Friday, September 04, 2009

Great day, yesterday, despite unremitting rain.

The big news is that we are to have an American-style KnitCamp next summer right here in Scotland, on the Stirling University campus. Look at that: Franklin! Jared! Nancy Bush! Vivian Hoxbro! Annie herself! And more! Stirling is reachable as a day-trip from either Edinburgh or Strathardle and the dates are during the period when Greek Helen is usually here, who could hold the fort in my absence. Thank goodness I heard about it early enough – thanks to the Fishwife -- to lay long plans.

And the other news is that The Yarn Yard is soon to launch a wonderful new yarn, exclusive to her. I don’t want to tread on commercial toes so will say no more for now, but it’s great stuff (she had some with her). I’ll watch the website and report further when it’s available.

And, oh yes, Combination Knitting.

Annie Modesitt is wonderful, strong and energetic and patient and kind. We all learned a lot. The technique is one she hit upon while teaching herself to knit in an instructor-free void. She was delighted to learn, years later, that instead of being a solitary eccentric, she’s doing Combination Knitting. Shades of M. Jourdain’s discovery that he had been speaking prose all his life.

The technique is easy, and I think in my case it does provide a smoother fabric. The yarn goes under rather than over the needle in the purl rows, thus travelling a shorter distance and making knit and purl rows more harmonious with each other. My Strathardle knitting, long neglected at the moment, is being knit on circular needles up to the armpits. It might be worth switching to Combination Knitting when I divide the work.

The really fascinating part, however, was to watch Annie knit. She anchors the left-hand needle on her knee, and threads the yarn loosely between little finger and ring finger of her left hand. All the manipulation and yarn-feeding is done with the thumb and index finger of that hand. Wrists scarcely move, and fingers not much, and the speed is terrific.

Whereas I, equally self-taught but a good deal less bright, flail about in the clumsiest possible way. And continue to flail when attempting Combination Knitting – I simply couldn’t begin to do it Annie’s way, although I tried. It might be worth while to go on trying.

I bought her book, Confessions of a Knitting Heretic. It promises very well.

Gerry came in at the end, looking well. An unexpected bonus.


  1. Dawn in NL11:03 AM

    Hello Jean,
    I was also delighted to hear about the Scottish Knit Camp and plan to be there. Hope we can meet up sometime.

    Glad you enjoyed your class with A.M. She sounds like an interesting character.

    All the best,

  2. Thanks for the heads-up on UK Knit Camp. I'm going to put the idea to David, as a visit to Scotland has long been on my wishlist. We also see far too little of Franklin and, well, the rest of the instructor list is too good to pass up.

    I believe I mentioned it on my blog a while back, but David happened to meet Annie Modesitt a year or so back when they were at an event centre in upstate NY for two different events. She bought some of his socks.

  3. just an FYI, the link to the Scottish Knit Camp doesnt work.

  4. The Scottish Knit Camp - what a good excuse to return to the British Isles for a Summer Visit.