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 favorite tactile aspects of knitting
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Lanea
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USA
5194 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2007 :  07:56:01 AM  Show Profile  Visit Lanea's Homepage Send Lanea a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So, we've been discussing whether or not our needles click while we're knitting, and what SSK methods we each prefer, and it reminds me of some tactile things that I love about knitting and some other activities that require a lot of hand-eye coordination and small movements. I've apparently been fascinated with the feeling of such small movements and their reverberations since I was a little kid.

I love what doing a SSK feels like in my hands and wrists. It's like a particular dance move I love (the end of a grand allemand leading into a partner swing. Boy howdy, it's fun)

I love the way my yarn clicks home when I'm using just the right needles and just the right yarn and I wrap a stitch. It's part of what allows me to knit without looking, and if it wasn't so satisying to me, I probably wouldn't knit so much.

Similarly, I used to love to play Classical guitar. I was never any good at it, but the feeling of nylon strings on a broad guitar neck is just heavenly to me. Coincidentally, I didn't love the feeling of pressing mandolin strings down, and playing mandolin eventually messed my hands and arms up something fierce.

I love the feeling of making good clean steps and sounds while clogging or flatfooting. And a good contra balance, with a partner who knows how to give weight. So fun.

Am I the only one? I can't be the only one. . .

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RachelKnitter
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USA
2995 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2007 :  08:26:27 AM  Show Profile Send RachelKnitter a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm not sure I ever had anything in my life pre-knitting to compare it to other than the fact that I'm a big-time fidgeter. But the tactile part of knitting is definitely number one for me. Though there are days--too many recently--when my hands are hot and sweaty, my needles are squeaking, the yarn is dragging, and my hands are hurting. It's basically the physical embodiment of stress. But when the needles are right, you have a great pattern with great yarn, my fingers fly through it, and can often just read the knitting like braille.

--------
You are about to be told one more time that you are America’s most valuable natural resource. Have you seen what they do to valuable natural resources? -Utah Phillips, addressing a group of young people

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fleegle
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Japan
1507 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2007 :  08:49:13 AM  Show Profile  Visit fleegle's Homepage Send fleegle a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I love the way the yarn feels as it runs through my fingers. I love the sensation of moving the needles. I love the motion of the knit stitch. I love the way my needles feel. Gee, I just love everything about it. Except frogging.

Come visit my blog...
http://fleeglesblog.blogspot.com
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procrastiknitter
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Canada
1415 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2007 :  09:05:38 AM  Show Profile Send procrastiknitter a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I love getting a good rythm going.Hence, I knit sweaters in the round! I love blocking: smoothing out the finished project, remaking the shape, as it were.

Nothing gives me quite so much joy as when people tell me that they have had their pets spayed or neutered - Bob Barker
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socks4all
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USA
1464 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2007 :  09:45:07 AM  Show Profile Send socks4all a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm also a tactile knitter. That's why I'm a yarn snob. I don't like the feel of cotton, and so will not normally knit with it. Ditto many acrylics. I like texture and pattern and doing colour work (yes, that's visual but it's tactile when holding one colour in each hand). I don't even mind frogging too much if the yarn is nice, it gives me a second chance to enjoy it.
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AuntyNin
Seriously Hooked

USA
772 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2007 :  09:52:12 AM  Show Profile  Visit AuntyNin's Homepage Send AuntyNin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
For me, it's the feel of quality yarn moving through my hands, especially more luxurious fibers like alpaca and silk. Very soothing. Also, the simple repetitive motions of making the stitches tend to relax me. Both of those sensations can send me into a form of meditative state, which greatly helps reduce the stress engendered by other aspects of my life.

Not tactile, but important to me: being able to see measurable progress after each session of knitting. When you work in an environment where every day is a Red Queen's Race (run as fast as you can to stay right where you are), that measurable progress thing really helps reduce the stress / frustration levels.

Fleegle said she enjoys everything except frogging; me, I'm different, it's tinking that makes me crazy. Strangely enough, frogging a project that's been completely uncooperative feels good. Perhaps it's because I imagine that what I'm ripping to pieces is one of my less-favored colleagues ;)


AuntyNin

Everything happens for a reason, except possibly football. --- Terry Pratchett

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fleegle
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Japan
1507 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2007 :  10:00:28 AM  Show Profile  Visit fleegle's Homepage Send fleegle a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I loathe tinking too. I am currently tinking a row of the Dragone shawl, and it's perfectly horrible tinking. Guess that's rendundant :)

Come visit my blog...
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WendyB
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3262 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2007 :  10:20:14 AM  Show Profile Send WendyB a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I love manipulating the yarn into the little "tent" that forms when you do sl1, k2tog,psso.

