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Knitting speed ??



 
 
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  #11  
Old August 19th 06, 07:54 AM posted to rec.crafts.textiles.yarn
Mirjam Bruck-Cohen
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1,592
Default knitting smarter was Knitting speed ??

I have read Aaron`s arguments m as well as Tamar`s explanation , and i
still don`t see Any need , importnace or even importance of the SPEED
in Knitting.
I am also not impressed by words as smart or anyotther term used here.

Even if i was knitting for my living, and i am not, i would not force
myself to knit quicker than comes natural to me. Smart or excellence
in knitting comes first of all because one can work in one`s natural
flow of moovements. That is when the outcome is getting it`s best look
or fit. Matching Needle size to thread thicknes and one own fluent
moove of the threads , is what makes it a good knitting.
Weaving was older than knitting, it needed space , a kind of
rigid frame or loom, it needs effort energy. The wonder of knitting is
the ability to take it with you , do it almost under any circumstances
, knit 1 or many stiches, and eventually having something made.
I am 63 years old , and due to circumstances had quite a hectic life.
i knit since i am 5-6. I have knitted in shelters, under staircases ,
while confined to a sick bed, in busses, in [bank and doctors`] lines,
while waiting for bad news, while going through times that my life
hung on a lottery. I knitted because i could use this one moment or
that 10 minutes, i knitted because i love it. Would i have cared about
speed i would have missed a great source of creativity. Too many of
my collleagues are reading about `this contests and ideas about Speed,
and other ideas about the so called quality of it` that they stopped
knitting ,Too many say i can`t compete with this , so it isn`t worth
my while.
There is no need to spoil the fun of thousands of people who enjoy
just to spend some creative minutes a day ,,,
If you chose to make This Idea , your main buisiness in life , for
wahtever reason, Ok , but don`t look down and insult the many people
who just enjoy knitting , and know they will finnish their handcraft
project in due time .
And last , but not least there are many people , who like me have some
kind of illness or other trouble in theit hands that prevents them for
speeding it up , Yet they are producing in their own time and fun ,
the Best most beautiful work, which pleases them and others .
Not everything in life is a matter of speed, we are allowed to walk in
our pace.
mirjam


Ads
  #12  
Old August 19th 06, 12:07 PM posted to rec.crafts.textiles.yarn
Leah
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 114
Default knitting smarter was Knitting speed ??

Kim and Aaron,

Aaron, I read through everything you wrote. Just from my perspective,
as one who prefers to knit textures and lace, speed is the farthest
thing from my mind. Even when I'm knitting a plain sock it's not a
concern. I don't understand the "need for speed" that's so prevalent in
society. Why can't knitting be an enjoyable leisurely endeavor? With
my days as hectic as they are, with kids, job, regular household chores,
medical issues, and now the extra work of putting the house back
together after having wood floors installed, it's nice to pick up the
needles at night and relax.


I can see both sides of the topic. I have friends who like to
recreate the middle ages, not at a Renn Faire, which is for the public
to enjoy, but just for themselves. They like to make cowhide armor
and stage mock battles and go around saying "my lord" or "my lady",
and they like to do a lot of crafts by hand, some work being
exquisite, and some coming out looking like it's really cheaply done.
Of course, not too many go to the extreme of using nothing but hand
made products that they made themselves (like linen yarn they spun
themselves from flax they grew themselves then wove into cloth
themselves) to produce the article, but some do go to great lengths to
make their costumes as authentic as possible. There are very few out
there, but they go to the trouble of making everything they use in an
item, including gathering the raw materials to do so.

Most of these friends feel that learning how things were done in the
age of chivalry promotes more of a community spirit. Others just
think it's downright fun to play Haloween dress up more than once per
year. Some others just like to learn how things were done before the
Industrial Revolution (like me when it comes to fiber crafts) It
really depends on the person.

Your last comment about knitting smart came off to me as dissing those
of us who choose to not knit as quickly or "efficiently" as possible.
Hel, I know my knitting style is suboptimal and would rightly be called
inefficient, but I honestly can't pick; I simply cannot hold the yarn in
my left hand properly (I'm dominantly right handed and can't do much of
anything with my left hand). Trust me, I've tried many times, and
others have tried to show me how but all have given up when it became
obvious that my left hand is incapable of independent thought g


I agree with you think there is a difference between some items when
it comes to quality versus quantity. Those who lived by their fiber
arts in the past often slaved many hours a day to produce those. I've
read of entire large starving Irish families being saved by a single
family member who knew how to create Irish crochet items, which became
quite popular when lace was so much in demand. In a situation like
that, there would be a great demand for both quality and quantity.
However, I don't know if they'd produce just one item, like
specializing in Irish crochet type leaves and someone else would buy
them and other items then sew them on a background which they then
sold, or if they produced entire pieces. None of the information I've
read goes into that much detail. I just read that Napoleon
commissioned a dress made entirely of lace for Josephine, but it took
so long to produce that he ended up giving it to a different wife
after Josephine couldn't produce a male heir for him.

As for me, I'm told I'm a fast crocheter, but I have absolutely no
desire to get into a competition with Lily Chin. I saw the UGLY
"sweater" she made for Dave Letterman, really nothing but a series of
loosely sweater shaped chains done on a Q hook that she dashed off in
an hour. It's not something that I think anyone would want to wear.
I personally would not want to turn out anything that quickly if it
was, to me, that hideous.

