Saturday, January 29, 2011

I'm one of those knitters, you know the ones who keep a knitting workbook

Recently the Yarn Harlot blogged about meeting a knitter who actually kept a knitting journal, she said it was like meeting a mythical creature, a knitters version of a unicorn. To quote her "some of us even buy knitting journals, but none of us really write in them more than once or twice before the habit falls off". I'm one of 'those' knitters, those mythical knitters who keep projec notes, I keep a knitting journal, I have since 2006, except I prefer to call mine my knitting workbook. 2006 was well before Ravelry, and I have to say the project notes on Ravelry are an excellent way of keeping knitting notes, and honestly I think if Ravely had been around in 2006 I might not have have started a paper journal that was quite so detailed, but now I'm in the habit of doing so I will keep recording things on paper as well as on line.

I keep records of the yarn, the pattern, and gauge in the journal, I write down when I start, and when I finish, and I make drawings or plans on which I work out the increases or decreases or sizes. I paste in a ball band, and make notes of what didn't work and what was frogged, and what my new plans were for completion. I also try and include photos of the projects, both in progress and finished. The largest journal here, showing the mittens, started in March 2006 and was in a spiral bound art 'visual diary', sized A4. Over the years I have tried a few different formats. I found I liked spiral bound - as it lets me add in photos and other things without the pages bulging at the binding. I found I disliked working in a small book, the red one was really too small, and project notes ended up split over too many different pages. Thinking about it .. a paper journal lets me keep drawings and scribbles and trial calculations in a way that a database system like Ravelry can't. Ravelry is more of a record of what worked .. my workbook is more a of a record of how I worked it out.

My current workbook is a spiral bound one with graph paper. I'm liking it, slightly smaller than A4 ... but big enough. This is a hand drawn chart of the edging I used on the linen basket liner, together with notes on decisions I made and why, for example I used garter stitch not my favorite slipped stitched edge so it would stretch enough when blocked. The fact I can hand draw a chart or schematic is one of the attractions of a paper workbook, I can do that sitting on the couch with my knitting beside me and there is no need to head off to a computer and make it look pretty and perfect and find a knitting font and check there is paper in the printer. The cubs raid the printer tray for drawing paper .... and whist I encourage their artistic endeavors that leaving the printer with no paper is one of those little things that can get to be annoying.

This is the current 'I want you off the needles project'. I wonder if other knitters have that need, occasionally to clear the project basket of wip's before starting new projects. The lace I chose is working out nicely ... although in hindsight I see that the corners could have been filled with a smaller lace motif. Next time, I also worked it in stocking stitch, instead of garter stitch. That was just a simple mindless mistake knitting every round instead of purling every second, but there seems to be enough texture in the lace to work well with the garter stitch center section. There are three or four more rounds to workbook, work of this lace repeat, then I need to decide if there is a narrow band of eyelets worked in blue before I switch to a darker grey for the cast off lace boarder, and I have to find a lace that I want to use ... so there will be more fun browsing thru lace books again.

I have not made use of the linen basket liner yet ... as the cubs are home with me until next Wednesday when school (and work) starts they have gobbled up much of my baking before it even leaves the cooling rack. For now it is resting amongst all the boxes of 'fancy' cutlery that we inherited from older family(and almost never use). My plan is that the linen basket liner is more used than the cutlery.

so ...... I'll leave you with four years of knitting workbooks ....keeping a workbook is not hard, keep one in your 'knitting place'. Choose a nice book that you want to write in, some thing with a nice cover and nice paper. Pull it out when you are knitting and use it to tick off repeats, note down needle sizes, make comments about changes that you think might work. Copy graphs and paste them into it .. so you don't need to take the pattern with you. Leave spaces for photos, and every few months sit down at the computer and print out a page or two of photos and then take a few minutes to stick them next to the project notes.

Then when you meet knitting idols like the Yarn harlot .. you can ask her to sign your knitting workbook ... and impress her!

take care
na Stella


Nilda said...

Hi Stella,

Yeah, I read the Yarn Harlot's blog and it made me feel wistful. I can't even get around to posting on Ravelry. Seems that all that takes time away from knitting to me. I also have H-o-r-r-i-b-l-e time management skills. Everything feels like so many - fill in blank - so little time. Your books look phenomenal, a wonderful diary (workbook) of your FOs, WIPs and dare I say UFOs? :-) Not to mention they could be passed to your daughter, such as Elizabeth to Meg. What a wonderful gift...and then to have the Yarn Harlot sign it!!!! Gives me goose bumps. I actually work 3 blocks from the Hilton where the convention was held, but work weekends and due to up-coming vacation could not miss any days. The agony was unbearable. I went out on breaks hoping to bump into someone. I saw Lily Chin, and Nicky Epstein. Star struck. Think if I would have seen the Yarn Harlot or - Heaven Help me - Meg Swansen I would have screamed like a 13 year old

Walden said...

Very nifty! I also keep journals for my crafting, but yours look much neater than mine!

MissCherryChocolate said...

your knitting journals are gorgeous, what a wonderful gift to be able to pass on to your children, not only a record of the patterns you knit but also a record of your thoughts and ideas, wonderful :)

KathyR said...

Why am I not surprised you keep a knitting journal/workbook, and so beautifully, too! I have never been one to keep a diary for long; I start out with good intentions and then my interest begins to waver. Miss a few entries and I'm done for. Recently, though, I have been using the little journal/booklet sent out with the Vintage Purls sock club. Probably not something others could follow but I think I know what I've written! If this keeps up, perhaps it will be come a habit which I can improve upon.

Knitting Linguist said...

I have a knitting notebook, too, although I am not nearly as organized about it (or as consistent) as you. I mostly use it when I'm knitting something from my own head, rather than using someone else's pattern - when I'm working something out myself, I really need that paper to draw and fiddle and do math and all of that; I can't seem to think without it!