There’s more to designing knitting patterns than knits and purls.

While we had friends visiting this weekend, I was working on a new design/sample for Westport Yarns. Because I knit pretty much all the time, I forget that it’s not what people expect to see during normal “polite” conversation. It’s always interesting to hear/witness the observations of people who don’t knit.

The goal of the design is an easy, one skein project.The yarn is Rasta (Super Bulky: 100% Merino, 90 yards), colorway Soriano.

While we were hanging out I quietly (and as unobtrusively as one can) cast on with #17 needles and began working on the pattern. My friend, Jim, looked at the size of the knitting needles and exclaimed, “Wow, can you take those on a plane?” I explained that circular needles were a safer bet than straight needle the size of twigs. What would he say/think when he saw the #19’s I was going to change to?

Later on in the evening I measured what I had knit, with 15 sts on the needle it measured 6″ wide x 17″ long.

 I weighed the yarn to see how much I had used, it was just under half or 71g.

In the morning my girlfriend, Robyn, noticed the yarn on the scale and asked me why I weigh yarn. I explained how by weighing the yarn and measuring the scarf I can figure out how big it’s going to be. By playing with numbers, I can test out different dimensions of the scarf.

As I explained this to her, her eyes glazed over probably the way yours are now. It all begins to sound like the teacher in the Peanuts TV shows. She remarked as to whether this is what I imagined using my math education for. The funny thing is that when I was 10 years old, I wanted to be a math teacher.  I consider myself blessed to be able to combine the things I enjoy into a career: knitting, teaching, and math.  Who knew it would work out this way?

When you design you rip out and restart until it’s what you want.  While Robyn watched me rip out the scarf for the third or fourth time, she exclaimed that she would be boxing up the yarn and putting it away the minute she had to rip it out- the first time. My husband has said the same thing. There’s no way either one of them would knit and rip out and knit it again (and repeat the process over and over and over again). Even though it can feel like heartbreak to rip out a days worth of knitting, it’s one of the few crafts that you can reuse your materials the way we do.

Joe said to Jim, I see her ripping out the yarn, and I think of all the time wasted and time is money. We’d been sitting together the whole time I had been working on the project. Jim said to Joe, “I don’t know, you haven’t been doing anything.” 🙂