10 Knitterly Things you didn’t know about me, a meme

Some things about me are entirely obvious – I like red, I enjoy working with thin yarns, mohair feels like fiberglass to me, it doesn’t take much to convince me to knit for my family… But other things are perhaps more cryptic, either because they don’t come up, or they are so obvious to me, I never bother to mention them to you. And so, an idea for a new meme – a list of Ten Knitterly Things you don’t know about me!

Believe it or not, it took me a long while to come up with 10 things that I think you don’t know. It was a fun exercise! To measure my success, tell me – did you know two or more things from the list below?

Feel free to answer this meme and pass it along. The only rule is that the 10 things must (must!) be related to knitting.

1. On more than one occasion, I’ve tried to knit a short-row heel using the yarnover method. It frustrates me that I have never been able to do it. It’s purely a mental block – something about the backwards yarnovers clinging to the stitches throws me off, and I revert to the tried and true wrap method.

2. Rowan books (e.g., Vintage Knits) are gorgeous, but for whatever reason, I’ve never knit a Rowan pattern. As for Rowan Magazines, they baffle me. To be frank, I have a hard time visualizing the knitted garment separate from everything else happening on the page. I feel that only after seeing the projects on blogs, etc., I can accurately evaluate their appeal to me.

3. I don’t think I’ll ever stop knitting socks. I know from experience that a hectic schedule can seriously impede (or completely stop!) shawl and sweater knitting, but socks… a pair will always be on the needles.

4. Although I’m a huge proponent of Combined knitting, and often find myself helping those who are new to the technique, I actually knit in the Western style most of the time!

5. I’m devastated, simply devastated, that I’m unable to participate in Zimmermania (at least right now). I adore EZ, and would love to knit one of her patterns as part of this knitalong. Unfortunately, my October is completely booked up: wire votives for my parents, a new scarf for my dad, finishing up the Shetland Triangle, a pair of socks for a friend whose birthday is in November… EZ will have to wait. I’m curious – which EZ pattern do you think I’m itching to knit? Hint: it’s not something obvious :).

6. A recent post on Siow Chin’s blog prompted this entry: nothing delights me more than changing colors on a purl row. I first read about this technique in Annie’s Confessions of a Knitting Heretic, then quickly tested it out on a toss pillow cover. And how about this sweater, a favorite of mine from Ann Taylor Loft?


The right side, with its color-changing purls, is so much more interesting than the wrong stripey side.

7. My feelings about cables are decidedly “blah.” Bet you didn’t know that, considering Forbes Forest was one of my favorite projects to knit, and I’ve even designed with cables! I guess I really enjoy knitting the cables, but not so much the way cabled things look. So, while I’m happy to cable for others, the motifs don’t visually appeal to me as much as, let’s say, lace.

8. The promise of a p5tog has made me simply obsessed with the Swallowtail Shawl from the Fall 2006 IK. I think those of you who omitted the nupps, or created them by some kind of shortcut are crazy. Long live the nupps! Long live the p5tog! I want a Swallowtail Shawl just like Carolyn’s. I even got yarn for it that’s a very similar color. I know that’s not a surprise, though.

9. When I modify a pattern, I do so piece by piece. For example, I work out how to knit the back, and only after I’m done, I figure out the front. And only after the front is done, I do the sleeves. I have two reasons for this – (1) allows me to back out easily if something’s not working right – I don’t feel like I’ve put all that work into it yet, (2) allows last minute adjustments – if the yarn is running out, I can shorten the sleeves, if the row gauge changes slightly, I can modify on the fly. However, I don’t advocate this approach, especially with heavily patterned pieces, since it can lead to problems.

10. I have knit under the influence on more than one occasion. All I have to say is blocking is a miraculous thing. (I’ve blogged under the influence, too. Any post with an extreme number of exclamation points is suspect :)).


48 thoughts on “10 Knitterly Things you didn’t know about me, a meme

  1. liz

    I had a blast knitting the nupps in the Swallowtail. I keep hearing what a pain nupps are, but I had no problem at all. And they look gorgeous!

  2. ra

    hah, not half as crazy as I’d have been if I’d kept on trying to purl 5 together! To be fair I think that the bluntness of the needles I was using was the problem rather than the pattern itself.

    Need pointy pointy needles!

  3. Eva

    LOL those nupps… I didn’t even know there were in the pattern until I came upon them. My first Swallowtail was done with Addis. This made the nupps hard, until I figured out that I had to knit the 5 stitches very loosely on the previous row.

    My second Swallowtail was done using the KP Options needle and those p5tog were a treat to do 🙂

    I’m also in the Zimmermania, but haven’t even gotten one of her books yet.

    Cheers Eva

  4. Julia

    Great meme, Kathy! I may have to try this one, though it does seem tough, especially since ny 100 things is about knitting. As for Rowan, as much as I love them, they do a lot of pinning, tucking, etc. in their photography (bad, bad Rowan). Perhaps these little acts of deception are throwing you off.