Speed knitting may be fine for some, but let me and other "inefficient"
knitters plod along, okay?


I think that's why the Industrial Revolution came about. There are
those of us who can't crank things out without feeling like quality
suffered terribly, so we look for things to help us increase speed
while maintaining our personal standards of quality. Hence the
popularity of knitting frames and machines. If I want something in a
dull single color stockinette stitch fabric cranked right out, I'll
use a knitting machine. I also use the machine if it's something that
is very hard for me to control gauge on while doing by hand, like
intarsia. However, for most other things, I like the feel of fiber
moving through my hands, and since it's for pleasure and not a living,
I take my time.

But, I can also see wanting to recreate and practice with the tools to
do something faster/more efficiently to help you feel you are getting
in touch with an ancient craftsman or woman. I know a gaggle of
people who like to do things with their hands that try and use time
honored tools for other crafts, but who also "fudge it a little" in
order to get things done in quantity in a shorter time.

Leah
  #13  
Old August 19th 06, 12:58 PM posted to rec.crafts.textiles.yarn
suzee
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 332
Default knitting smarter was Knitting speed ??

The Other Kim wrote:
Aaron, I read through everything you wrote. Just from my perspective,
as one who prefers to knit textures and lace, speed is the farthest
thing from my mind. Even when I'm knitting a plain sock it's not a
concern. I don't understand the "need for speed" that's so prevalent in
society. Why can't knitting be an enjoyable leisurely endeavor? With
my days as hectic as they are, with kids, job, regular household chores,
medical issues, and now the extra work of putting the house back
together after having wood floors installed, it's nice to pick up the
needles at night and relax.

Your last comment about knitting smart came off to me as dissing those
of us who choose to not knit as quickly or "efficiently" as possible.
Hel, I know my knitting style is suboptimal and would rightly be called
inefficient, but I honestly can't pick; I simply cannot hold the yarn in
my left hand properly (I'm dominantly right handed and can't do much of
anything with my left hand). Trust me, I've tried many times, and
others have tried to show me how but all have given up when it became
obvious that my left hand is incapable of independent thought g

Speed knitting may be fine for some, but let me and other "inefficient"
knitters plod along, okay?

The Other Kim
kimagreenfieldatyahoodotcom


Not to mention that knitting fast can result in tendonitis or other
repetitive stress problems.

sue
  #14  
Old August 19th 06, 03:04 PM posted to rec.crafts.textiles.yarn
Katherine
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 899
Default knitting smarter was Knitting speed ??

Mirjam Bruck-Cohen wrote:
I have read Aaron`s arguments m as well as Tamar`s explanation , and i
still don`t see Any need , importnace or even importance of the SPEED
in Knitting.
I am also not impressed by words as smart or anyotther term used here.

Even if i was knitting for my living, and i am not, i would not force
myself to knit quicker than comes natural to me. Smart or excellence
in knitting comes first of all because one can work in one`s natural
flow of moovements. That is when the outcome is getting it`s best look
or fit. Matching Needle size to thread thicknes and one own fluent
moove of the threads , is what makes it a good knitting.
Weaving was older than knitting, it needed space , a kind of
rigid frame or loom, it needs effort energy. The wonder of knitting is
the ability to take it with you , do it almost under any circumstances
, knit 1 or many stiches, and eventually having something made.
I am 63 years old , and due to circumstances had quite a hectic life.
i knit since i am 5-6. I have knitted in shelters, under staircases ,
while confined to a sick bed, in busses, in [bank and doctors`] lines,
while waiting for bad news, while going through times that my life
hung on a lottery. I knitted because i could use this one moment or
that 10 minutes, i knitted because i love it. Would i have cared about
speed i would have missed a great source of creativity. Too many of
my collleagues are reading about `this contests and ideas about Speed,
and other ideas about the so called quality of it` that they stopped
knitting ,Too many say i can`t compete with this , so it isn`t worth
my while.
There is no need to spoil the fun of thousands of people who enjoy
just to spend some creative minutes a day ,,,
If you chose to make This Idea , your main buisiness in life , for
wahtever reason, Ok , but don`t look down and insult the many people
who just enjoy knitting , and know they will finnish their handcraft
project in due time .
And last , but not least there are many people , who like me have some
kind of illness or other trouble in theit hands that prevents them for
speeding it up , Yet they are producing in their own time and fun ,
the Best most beautiful work, which pleases them and others .
Not everything in life is a matter of speed, we are allowed to walk in
our pace.
mirjam


Well put, Mirjam!

Higs,
Katherine


  #15  
Old August 19th 06, 04:23 PM posted to rec.crafts.textiles.yarn
BonnieBlue
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 27
Default Knitting speed ??

This discussion reminds me of some conversations I used to read on RCTN
about a few who timed their counted cross stitching or who worked out how
many stitches they could get out of a certain length of thread. To each his
own! For me much of life is an "estimate" and I am happy with that. I can
approximate how long a project will take me to do so that I can get gifts
done and still enjoy the work.

BonnieBlue

wrote in message
t...
Had a speed trial this morning.

With circular needles, I knit ~ 100 stitches per minute.
With DPN and sheath, I knit ~ 160 stitches per minute. I'm sure some of
you
can do better than that with circulars, but it is better than the 20 spm
that I was doing 4 years ago when I asked the group for help and they
converted me from American style to Continental style. I am happy with my
progress. : ) It lets me actually FO!

