You know you have only to ask a knitter and they will drop what they are doing to help you figure something out. Well, they will likely ask if you can wait until their finish their row or round, or pattern multiple, but they are all ears when you ask for help.
I ran into Christine NLN at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday in front of the fish stand. She said she reads my newsletters and that her stash was pretty controlled, so she didn’t need that kind of help. I asked her what she did need. Her reply: A room with natural light, time in natural light, quiet to work the complicated lace charts she likes to do. Sadly, not things I can help with. It gave me something to think about though–and I wondered if our smart phones had a way to help. I’m pretty sure that Christine doesn’t use a computer much so I’m not really thinking about a techy solution. But I wondered if having a stitch pattern read would be useful to someone working a complicated stitch pattern. The logistics seem a little much–stopping the recording and working your needles. This is why I let Mitch run the remote control so I don’t have to put down my needles.
The more I thought about this, I wondered if it wasn’t a reframing issue. I know I hate it when Mitch asks if I can reframe my issue. I hate it because, if I could see how, I would. But this morning I wondered if this couldn’t be just a scheduling issue. Yeah, I know that isn’t the best possible solution, but if you have something that requires attention and natural light, shouldn’t you just schedule your time to work on that project during said natural light period (probably on a weekend) in a quiet place?
A knitter I know has always reserved Saturday morning from 10 to noon as her quiet knitting time. She listens to NPR programs and works without interruption (her family knows not to disturb her) for two hours.
I think that this works if you can spend some time setting it up and therein lies the rub. Getting your project ready so you can go to a room, go to a park, go wherever you need, to get light and quiet, then commit to doing it are not easy things.
They can be hard to track. you are either trying to interpret a string of symbols, or read a spooling line of text. I’ve found that the best way for me to handle this is to take control. I like to redo the chart in a format that is easier for me to follow: I hate long strings of knits or purls on charts so I always just put -k13- or whatever across the boxes so I don’t have to count. The act of redoing the chart makes it easier to remember what it tells you to do and find those little interior patterns that make it easier to memorize–you are showing yourself how to read your knitting before you have knitting to read. You can also color it in to make bits stand out. A written pattern can be tamed by retyping it and breaking it down. A long row of instruction can become clearer if it is broken down into shorter lines (think poetry) that are also easier to see and memorize. These can also be color-coded to correlate to previous lines or help parts of the pattern to stand out.
That’s it: Schedule, prepare, seek buy-in, make the pattern/chart easier to follow. Reframed, but not an easy solution.