  5. Karen B.


    There are only two things that surprised me on this list: you primarily knit Western and your “blah” feelings on cable. OK three things. KUI? 😎

  6. marjorie

    I wish I read #9 about two weeks ago. I’ve been substituting yarn in an old Calvin Klein sweater (using Cotton Fleece), and everything worked out well for the body. But now that I’m 8 inches into the sleeve, I’m realizing that the whole thing is huge and must be frogged. I’ve never had this happen before–once I adjust for the body, the sleeves always seem to have fallen into place. I really should have checked the measurements sooner.

    I usually knit combined, but I find that when I do a lace pattern, it is easier to interpret the chart increases and decreases if I switch to continental–but I think I might use your table to knit a small lacey scarf in combined knitting. I think combined goes so much faster than continental kntting, but maybe I’m just used to it.

  7. LaurieM

    Number 3 was an easy guess. And I’m in the same boat as you for number 2. One day, I may turn to Rowan, but then again, maybe I won’t! 🙂

    Also the fact that you adore EZ isn’t a revelation.

  8. Amanda

    I’m thinking about knitting the Swallowtail too. I had no idea some people were nupp-averse! Ah well, we’ll see how it goes…

    Also, I am the same way with straight mohair, just picking up the ball makes me itch. I can handle blends sometimes, but don’t think I could wear them.

  9. Becky Clark

    OOOOOH! I hadn’t seen Zimmermania yet – thanks for hooking me up! (I’m running out of steam on the Mason Dixon KAL)

  10. AuntieAnn

    I was wondering about #4, since I’ve read patterns (I forget where, maybe on Annie Modesitt’s website?) written for “combination” knitting, and yours don’t read that way at all.

  11. Kathy

    I understand what you’re saying about Rowan. I have collected 4 of their magazines so far, but do not have enough courage/inspiration to knit any of the patterns. I think the Rowan magazines are like reading Vogue – nice clothes, but not very realistic.

  12. Mary K. in Rockport

    Yes. Numbers 3 and 9. Number 10 is a surprise, but I don’t care as long as you keep frequently posting! (My exclamation point is indicative of nothing in particular.)

  13. Tamara

    I would never have guessed that you have blogged under the influence. If that is what makes your blog so fantastic though, I’m all for trying it! (I already use quite a few !!!! – so I would be a little worried about what would happen after having tied on a few.)

  14. meg

    I tried one nupp on my swallowtail shawl using the p5tog method, and since I have dull addis, and duller bamboos, the only solution to save my sanity, and my project was to make the change.

    I loved the thought of tiny nupps, but I soon realized that in order for me to finish the project without completely nashing my teeth, the switch had to be made. When I have access to a sharper pair of needles, I won’t be making shortcuts!

  15. kelly

    never heard of B.U.I. before… bwa ha ha!

    With exclamation points or without, I enjoy your blog and it makes me want to knit just for the learning of it. :o)

  16. Carolyn

    LOL you are too funny. I seriously love forbes forest…knitting another as you know….Love the anne taylor sweater (my one and only favourite store to shop at when I am in the states…well, besides target)

    Ditto to many of your thoughts…I should do the meme…hopefully I will have time this week.

  17. Rae

    At least blogging under the influence seems less dangerous than emailing or phoning under the influence. Knitting under the influence sounds disastrous. No matter how tempted, I’ve actually never given in. I hate the thought of ripping tipsy-stitches than not knitting at all.

    The shawl is stunning, by the way. Just lovely. Your lace work is inspiring – I’ve enjoyed following your journeys.

  18. Lee

    I’m knitting the Swallowtail, too. The nupps seem to be so integral to the pattern, I didn’t consider eliminating them (despite the pains they were giving me). After much gnashing of teeth and swearing, I solved the p5tog issue by transferring the five stitches to my right needle and shoving a size 0 double point into them. The DP goes fairly easily into the front of the stitches, then I slide it to the back and purl. Kind of a pain to have the extra needle floating around, but it has saved me a lot of heartache.

  19. Elizabeth

    Heh heh – glad I’m not the only one who’s knit and blogged under the influence on occasion. Thanks for the fun meme. I don’t think I knew any of those things about you – although the sock obsession wasn’t much of a surprise. 🙂

  20. LeeAnn

    Okay, I guess I’m the only person who was shocked, I say SHOCKED, by #4. I used to think I knit using a combined method (Western knitting, Continental to knit, English to purl) until I read and watched the info here — and it opened a whole new knitting world to me. I now knit faster, smoother, just plain better, and it is even more enjoyable. My DH is tired of me exclaiming (seemingly apropo of nothing) “Long live Saint Grumperina!” while I purl away. To know that you don’t actually knit combined all the time yourself is …well, shocking!