Is it only nerds that watch the clock when they knit? ( I only do that a
couple of times per year.)

Aaron




  #16  
Old August 19th 06, 06:59 PM posted to rec.crafts.textiles.yarn
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default knitting smarter was Knitting speed ??

I have no problems with anyone knitting as slowly as they want to.

But, I want to be a better knitter. I want to knit with less effort.

A by-product of knitting with less effort is knitting faster.

Speed is not the goal. Knitting with less effort is the goal.



Aaron


"The Other Kim" wrote in message
...
Aaron, I read through everything you wrote. Just from my perspective,
as one who prefers to knit textures and lace, speed is the farthest
thing from my mind. Even when I'm knitting a plain sock it's not a
concern. I don't understand the "need for speed" that's so prevalent in
society. Why can't knitting be an enjoyable leisurely endeavor? With
my days as hectic as they are, with kids, job, regular household chores,
medical issues, and now the extra work of putting the house back
together after having wood floors installed, it's nice to pick up the
needles at night and relax.

Your last comment about knitting smart came off to me as dissing those
of us who choose to not knit as quickly or "efficiently" as possible.
Hel, I know my knitting style is suboptimal and would rightly be called
inefficient, but I honestly can't pick; I simply cannot hold the yarn in
my left hand properly (I'm dominantly right handed and can't do much of
anything with my left hand). Trust me, I've tried many times, and
others have tried to show me how but all have given up when it became
obvious that my left hand is incapable of independent thought g

Speed knitting may be fine for some, but let me and other "inefficient"
knitters plod along, okay?

The Other Kim
kimagreenfieldatyahoodotcom

wrote in message
...
A long time ago, I worked for an engineering firm. Our motto was
"Better!
Faster! Cheaper!"

Doing things better or faster or cheaper means knowing the current
quality,
speed, and cost. So we measured, and we improved. We did not try to
work
harder, we tried to work smarter. We tried to make fewer mistakes, so
we
had less rework. We tried to cut waste, so we could reduce our
customer's
costs. We did. Measuring pays!

I want to be a better knitter, so I measure. Does this method or that
method
provide a better product? Which needles provide a more consistent
tension?
I want to knit faster, so I measure. Does this method or that method
allow
me to work faster? I do not want to race, I want to work smarter. I
do not
want to work harder, I want to get more done with less effort. Is
that
wrong?

When I first posted here, some 4 years ago, it took me more than 5
minutes
to KNIT a row of 100 stitches. Now, I can knit a row of 100 stitches
in as
little as ~35 seconds (1.7 sps). When I made my first knitting sheath
last
fall, it took me half a minute to move from one working needle to the
next.
Small changes to the design of the knitting sheath (and some practice)
have
reduced the time to change needles to less than 3 seconds. (Yes,
Dennis, you
got the first of the faster design.) That faster needle change is
not
"racing." It is working smarter. It is getting more done with less
effort.
I try different things and I measure to see which one offers better
results.
Am I the only one here that says this approach is common sense?

The standard for modern competition knitting has evolved to use 4 mm
needles, and DK yarn to produce stockinette fabric on 60 stitch rows.
It has
been reasonably pointed out that under those conditions, the current
world
champion can only knit/purl 255 stitches in three minutes (1.4 sps)
and the
record is only 355 stitches in 3 minutes (1.97 sps). But, I am not a
competition knitter and I will never be fast enough to be a
competition
knitter. So, I do not train for those conditions, and I do not time
myself
under those conditions.

First, I use US # 1 needles. Smaller needles mean that the tips do not
have
to move as far in forming the stitch, therefore at a given number of
stitches per minute, the required acceleration to move the needles at
the
required speed is much less. In addition, less yarn is required to
form the
stitches on the smaller needles so less effort is required to move the
yarn.
In short, knitting fast with skinny needles is much easier than
knitting
fast with fat needles. Skinny needles may require more precision, but
they
require less strength, force, and energy. Try it, you will see.
Measure it!
Moreover, the physics of knitting with fine (steel) needles and a
knitting
sheath is very different than knitting with 4 mm needles, *even if a
pouch
is being used*. It is the difference between a rigid lever (4 mm
needles)
and a spring acting as a lever (thin needles). The rigid lever
requires
twice as many hand motions. You would know this if you had every tried
it.
((Yes, you could develop a 4 mm diameter spring, but the geometry of
the tip
would then cause problems. To accommodate the length of the tip
taper, the
length of the spring would have to be so long as to be unwieldy.))

Thus, *the rules of the knitting competitions are set to exclude the
speed
knitting tools and techniques of traditional hand knitters*.

Second, I time myself on a single straight knit row. The Champion's
time
was for very different and more difficult task. You can not compare
"Quarterhourse Race" times to "Steeple Chase" times, and you can not
compare my straight row times to the Champion's time. They are very
different tests. My knitting one row is more similar to the rules for
19th
century speed knitting, when they knit rounds so there were needle
changes,
but no turns or purling.

