Knitters are clever!

International Women’s Day 2021, ‘Choose to challenge’.

As part of this special day, I read an article in the FT by Claer Barrett, which encouraged women to be ambitious and be proud of their achievements; so that other people will also see the pride that they have in their skills.   The article is about interview skills but can also be about any conversation.  Being proud in our achievements can make us less prone to imposter syndrome, where we undervalue our skills and experience, and fear being exposed at being no good at our work, or in this case our knitting skills.  Imposter syndrome can leave us feeling we have no right to be calling ourselves “experts”. 

All knitters are experts!

Knitting can be complex.  It’s a craft which uses both hands together, just like a concert pianist and this involves both sides of the brain so it is a good brain workout.  There are sequences to be learnt even for a simple rib where the stitches alternate from knit to purl.  The sequences become even more complex for a cable pattern, where not only do the stitches change along a row, but some stitches then change their position using a third needle.

Some sequences are progressive, such as when knitting a sleeve.  Adding stitches to a row to allow for the sleeve to take shape can change a pattern sequence.

We do these mathematical manoeuvres with relative ease, but do not give them fancy names! 

We use codes to make reading patterns quicker.  I subscribe to many magazines and they all have a different list of meanings for their symbols or abbreviations.  These codes can be just as confusing for the non-knitter as chemical equations are to me.  I wanted to send flowers from our knitting group, known as K2tog (knit together), and this flummoxed the florist writing the card!

Then there are the charts.  As a retired Geography teacher, I am used to taking time to explain co-ordinates and using symbols for features on a map; but most knitters have learnt this difficult skill by themselves, or through the help of another knitter – usually a family member.

This makes me think that knitters are very clever, and we need to be proud of our achievements.

It is a beautiful bright but crisp Sunday afternoon, and I am sitting outside gathering my thoughts about pride in knitting and I am finishing a shawl picot edge.  Cast on 2 sts, cast off 6 sts, rpt ……… This is the end of weeks of work, and I feel a great sense of achievement because the cast off edge alone had at least 500 stitches.

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