I love the feel of stretching the bunch of just-knit stitches over the needle.

I love running my hand across the fabric I've made.

Wendy :)


P.S. Lanea, I know about that "good contra balance" too. When that happens, it's great.
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Clara
queen bee

USA
4406 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2007 :  11:55:04 AM  Show Profile  Visit Clara's Homepage Send Clara a Private Message  Reply with Quote
What an excellent topic Lanea! And Wendy, I thought I was the only one who loved that sl1, k2tog, psso tent! So even, so tidy, a structure in perfect move-in condition for some tiny imaginary family. Perhaps a poof of smoke coming out the chimney at the top?

Another thing I enjoy is winding the yarn from hank to ball. I have several swifts and a trusty ball winder but I much prefer to open up the hank on my lap and wind the ball by hand. You have to go slow to keep it from tangling, but it's a tender, patient act that also helps you get to know the yarn with whom you'll be spending so much time. (The only exception to this would have to be lace - even I'm not that patient!)

I also enjoy that zen-like moment when you're in the rhythm, the yarn and needles are perfectly matched, the grip is perfect, the flow is smooth, the pace is steady, and you're able to let your eyes (and mind) wander while your fingers/hands/needles do their work. I've never been one for long-distance sports but I imagine it's the same feeling a long-distance runner or swimmer must have. Only in our case there's no sweat involved...

Clara
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renee_knits
Seriously Hooked

702 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2007 :  11:57:52 AM  Show Profile Send renee_knits a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The tactile quality of the yarn is critical to me--love cashmere, and, right now, I'm working with Artfibers Kyoto and LOVING it. I also discovered recently that I completely understand the charm of the rhythm of brioche, as extolled by others on KR.

Knitting IS real life!
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Lanea
Permanent Resident

USA
5194 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2007 :  12:41:56 PM  Show Profile  Visit Lanea's Homepage Send Lanea a Private Message  Reply with Quote
sl1, k2tog,psso, me too me too! So very cool, that decrease. Though Clara's analogy of a little chimney in the yarn house has me a but ruffled--flames and yarn, you know, they don't play nicely together.

I wonder how many knitters are into folk dance like Contra, and vice versa. I know it's not just Wendy and me . . .

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englishtch
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USA
400 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2007 :  2:29:19 PM  Show Profile  Visit englishtch's Homepage Send englishtch a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I really love making a heel flap - the sl 1 K 1 creates a rhythm that I enjoy. I also like the feel of the fabric I have created. I find myself squishing it between my fingers every couple of rows.

For yarn, the best has been Jo Sharp's Silkroad. I have 3 colors in my stash and I am having a hard time actually using any of it because I don't want it all to be gone.

My blog: www.soonerbeknitting.blogspot.com
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RobA
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2373 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2007 :  2:38:00 PM  Show Profile  Visit RobA's Homepage Send RobA a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I also love the feeling of manipulating the yarn into a rhythmic dance -- so things like sl,k1,psso, or slip stitches, anything with that feeling of manipulating the yarn. The feel of the yarn of course is important too -- right now I am using some Frog Tree alpaca and enjoy how incredibly soft it is, loved the sensation of the glossy Wensleydale-breed wool of my last project. I think one reason I have mixed feelings about knitting socks is that I don't much love what the wool/nylon sock yarn feels like. And I am with you, Lanea... when I go back to my cello it is because I miss the feeling of the strings between my fingers and the fingerboard.


Rob http://roberta.typepad.com/robknits/
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hillstreetmama
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USA
3448 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2007 :  2:40:59 PM  Show Profile Send hillstreetmama a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I like the analogy of a dance - that's what it is for me! The needles and the yarn perform this beautiful dance, and I get to watch! I like the rhythmic movements, and watching the needles and yarn go in and out, back and forth, doing their little intricate steps. And, unlike a regular dance, when you're done, you can look at it and still see the performance.

Jan
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RachelKnitter
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USA
2995 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2007 :  4:14:47 PM  Show Profile Send RachelKnitter a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Love the s1, k2tog, psso! I wonder how much of that is because repeats of lace patterns so often culminate in them, so you get that feeling of completing a shape.

--------
You are about to be told one more time that you are America’s most valuable natural resource. Have you seen what they do to valuable natural resources? -Utah Phillips, addressing a group of young people

Poetry discussion, and other assorted cultural ramblings:
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kdcrowley
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USA
4773 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2007 :  5:04:07 PM  Show Profile  Visit kdcrowley's Homepage Send kdcrowley a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Clara
I also enjoy that zen-like moment when you're in the rhythm, the yarn and needles are perfectly matched, the grip is perfect, the flow is smooth, the pace is steady, and you're able to let your eyes (and mind) wander while your fingers/hands/needles do their work. I've never been one for long-distance sports but I imagine it's the same feeling a long-distance runner or swimmer must have. Only in our case there's no sweat involved...