Before we dismiss the reported speeds of 200 stitches per minute for
19th
century speed knitters as unlikely, let us think about this for a
moment.
At that time, contract knitting was a profession with tools, methods,
and
supplies optimized for fast hand knitting. Many thousands of people
were
trained in specialized methods of speed knitting, and they were highly
incentivized to knit as fast as possible. Essentially everyone in the
population with a talent for speed knitting was found, trained, and
forced
to practice for years. Those speeds of 200 spm were not for modern
contests of back and forth production of stockinette on fat needles -
it
was knitting rounds on fine steel needles, with knitting sheaths, so
the
spring of the steel finished the stitch in a flash, and they were
using the
fastest yarn available. It was a different test. And, it was not the
best
of a few, it was the best of a great many.

They had large pools of highly trained and practiced speed knitters
from
which to select the fastest knitters. We do not even teach speed
knitting
any more. They had needles, sheaths, and yarns that were highly
optimized
for speed knitting, and they had long daily practice at squeezing
every bit
of speed out of those tools and yarn. The Shetland production
knitters do
knit fast, but *traditional Shetland yarns do not lend themselves to
real
speed knitting*. Thus, Shetland production knitting is not the kind
speed
knitting with *wassit* that was practiced by contract knitters of the
Channel Islands or Cornwall or The Dales. Moreover, real speed
knitting
tools are not allowed in the knitting competition. Thus, modern
knitting
contests are not a reflection of what was possible in days past, or
even a
reflection of what is possible today with real speed knitting tools
and
materials. Who knows, in a year or two, Dick, or myself may even
break that
magic 600 stitches in 3 minutes mark (3.3 sps). Or, maybe Wooly will
be the
first one to knit a BLUE STREAK, if she can find a fast enough yarn.
(HINT)

Today, we want yarns that "feel good." When was the last time anyone
in this
group selected a yarn primarily because it knit fast? A knitting
sheath
will almost double your knitting speed, but who uses a knitting sheath
any
more? We no longer select hand knitting needles just because the are
very
fast. We are not hungry, so we want needles that "feel good."
'Addies"
are not the fastest needles out there, but who, here can stand up, and
say
confidently say, "My needles are faster!"? These days we do not knit
fast
because we do not really try.

Do not blow off claims of fast knitting just because you have not put
thought into what it would take to knit fast. Do you have speed trial
times
for all your needles? What is the fastest yarn in your stash? What is
the
fastest yarn in your LYS? How many knitting sheath designs have you
tried
knitting with? Do you knit faster with the knitting sheath low on
your hip
like the Cornish contract knitters from the School of Industry? Or,
do you
knit faster with it higher on your waist like the Terrible Knitters of
the
Dales? Do you find diminishing returns as you move to needles finer
than 2
mm? Or, is that just my fat fingers?

Does all that sound like a lot of work that would take a lot of time?
I
have 5 pattern swatches here on my desk. They are the same pattern
from
Gladys Thompson, all knit on # 1 needles, just with different yarns.
The
three that I knit a year ago as I started to move to smaller needles
each
took me a long evening to knit. The two that I did last week took
about 15
minutes each including cast on and bind off. After, I had blocked
them, I
saw that I had made a mistake in one of the bind-offs, so I just knit
it
again. (These are yarn tests so I knit them from virgin yarn.) I love
knitting fast. Putting in the effort to learn to knit faster has
actually
saved me time.

Unless you have really thought about knitting fast, then you can not
judge
the validity of claims about knitting fast. I think about fast
knitting,
not because I want to race or get in the record books. I think about
fast
knitting because I like working smart.

Knitting is good. Knitting fast is better. Knitting smart is
wonderful.

Aaron


"Richard Eney" wrote in message
...
In article ,
Mirjam Bruck-Cohen wrote:
Why is it important to know how quickly somebody knits ?

For all reasonable purposes, it makes no difference how fast
anyone knits.

The point of contests is partly a desire for accuracy in reporting,
and partly to test a historical claim.

Almost every knitting book (even those from different countries)
repeats the old claim that the gansey knitters could reach speeds
of 200 stitches per minute.

Up to now, when timed with accurate stopwatches in official
competitions,
the fastest modern knitters don't even reach 100 stitches per minute.
(This reminds me strongly of the fact that modern horses, timed by
accurate stopwatches over measured miles, somehow never match the
speeds reported for certain horses in the 19th century.)


They were not handicapped and thereby were carring less weight than
modern
horses of the same classs. 60 pounds can make a difference : )

It seems to me that the "200 stitches per minute" claim is usually
repeated to sneer at modern knitters as weaklings or incompetent, and
to raise the knitters of the past to a pedestal. Yet I doubt that
the
human beings 100 years ago were that much faster than, for instance,
Hazel Tindall, who has knitted all her life using the same techniques
they used (she uses a Shetland knitting belt).

Aaron's reported speed beats the officially recorded competition,
though as far as I know he isn't purling, just knitting, which could
make a significant difference. His spring steel needles may be
greatly responsible for the speed reported, too. The finer antique
needles available to most were at best ordinary steel, sometimes iron
or brass.

There will be another international competition in the next year or
two. I would like to see Aaron compete if he can get to New York
City.
It would be really neat for him to demonstrate the refinements of
sheath-knitting that he has discovered.
Failing that, there's always the Guinness Book of World Records,
which also requires certain kinds of documentation.

Of course, there is the element that the standard competition
materials are not at gansey gauge. Also, because of varying local
standards, the speed of a national champion of France can't be
easily compared to that of a national champion of Germany, for
instance.

