast. So why do I want to knit faster? Is it even possible? Why am I making excuses about drag and circulars on a video showing me knitting so fast I was amazed?

I have some thoughts on this, but they stray a little from the topic, so I will write more about it later. I think much of it has to do with competition, whether of oneself or of others. I think it has to do with something a little more altruistic, too, but I have two unfinished Christmas gifts in my basket proving otherwise.


jennifer said...

Video? Wow.

SSS said...

Yeah, wow Tamara. I like your video. It's very nice. I like it better than google video I think. I am VERY impressed with your speed. I'm a turtle knitter:)

aimee said...

i just thought of you on the MUNI back to the sunset: i saw an asian guy in huge sunglasses, a ponytail, and fanny pack, sitting on the light rail, knitting a red and white scarf. HOW much can i love this city?? a boy knitting in public!