  21. Nicole

    Although I agree with you on #6 that it is more interesting, I feel like it needs some kind of disclaimer “Do not adjust your screen… etc.” because of the pixelated look it produces.

  22. Stephanie

    I knew two of those things about you. I’ll have to do this one day this week (although I’d better start thinking now). I just finished reading a book called Knitting Under the Influence – cute, but nothing earth shattering.

  23. anne

    I learned to knit combined, or rather, I accidentally started knitting combined and didn’t realize that was what it was called for a long time. Once I realized it, I learned to knit Western, mostly because I didn’t want my in-the-round knitting to bias anymore, but now I find I, too, rarely knit combined. I have to remind myself to do it, and I think it’s because I so frequently (almost exclusively) knit on circular needles, so even when I’m not knitting in the round, I still think that way. I think combined knitting is great, though, and every so often I decide to do it and remember how nice it is. (Especially the purling.)

  24. Natalie Strong

    Hi Grumperina! This is off topic, but I just finished an Odessa hat, and I wanted to e-mail you a picture, because I loved it so much… but I can’t seem to get an e-mail through to you from the blog. So I have posted it on my blog, and I would love to e-mail it to you for your gallery. I’m just having trouble figuring it out…

    Thanks for the pattern!

  25. Susan

    Sooooo….she knits like the rest of us….(can you see me twirling my mustache? Seriously, I enjoy your blog. You are so inspiring and interesting. Keep it up!!!!

  26. Persnickety Knitter

    I’m with you about the purl side looking much more interesting than the striped knit side. I recently finished a pair of STR socks that I knit to wear purl-side out because I liked that side so much better.

  27. Stella

    I actually knit in the Western style most of the time!

    I was wondering about this, actually. I’m in the middle of switching to combined, myself (well, switching back, sort of), and just this morning, sitting at the bus stop I was thinking, “Does grumperina really do this all the time? Cuz there are situations where it seems gratuitous.”

    Overall though, I have to report that it’s sped me up significantly, especially in purl. Once I get some photos uploaded to my computer I’ll finally be starting a knit blog, and then I can ramble on at length about my journey to continental-combined.

  28. Rae

    I love multiple p tog (p3 for me so far in my current lace pattern). I HATE mohair, too (and always felt I *should* like it given its cost and how others regard it). Cables don’t grab me either. I can’t switch from continental to english (or whatever the heck the styles are) to save my life. I’m happy knitting my style and have no desire to change.

    Love the blog. BTW, I’m on my first ever pair of socks (simple, basic sock pattern), and Cara’s (www.januaryone.com) jaywalker was so gorgeous when I ran into her on the train that I promptly printed out the pattern, ordered some luscious yarn, and am anxiously awaiting its arrival. Not my first sock to knit, but my second, which is pretty darned good. thanks for the pattern.

  29. anne marie in philly

    1. I was taught how to knit when I was 13 by my maternal grandmother; I gave it up cause it wasn’t cool back in the day.

    2. years passed without picking up needles again, until I turned 27. I still have the first garment I made: a red heart super saver shrug in a double moss stitch pattern in a very ugly shade of blue.

    3. years passed without picking up needles again, until I turned 46. my life was going down the tubes. my psychologist brought out the long-dormant talent. fun fur (ugh!) made its debut; I got hooked (needled?). I now have an addiction for which there is no cure (short of cutting off my hands).

    4. In 2004 I decided to become a certified knitting teacher via the CYCA. I received my certificate in december of that year. I enjoy teaching others how to create art from two sticks and some string (but NO fun fur!).

    5. I throw; I have no desire to learn how to knit continental.

    6. I have no desire to learn how to knit socks. most of the things I knit are gifts for others/charity projects. I DO like designing my own artworks.

    7. I am a published author: Annie Modesitt’s book “Cheaper Than Therapy” contains a poem I wrote.

    8. I have no desire to use the intarsia/fair isle techniques in my designs. I want to learn how to incorporate mosaic knitting, illusion (or shadow) knitting, mitered squares, and modular knitting into my sweaters.

    9. I founded a stitch-n-bitch group in 2003 cause there were no local groups near me back then (if it’s going to be, it’s up to me). I am VERY fortunate to lead a group of 27 diverse, spirited, like-minded artists down the yarn road.

    10. when I shop for yarn, it’s with a specific project in mind (I don’t have room for a stash). each project has its own bag that calls out to me like a siren each time I enter “my sacred art room”. I have 15 bags tempting/taunting me right now…

  30. Susan

    Thanks for the meme. Loved your post. I’m a bit late but I did my “10 knitterly things …” today. Some points came across a bit on the rant side but anyway.

    I was really suprised at your admission about the cabled knits. The thing with purled stripes I can understand from an academical point of view but as a bit of a neat freak I really don’t like them ;o)

    Happy Knitting


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