In the international competition, all will be using the same standard
format and materials. I believe it is:
knit for three minutes, 60 stitches wide, stockinette,
using DK wool (light worsted weight in the USA), on 4mm (US size 6,
UK size 8) straight needles (dpns are allowed).
I'm pretty sure the cast-on can be done in advance, but I would think
that the starting stitch has to be marked.

In one contest (France, I think), knitters all used the same needles,
one after another, but each one used a different color of yarn, so
the exact stitches could be counted and nobody had to cast on.
But in the international one, knitters provide their own needles.
I don't know about the yarn; I think it would be provided, to be sure
everyone was working with the same qualities.

=Tamar







  #17  
Old August 19th 06, 09:39 PM posted to rec.crafts.textiles.yarn
Mirjam Bruck-Cohen
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1,592
Default Knitting speed ??

Well put Bonniblue , i think every experienced knitter or crafter can
`estimate` her/his time , and that should be enough....
mirjam

This discussion reminds me of some conversations I used to read on RCTN
about a few who timed their counted cross stitching or who worked out how
many stitches they could get out of a certain length of thread. To each his
own! For me much of life is an "estimate" and I am happy with that. I can
approximate how long a project will take me to do so that I can get gifts
done and still enjoy the work.

BonnieBlue


  #18  
Old August 19th 06, 09:45 PM posted to rec.crafts.textiles.yarn
Mirjam Bruck-Cohen
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1,592
Default knitting smarter was Knitting speed ??

You know Aaron , it is not the first time we have tottaly different
opinions about Knitting matters, and it is ok and gives some flavour
to this group. But we both also live in a tottal different Globus ,,,
Even though i am an excellent knitter [ it sounds not nice to speak
well of oneself , but i am still in the No nonesenses mood of having
walked on the edge of death and life] , i would like to do it better ,
i want and need things to be in a pace i can enjoy , I AM NOT IN ANY
MARATHON , i am not competing with anybody.....
Less effort is not always the source for faster work ... But i am not
debating this with you , just sharing a LIFE long observation...
mirjam

I have no problems with anyone knitting as slowly as they want to.

But, I want to be a better knitter. I want to knit with less effort.

A by-product of knitting with less effort is knitting faster.

Speed is not the goal. Knitting with less effort is the goal.



Aaron


"The Other Kim" wrote in message
...
Aaron, I read through everything you wrote. Just from my perspective,
as one who prefers to knit textures and lace, speed is the farthest
thing from my mind. Even when I'm knitting a plain sock it's not a
concern. I don't understand the "need for speed" that's so prevalent in
society. Why can't knitting be an enjoyable leisurely endeavor? With
my days as hectic as they are, with kids, job, regular household chores,
medical issues, and now the extra work of putting the house back
together after having wood floors installed, it's nice to pick up the
needles at night and relax.

Your last comment about knitting smart came off to me as dissing those
of us who choose to not knit as quickly or "efficiently" as possible.
Hel, I know my knitting style is suboptimal and would rightly be called
inefficient, but I honestly can't pick; I simply cannot hold the yarn in
my left hand properly (I'm dominantly right handed and can't do much of
anything with my left hand). Trust me, I've tried many times, and
others have tried to show me how but all have given up when it became
obvious that my left hand is incapable of independent thought g

Speed knitting may be fine for some, but let me and other "inefficient"
knitters plod along, okay?

The Other Kim
kimagreenfieldatyahoodotcom

wrote in message
...
A long time ago, I worked for an engineering firm. Our motto was
"Better!
Faster! Cheaper!"

Doing things better or faster or cheaper means knowing the current
quality,
speed, and cost. So we measured, and we improved. We did not try to
work
harder, we tried to work smarter. We tried to make fewer mistakes, so
we
had less rework. We tried to cut waste, so we could reduce our
customer's
costs. We did. Measuring pays!

I want to be a better knitter, so I measure. Does this method or that
method
provide a better product? Which needles provide a more consistent
tension?
I want to knit faster, so I measure. Does this method or that method
allow
me to work faster? I do not want to race, I want to work smarter. I
do not
want to work harder, I want to get more done with less effort. Is
that
wrong?

When I first posted here, some 4 years ago, it took me more than 5
minutes
to KNIT a row of 100 stitches. Now, I can knit a row of 100 stitches
in as
little as ~35 seconds (1.7 sps). When I made my first knitting sheath
last
fall, it took me half a minute to move from one working needle to the
next.
Small changes to the design of the knitting sheath (and some practice)
have
reduced the time to change needles to less than 3 seconds. (Yes,
Dennis, you
got the first of the faster design.) That faster needle change is
not
"racing." It is working smarter. It is getting more done with less
effort.
I try different things and I measure to see which one offers better
results.
Am I the only one here that says this approach is common sense?

The standard for modern competition knitting has evolved to use 4 mm
needles, and DK yarn to produce stockinette fabric on 60 stitch rows.
It has
been reasonably pointed out that under those conditions, the current
world
champion can only knit/purl 255 stitches in three minutes (1.4 sps)
and the
record is only 355 stitches in 3 minutes (1.97 sps). But, I am not a
competition knitter and I will never be fast enough to be a
competition
knitter. So, I do not train for those conditions, and I do not time
myself
under those conditions.

