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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Doubling Up

I am learning to double knit. I can almost officially say "I have learned to double knit" except that I'm sure I haven't conquered all the nuances of double knitting.

In its practical application, double knitting has a couple of applications. For example, you can make something two-sided or reversible, and do mirror-image patterns. Pretty cool. The other application is that you can knit two socks at the same time, which anyone who has attempted socks knows is a godsend, because when you get to the end of the first sock, you're only half-finished. But I will have to investigate how to turn a heel if I do two socks at once. I'm sure that's not as easy as just knitting around and around is.

Right now I'm knitting little pointy things for a silly hat, and I'm doing them two at a time. The big advantage to this as a knitting practice is that the two little pointy things are different colors, which means far less tendency to cross the threads and get all mixed up. Also I've had to learn to decrease, because the pointy things have to get smaller around at the top in order to become pointy.

My reaction to learning this new skill is mixed satisfaction and discontent. I'm very pleased that from one read-through of the directions here, I was able to work out how to cast-on, work around, and decrease without referring back to the directions. (Read the article whether you ever plan to attempt double-knitting--it's really funny!). But the discontent stems from this feeling that while it's cool and all, it was way too easy. Where was the struggle? Every once in a while I yearn to take on something hard, and this isn't the first time I've felt kinda disappointed that this just wasn't it.

I felt the same way when I learned cable knitting several years ago... "That's it??? just take 3 stitches off, knit the next 3, and then knit the three from the holder?" Bobbles are a little harder--I should go back to those. Lace knitting... not so much, yeah. It's not easy, per se, because you have to concentrate on where you are and what you're doing--but neither is it terribly challenging once you've worked out the pattern. Yarn over, SSK, or K2tog, YO. You got that? You got lace.

I don't look for challenge in every part of my life. I mean, challenge is good and all, but I'm a lazy person, basically, and most of the time I'm perfectly happy to cruise by. But when I'm looking for a challenge and it just doesn't exist? What's that about?

Or is it just that because I've put in so much time knitting, things that would have been challenging a while ago are just not that hard anymore? Increase in skill can cause ease, I suppose. So I should be proud of my accomplishments and accept the accolades of the folks who think my work is good. Right?

I'll get a picture of my pointy hat things up later.