Clara
Your friendly Knitter's Review publisher




Clara, I can confirm the long distance swimming thing is just like that....stroke stroke, flip turn.....knit knit knit turn...complete with mind wandering...it's the nature of repetitive tasks.

My favorite parts of knitting is when the ideas are dancing round in my head, and when you can see that it's all going to work. The rest is swimming laps for me--back and forth, which I can do in the dark, with a shark, in a boat, in a moat, in a box, with a fox....

Kelley
Check out my solar-dyed yarns at http://www.ceallachdyes.com
and my blog at http://ceallachknits.blogspot.com
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nanetteb
Chatty Knitter

220 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2007 :  5:37:02 PM  Show Profile Send nanetteb a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I absolutely adore stranded color knitting. I thread each color yarn through each hand and off I go. I've done all sorts of knitting but color knitting just feels like heaven compared to the others and it is so much faster because it keeps my interest. I thread the yarns, start knitting, and it is like I'm painting with yarn.

Nanette
http://knittingincolor.blogspot.com
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NaProus
Permanent Resident

1828 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2007 :  6:55:56 PM  Show Profile Send NaProus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I love a really complicated lace row that keeps me focused on the rhythm of the stitches. I'm doing something in Lotus Lace stitch right now, and row 11 goes: K1, YO, SSK, P1, YO, Sl2-k1-PassSliptichesOver-YO-P1-K2tog-YO-K1. I love it. All those YOs and unexpected purl stitches... It is like a dance.

On the other hand, I also love just working in garter or stockinette in a kind of peaceful way. No thinking, just hands working.

And, I think mosaic knitting is MAGIC, especially if I use a variegated yarn for one of the colors. I get shivers up and down my spine when the results start to be seen...

Knitting pics at http://photos.yahoo.com/naprous
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LittleMousling
Permanent Resident

USA
1093 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2007 :  8:09:44 PM  Show Profile  Visit LittleMousling's Homepage Send LittleMousling a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I really love the feeling of good, solid wool. Super-soft Merino and luxury fibers are fine, but my fingers will take regular mixed wool any day of the week. There's just something about that sturdy feel, and perhaps a touch of lanolin, that for my money can't be matched even by the smoothest silk or the finest cashmere.

Otherwise, I like the feel of perfectly smooth metal needles rubbing up against each other on the knit stitch (but, sadly, often dislike the way the same needles rub when purling).

Oh, and I really love the little finger dance of two-handed color stranding.

-Molly, obsessive but not exclusive socknitter
Stash photos, WIPs and some FOs
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Gelliott
Seriously Hooked

USA
911 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2007 :  9:19:43 PM  Show Profile Send Gelliott a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I like moving my fingers fast. I have always been fidgety and knitting provides an outlet for my restless hands. It's fast but rythmic and Zen-ish. I think that's why I don't get bored with even the simplest patterns. (I also love typing and playing the piano fast; I'm not very musical but I always loved practicing scales and exercises.)

The actual feel (softness) of the yarn is less important to me than a texture that allows me to knit fast (no boucle and no splittiness). I'm probably in the minority here!

Gelliott
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cozystitches
Gabber Extraordinaire

507 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2007 :  9:55:19 PM  Show Profile  Visit cozystitches's Homepage Send cozystitches a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by kdcrowley

quote:
Originally posted by Clara
I also enjoy that zen-like moment when you're in the rhythm, the yarn and needles are perfectly matched, the grip is perfect, the flow is smooth, the pace is steady, and you're able to let your eyes (and mind) wander while your fingers/hands/needles do their work. I've never been one for long-distance sports but I imagine it's the same feeling a long-distance runner or swimmer must have. Only in our case there's no sweat involved...

Clara
Your friendly Knitter's Review publisher




Clara, I can confirm the long distance swimming thing is just like that....stroke stroke, flip turn.....knit knit knit turn...complete with mind wandering...it's the nature of repetitive tasks.

My favorite parts of knitting is when the ideas are dancing round in my head, and when you can see that it's all going to work. The rest is swimming laps for me--back and forth, which I can do in the dark, with a shark, in a boat, in a moat, in a box, with a fox....

Kelley



Kelly & Clara,

You both hit the nail on the head! I used to be a swimmer and I loved it (no time now). Loved all the time to think. Now I know yet another reason that I love knitting so much. My mind wanders over new ideas. I also pray a lot when I knit. :D

Hugs,
tammy

Tammy my Blog http://cozystitches.wordpress.com/
http://www.cozystitches.com
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