First, I use US # 1 needles. Smaller needles mean that the tips do not
have
to move as far in forming the stitch, therefore at a given number of
stitches per minute, the required acceleration to move the needles at
the
required speed is much less. In addition, less yarn is required to
form the
stitches on the smaller needles so less effort is required to move the
yarn.
In short, knitting fast with skinny needles is much easier than
knitting
fast with fat needles. Skinny needles may require more precision, but
they
require less strength, force, and energy. Try it, you will see.
Measure it!
Moreover, the physics of knitting with fine (steel) needles and a
knitting
sheath is very different than knitting with 4 mm needles, *even if a
pouch
is being used*. It is the difference between a rigid lever (4 mm
needles)
and a spring acting as a lever (thin needles). The rigid lever
requires
twice as many hand motions. You would know this if you had every tried
it.
((Yes, you could develop a 4 mm diameter spring, but the geometry of
the tip
would then cause problems. To accommodate the length of the tip
taper, the
length of the spring would have to be so long as to be unwieldy.))

Thus, *the rules of the knitting competitions are set to exclude the
speed
knitting tools and techniques of traditional hand knitters*.

Second, I time myself on a single straight knit row. The Champion's
time
was for very different and more difficult task. You can not compare
"Quarterhourse Race" times to "Steeple Chase" times, and you can not
compare my straight row times to the Champion's time. They are very
different tests. My knitting one row is more similar to the rules for
19th
century speed knitting, when they knit rounds so there were needle
changes,
but no turns or purling.

Before we dismiss the reported speeds of 200 stitches per minute for
19th
century speed knitters as unlikely, let us think about this for a
moment.
At that time, contract knitting was a profession with tools, methods,
and
supplies optimized for fast hand knitting. Many thousands of people
were
trained in specialized methods of speed knitting, and they were highly
incentivized to knit as fast as possible. Essentially everyone in the
population with a talent for speed knitting was found, trained, and
forced
to practice for years. Those speeds of 200 spm were not for modern
contests of back and forth production of stockinette on fat needles -
it
was knitting rounds on fine steel needles, with knitting sheaths, so
the
spring of the steel finished the stitch in a flash, and they were
using the
fastest yarn available. It was a different test. And, it was not the
best
of a few, it was the best of a great many.

They had large pools of highly trained and practiced speed knitters
from
which to select the fastest knitters. We do not even teach speed
knitting
any more. They had needles, sheaths, and yarns that were highly
optimized
for speed knitting, and they had long daily practice at squeezing
every bit
of speed out of those tools and yarn. The Shetland production
knitters do
knit fast, but *traditional Shetland yarns do not lend themselves to
real
speed knitting*. Thus, Shetland production knitting is not the kind
speed
knitting with *wassit* that was practiced by contract knitters of the
Channel Islands or Cornwall or The Dales. Moreover, real speed
knitting
tools are not allowed in the knitting competition. Thus, modern
knitting
contests are not a reflection of what was possible in days past, or
even a
reflection of what is possible today with real speed knitting tools
and
materials. Who knows, in a year or two, Dick, or myself may even
break that
magic 600 stitches in 3 minutes mark (3.3 sps). Or, maybe Wooly will
be the
first one to knit a BLUE STREAK, if she can find a fast enough yarn.
(HINT)

Today, we want yarns that "feel good." When was the last time anyone
in this
group selected a yarn primarily because it knit fast? A knitting
sheath
will almost double your knitting speed, but who uses a knitting sheath
any
more? We no longer select hand knitting needles just because the are
very
fast. We are not hungry, so we want needles that "feel good."
'Addies"
are not the fastest needles out there, but who, here can stand up, and
say
confidently say, "My needles are faster!"? These days we do not knit
fast
because we do not really try.

Do not blow off claims of fast knitting just because you have not put
thought into what it would take to knit fast. Do you have speed trial
times
for all your needles? What is the fastest yarn in your stash? What is
the
fastest yarn in your LYS? How many knitting sheath designs have you
tried
knitting with? Do you knit faster with the knitting sheath low on
your hip
like the Cornish contract knitters from the School of Industry? Or,
do you
knit faster with it higher on your waist like the Terrible Knitters of
the
Dales? Do you find diminishing returns as you move to needles finer
than 2
mm? Or, is that just my fat fingers?

Does all that sound like a lot of work that would take a lot of time?
I
have 5 pattern swatches here on my desk. They are the same pattern
from
Gladys Thompson, all knit on # 1 needles, just with different yarns.
The
three that I knit a year ago as I started to move to smaller needles
each
took me a long evening to knit. The two that I did last week took
about 15
minutes each including cast on and bind off. After, I had blocked
them, I
saw that I had made a mistake in one of the bind-offs, so I just knit
it
again. (These are yarn tests so I knit them from virgin yarn.) I love
knitting fast. Putting in the effort to learn to knit faster has
actually
saved me time.

Unless you have really thought about knitting fast, then you can not
judge
the validity of claims about knitting fast. I think about fast
knitting,
not because I want to race or get in the record books. I think about
fast
knitting because I like working smart.

Knitting is good. Knitting fast is better. Knitting smart is
wonderful.

Aaron


"Richard Eney" wrote in message
...
In article ,
Mirjam Bruck-Cohen wrote:
Why is it important to know how quickly somebody knits ?

For all reasonable purposes, it makes no difference how fast
anyone knits.

The point of contests is partly a desire for accuracy in reporting,
and partly to test a historical claim.

