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The 3R's of Knitting

Reading, wRiting, and 'Rithmetic of Knitting

Remember the "3 R's" of school days – Reading, wRiting, and 'Rithmetic? Taking that as a theme, I thought it would be appropriate to this time of the year to relate that to learning about our fiber arts. I will use knitting as the prime example, but you will see that the ideas relate to spinning, weaving, etc. as well.

Reading

  1. Learn and be inspired by READing books and magazines, participating in email discussion forums, surfing the internet for all kinds of information about knitting, etc.
  2. When beginning a project with a pattern, READ through the instructions quickly to get an overview of the approach and whereabouts of the information (e.g. where are the abbreviated terms explained? where is the key to the symbols used in charts?) Don't try to work out all the details in your head at this point – let your hands help you "learn" as you actually do the project in the next step.
  3. As you work through the project, READ carefully. Then translate that into the motions your hands make upon your materials – transforming the word concepts into a real thing that is uniquely your own!
  4. A good learning tool to write patterns of your own design, is to READ published patterns – whether or not you yourself use patterns! What layouts work best? What types of instructions are clearest? etc.

wRiting

  1. WRITE down notes to yourself about your project, materials used, variations you've made, your whereabouts in completing each of the project's instructions, etc. This record can help you immensely in resuming a project, avoiding mistakes, remembering how you did something so you can do it again, remembering what NOT to do because it gave an unpleasant result. We learn by both what works – and what does not!
  2. WRITE down ideas for future projects, design inspirations, etc. This is just a good way to organize yourself, and keep your creative juices preserved until you have time to take action on them. This can even come in handy when you are in a slump and need a "boost".
  3. WRITE to others - share and give back to others via email discussion lists, your own internet web site, submitting articles to magazines that support fiber-passionate folks like us. Every time I WRITE something, I learn or gain a deeper understanding. I think you will likewise find reward in these type of activities.
  4. WRITE down patterns of your own design. Abbreviated instructions are fine as you prototype and experiment, or for your own use later. If you intend to publish your pattern (even a free one on the internet), I encourage you pay careful attention to completeness and clear communication.

'Rithmetic:

  1. You don't have to be a mathematical genius to knit, weave, spin, dye, etc., but it certainly helps to have a good understanding of numbers, basic aRITHMETIC functions – and a calculator, if possible!
  2. Be careful in working with numbers that you understand what unit of measurement the numbers represent. For example, grams vs. ounces, yards vs. meters, U.S. needle sizing vs. metric vs. UK, etc. Do your aRITHMETIC on like unit of measurements, or convert one to another beforehand. It helps to keep a conversion table close to your calculator!
  3. Many good patterns, and even computer programs, are available to assist you along your way by already having worked out most of the aRITHMETIC details. The more adjustments to patterns you will make, the more aRITHMETIC you will be called upon deal with.
  4. If designing your own originals, you can't get around having to use aRITHMETIC. Commercial computer programs may help a little, but you will still need to apply your aRITHMETIC skills to verify that the input you have supplied to the program is giving you reasonable results, and to make adjustments not covered by the program.

Return to Index of Jackie E-S Articles & Tips.

Can I help you further? Thank you for stopping by. I am here to serve you. For your convenience, you may contact me by any of these means. Kind regards, Jackie E-S

Email address: jackie@heartstringsfiberarts.com
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Wholesale order line: voice/888-955-8094 fax/888-467-7840
Direct line for HeartStrings pattern support and customer service: 985-764-8094 or 877-764-2747 (toll-free in US)
Postal address: HeartStrings, Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer, 53 Parlange Drive, Destrehan LA 70047-2133 USA

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Last revised Wednesday, 06-Mar-2013 13:40:03 CST