Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Speed Knitting!

So what is the fascination of knitting for me?

First of all, you can make useful things with this - like socks. (Did I mention I like knit socks?) And if you have a penchant for making your life more difficult, then you can take very fine needles and very fine yarn and make a myriad of tiny stitches for some early modern stockings. Or go and buy a "tsock kit" from the Tsarina of Tsocks, who makes artwork kits disguised as sock kits. (And I will definitely need some of these crazy socks some time in the future.)

Then, knitting still is all over the place - thousands of people do it, and probably everybody alive knows at least one knitter. And it is easy to learn even if you are on your own, because there are so many websites and, even better, so many videos that show you how to cast on, work in the round, knit and purl, English, Continental or Oriental style. Just search youtube (or generally search) for "knitting tutorial", and there's enough to keep you occupied for hours.

But for me, there's another fascinating thing to knitting: The possibility of speed. A good while ago, I wrote a Google Penance for the search term "tricks to faster hand sewing", with the bottom line that with sewing as with most other craft processes, there's a limit to how fast you can go - and it just won't get faster. Knitting sort of has an exceptional position here, because knitting can be sped up oh, so much.

To give you a taste of what is possible in the extreme, here's a video of Miriam Tegels knitting - she's the holder of the Guinness World Record in speed knitting, with 118 stitches in one minute.

Isn't that really incredibly fast? And doesn't that make me think of the knit stockings in early modern age and wondering how long it took a professional knitter to make one?

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