Almost every knitting book (even those from different countries)
repeats the old claim that the gansey knitters could reach speeds
of 200 stitches per minute.

Up to now, when timed with accurate stopwatches in official
competitions,
the fastest modern knitters don't even reach 100 stitches per minute.
(This reminds me strongly of the fact that modern horses, timed by
accurate stopwatches over measured miles, somehow never match the
speeds reported for certain horses in the 19th century.)

They were not handicapped and thereby were carring less weight than
modern
horses of the same classs. 60 pounds can make a difference : )

It seems to me that the "200 stitches per minute" claim is usually
repeated to sneer at modern knitters as weaklings or incompetent, and
to raise the knitters of the past to a pedestal. Yet I doubt that
the
human beings 100 years ago were that much faster than, for instance,
Hazel Tindall, who has knitted all her life using the same techniques
they used (she uses a Shetland knitting belt).

Aaron's reported speed beats the officially recorded competition,
though as far as I know he isn't purling, just knitting, which could
make a significant difference. His spring steel needles may be
greatly responsible for the speed reported, too. The finer antique
needles available to most were at best ordinary steel, sometimes iron
or brass.

There will be another international competition in the next year or
two. I would like to see Aaron compete if he can get to New York
City.
It would be really neat for him to demonstrate the refinements of
sheath-knitting that he has discovered.
Failing that, there's always the Guinness Book of World Records,
which also requires certain kinds of documentation.

Of course, there is the element that the standard competition
materials are not at gansey gauge. Also, because of varying local
standards, the speed of a national champion of France can't be
easily compared to that of a national champion of Germany, for
instance.

In the international competition, all will be using the same standard
format and materials. I believe it is:
knit for three minutes, 60 stitches wide, stockinette,
using DK wool (light worsted weight in the USA), on 4mm (US size 6,
UK size 8) straight needles (dpns are allowed).
I'm pretty sure the cast-on can be done in advance, but I would think
that the starting stitch has to be marked.

In one contest (France, I think), knitters all used the same needles,
one after another, but each one used a different color of yarn, so
the exact stitches could be counted and nobody had to cast on.
But in the international one, knitters provide their own needles.
I don't know about the yarn; I think it would be provided, to be sure
everyone was working with the same qualities.

=Tamar







  #19  
Old August 19th 06, 10:52 PM posted to rec.crafts.textiles.yarn
The Other Kim
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 168
Default knitting smarter was Knitting speed ??

Aaron wrote:

I have no problems with anyone knitting as slowly as they want to.

But, I want to be a better knitter. I want to knit with less effort.

A by-product of knitting with less effort is knitting faster.

Speed is not the goal. Knitting with less effort is the goal.


That's the goal for you. You apparently equate "better" with increased
speed. I don't. I, too, want to be a "better" knitter, but with the
types of patterns I like to do faster would lead to worse results. I
prefer to challenge myself with complicated textures and lace patterns,
and in these cases increased speed would not be a good thing. My goal
is to produce the best results I can.

It really doesn't matter to me if someone can knock out 10 rows to my 1;
more power to them. My results are good, and that's what matters to me.

The Other Kim
kimagreenfieldatyahoodotcom


  #20  
Old August 19th 06, 11:11 PM posted to rec.crafts.textiles.yarn
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default knitting smarter was Knitting speed ??


"Richard Eney" wrote in message
...
In article ,
wrote:
snip

snip

It would be very interesting to see what you could do with 4mm needles.


This result was published because it was the first time I had worked with
this yarn and I had never expected that the yarn would make such a
difference in knitting speed. It opened my eyes.

snip
Thus, *the rules of the knitting competitions are set to exclude the

speed
knitting tools and techniques of traditional hand knitters*.


A good traditional knitter can adapt to whatever size is available,
according to the product wanted


Wrong!
The physics are different. With a 4 mm needle there are twice as many hand
motions.

Second, I time myself on a single straight knit row. The Champion's time
was for very different and more difficult task. You can not compare
"Quarterhourse Race" times to "Steeple Chase" times, and you can not
compare my straight row times to the Champion's time. They are very
different tests.


True, it is a more difficult competition. Nevertheless:

My knitting one row is more similar to the rules for 19th
century speed knitting, when they knit rounds so there were needle

changes,
but no turns or purling.


...the 19th century knitters did knit flat and do purling on the yokes of
the ganseys. The "knit round and cut steeks" method is Scandinavian,
not traditional UK. Those heat-retaining knit-purl patterns require

purling.

Yes their daily knittng did include purl stitches but the speed trials
claiming speeds of over 200spm were for just knit stitches.

Before we dismiss the reported speeds of 200 stitches per minute for 19th
century speed knitters as unlikely, let us think about this for a

moment.
At that time, contract knitting was a profession with tools, methods, and
supplies optimized for fast hand knitting. Many thousands of people were
trained in specialized methods of speed knitting, and they were highly
incentivized to knit as fast as possible.


That's overstating the case. Contract knitting was a subsistence-level
job, done in spare time and with whatever you could get. Supplies were
optimized for the merchants' profit - yarn was weighed out and the ganseys
were weighed when they were turned in. Needles/pins/wires were often
badly pointed, soft non-springy steel that stayed bent, or even cheap
iron. Most knitters were taught to knit, but not taught to knit fast.


