I am crazy about knitting. For years, I had wanted to learn how and I finally took some classes earlier this year. I thought I would be so cool learning how to knit. Imagine my extreme disappointment when I realized everyone else was on the knitting bandwagon – story of my life, always the sheep and never, ever the trendsetter. Regardless, I was hooked from the start! (and yes, that would be a pun if I was crocheting. But I’m not. So there.) Anyway, I am now the Imelda Marcos of scarves. Yes, scarves are the knitting equivalent of kindergarten, but I was traveling a lot and they are easily stuffed into a suitcase. For the most part, knitting is very relaxing – interspersed with tense moments after mistakes are made. The sense of accomplishment when those mistakes are fixed is well worth the hassle (and at times, tears. Big ones. The kind that roll down your cheek). If I don’t knit for a few days, I start to crave it. My favorite sort of evening is to hang out with The Husband and knit while we watch TV (oh, how long I have come from college. But that’s another post. Entirely. ). Anyway, knitting has saved me from going loopy with boredom in airports (okay, now that’s a valid knitting pun for you) and it has significantly reduced my anxiety from many a canceled or delayed flight. As long as I am knitting, I am in a Zen-like zone and feel very peaceful – instead of counting breaths, I count stitches. It’s all good, yo (another knitting pun for you).
With all this serenity surrounding the Zen of knitting, imagine my surprise then when I discovered a major source of discord in knitting circles – knitting continental-style vs. English-style. When you knit English, you are “throwing” the yarn and when you knit continental you are “picking” the yarn. Most Americans knit English – in fact, it seems most of the world knits English. I even started out knitting English because I didn’t realize there was more than one method. I switched teams when I discovered a classmate knitting continental and noticed she finished the project WITHIN the class itself. The rest of us had to take the project home to finish because we ran out of time. I realized then that my classmate was onto something and vowed to learn how she did it. After some research, I found out how to knit continental and I never looked back.
What has amazed me the most is how passionate people can get about their preferred method – chicks with sticks can be dangerous (yeah, maybe they are blunt sticks made out of bamboo. But still.). When my classmate was knitting continental, the teacher (an older, Grandma Knitter) insisted she was doing it “wrong” and it was obvious the classmate was upset, in particular because as she put it “my mother taught me this way and it worked for HER” (I should note this line was delivered rather curtly). Ouch. I didn’t blame her though, the teacher was slightly irritating.
Overall, I don’t understand the cause for such emotion and argument. Knitting is supposed to be the equivalent of productive meditation. This, coincidently, is much easier to accomplish when knitting continental. English BAAAD. Continental GOOOOD. Ha!