There's lots of things that I do when I'm knitting that I just take for granted and it needs new eyes to spot a conundrum. One of these moments happened at our drop-in last week when I was making one of the squares for my blanket. It's an outside-in design -- so cast on the borders on a circular needle and then decrease at each corner and work to the centre. I was happily knitting away and chatting, as you do at a drop-in, when Martyn (a relatively new, but not novice, knitter) commented that I was knitting a square in a circle. Yes I was! I hadn't noticed myself as I'd taken it for granted and hadn't actually seen the piece I was making as round, just as knitted in the round (a fine distinction in my brain). Looking at it from a new perspective though, I had cast on and joined to knit in the round, therefore had a circle on my needles. Usually that would then produce a tube of knitting, not a flat square -- definite knitting voodoo going on here! I blithely said at the beginning that you decrease at each corner -- there are no corners on a round piece of work so how ...? Well, there are corners on a circle if you place four markers at equal spacing and decrease at those markers -- the work begins to look like a square and then corners appear. This technique doesn't look nearly as magical if done on dpns as the needles are straight so the work looks square almost from the start. You can also start from the centre and increase at the corners -- the purple and yellow blanket in the pictures is an example of this. If you interested in the geometry of knitting, the designer Norah Gaughan has some clever patterns to try.
Of course, making a circle into a square isn't only found in knitting -- what about crochet granny squares -- not quite as magical as knitting in the round but it is still a very clever technique where carefully placed increases transform the circle. It's another technique that we learn and take for granted without realising how clever it is.
What this also shows is that sometimes we knit/crochet for the result, not for the process and don't notice what we are doing. I'm on a deadline to finish the blanket ready for Wonderwool so I was definitely knitting for the result. Taking more notice of the process is much more rewarding and you learn so much more. I see a course based on mindfulness in knitting forming!
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Here we will share our experiences of running a local yarn shop in South Wales.