Broad generalizations for a activity that spanned hundreds of years over a
very borad area.
In some cases, you understate the grinding poverty of the contract knitters.
In other cases, they were guild craftsmen doing work for nobels and the rich
that wanted the best.

The "furious knitters of Dent" did train children to knit very fast
but it was not successful with all children, and their training method was
to set conditions of speed and let the children flounder until they either
managed to discover some method on their own that produced fast work or
gave up and ran away. I would bet that most of those methods were very
stressful and hurt their hands.


I find that using a knitting sheath to knit 170 stitches per minute is less
stressfull then hand held knitting at 40 or 50 stitches per minute. That is
the most important result of my research.

They didn't have the time to experiment


Most did not, some did.

and find better ways, nor did they have spring steel needles to add speed.


Steel was expensive, but it was available. It is the same steel that the
vikings used for their steel tools used to build their ships. Just as
master ship wrights had their own sets of good steel tools so did master
knitters. It was the better nourished and better equiped knitters that knit
fast, and held the speed records rather than the poorer knitters.

Those speeds of 200 spm were not for modern
contests of back and forth production of stockinette on fat needles - it
was knitting rounds on fine steel needles, with knitting sheaths, so the
spring of the steel finished the stitch in a flash,


No, the needles bent and stayed bent. Surviving antique needles from
those gansey knitters are curved like a bow when nobody is touching them.


The needles may have been deliberately bent into that bow shape to
facilitate knitting. What makes you think the that the needles bent during
use rather than having been bent as part of the manufacture process? Who
says that straight is the best shape for a needle? The next generation of
my needles will be annealed, bent to shape, and then heat treated to restore
temper.

and they were using the fastest yarn available.


They used whatever yarn was available that would sell. Some merchants
supplied the yarn. Other gansey knitters (in the Netherlands, for

instance)
used the cheap local yarn, yet the same "200-stitches/minute" story is

told
there.

Turns out that what was a very cheap yarn for years and years was also one
of the very best for speed knitting. It did not get to be expensive until
after WWI


We do not even teach speed knitting any more.


We teach it to each other, voluntarily instead of by fear of starving.
Knitters discuss methods here and in other Internet locations - weblogs,
discussion groups, etc - methods for efficiency, methods for reducing
RSI, etc.


I did ask, and this group in particular advised me to switch to continental
knitting to increase my speed. But beyond that, issues such as texturing a
band around the tip of metal needles to increase speed, using a knitting
sheath, and the impact of yarn on knitting speed were never suggested by
others as ways to increase my knitting effectiveness. I had to learn those
myself.

The number one way to reduce RSI is using a knitting sheath. Who else
besides me talks about knitting sheaths?
The Shetland production knitters do knit fast, but *traditional Shetland
yarns do not lend themselves to real speed knitting*. Thus, Shetland
production knitting is not the kind speed knitting with *wassit* that
was practiced by contract knitters of the Channel Islands or Cornwall
or The Dales.


Traditional Shetland yarns are a bit thinner than traditional gansey
yarns were; ganseys were considered thick sweaters. Shetland yarns
may allow faster knitting because they don't have to have every end
worked in immediately to prevent raveling.


Last month I would have agreeed with you. Now, after knitting with a yarn
that can be speed knit, I say that Shetland yarns are not suitable for
"speed knitting".

Moreover, real speed knitting
tools are not allowed in the knitting competition. snip


Today, we want yarns that "feel good." When was the last time anyone in
this group selected a yarn primarily because it knit fast?


Well, you did. You're in this group.


No!! No!! I selected a yarn for other reasons and was shocked and
astonished to find how much faster it allowed me to knit. I had no clue
before I put it on the needles.

A knitting sheath will almost double your knitting speed, but
who uses a knitting sheath any more?


You do.

We no longer select hand knitting needles just because the are very
fast. We are not hungry, so we want needles that "feel good."


We want needles that don't give us RSI. I seem to recall your posting
a few years ago about how wonderful dogwood needles feel, and how they
let the yarn move smoothly along.

'Addies" are not the fastest needles out there,


They certainly have that reputation, though.

but who, here can stand up, and say confidently say, "My needles
are faster!"?


You say that.

These days we do not knit fast because we do not really try.

Do not blow off claims of fast knitting just because you have not put
thought into what it would take to knit fast.


You don't know how much thought I have put into it.

snip
Unless you have really thought about knitting fast, then you can not
judge the validity of claims about knitting fast.


I can judge the likelihood of mistaken estimates, especially when the
identical myth is claimed by several different areas.

(This reminds me strongly of the fact that modern horses, timed by
accurate stopwatches over measured miles, somehow never match the
speeds reported for certain horses in the 19th century.)


They were not handicapped and thereby were carring less weight than

modern
horses of the same classs. 60 pounds can make a difference : )


Some of them were carrying more weight - heavier saddles, bigger jockeys,
running before the change to saddles that held the weight over the
withers instead of the mid-back.

Like Seabiscuit? Why don't more modern horses have as many wins as
Seabiscuit? It may be the same question.

If you don't want to try the international competition, why not
go for the Guinness record? All that takes is contacting them, and
knitting in front of a reliable sworn witness with an accurate stopwatch.
Then you could use all your preferred methods, tools, and yarn.


That might just be the best idea that I have seen in a very long time. I
would have thought that the Guinness record for speed knitting would have
been well over 200 spm.- and set way back when when knitting sheaths were
more common.

=Tamar



 




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