On the Fly

Last night, with an evening gloriously free of youngling and outside commitment, I settled into my perch on the couch, with balls of yarn spilling around my feet and a set of comfy headphones in place, listening to music and watching videos as I churned out butterfly after butterfly on the bosc scarf.


I am about halfway done – maybe a little more.  The pattern calls for 20 repeats of the butterfly motif, but I think I will have enough yarn to make it to 25.  This is something I will have to gauge as I work – the risk being that I may gauge incorrectly and not have enough left over to do the edging.

When I needed a break from the counting, I pulled out the time lord socks for a bit of mindless stockinette.  I got sucked in while turning the heel.  It came out a smidge too long, but I’m thinking I can fix that once I finish the sock if I don’t like it.  The toe is a little pointy, so I can pull out the cast on and rip out a few rows, making the toe less point and the foot that teensy bit shorter.  I still have a good deal of yarn leftover, and I am excited to see how high the socks end up going.  Will they end mid-calf?  At the knees?  Or could they even go over the knee?  I realize that I have only hit the heel and already worked through about one-third of the ball, which means that they will probably come up to the knee – but here’s to hoping I have found the fiber vortex on purpose.  It would be very apropos.


There is currently some discussion going over at the Yarn Harlot’s blog about the extent to which designers should be expected to explain patterns and techniques versus what the knitter should know or be expected to find out on their own.  It is all really fascinating, and good points are being made for both sides of the argument (one side assuming the designer should spell everything out in big bold font and the other assuming that the knitter should have basic skills, such as problem solving and the ability to look up references, before tackling a pattern).  There I was last night knitting a sock – I had only worked toe-up socks once, following a pattern that said only “Use Turkish Cast On and cast on 16 stitches” or some such, and I looked in the back of the book for instructions on what the frack a Turkish cast-on was.  Well, it stuck in my head, and even though I know a couple of methods to achieve the same effect, it is still my favorite.  Then I knit the sock, and came to the heel, which I turned using the short-row method (or rather, “a” short row method since there are several in regards to turning a sock heel).

The point is – I like to knit, and I like to discover new things, and I really would rather not be held back from completing something because I don’t know how.  Yes, a designer could spell this out for me, but I think that creates a laziness in the knitter.  I don’t want to follow someone else’s pattern for everything I make.  These socks, for instance, are entirely on the fly.  And really, that’s kind of my MO.  I knit on the fly.  I have an idea, and I mull over how to achieve that idea, and then I go.  Most of what I know was learned from references books (and a bit of trial and error) rather than actual patterns.  This has benefited me greatly when I come to errors in the patterns I do follow (and errors will always exist – not in every pattern mind you, but in a lot more than you want to admit).  I come to an error, and I look at why the error is there, what the designer was trying to achieve, and figure out how to work ahead.  I don’t get stalled because there is a miscalculation or chart issue, and I have the freedom and confidence to alter patterns any way I choose because I have the skills behind me to help.

Where do you stand on the debate?


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. NikkiM
    Mar 27, 2013 @ 10:29:04

    Love the socks!


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