Q for You: What stitch are you?

Q for You: What stitch are you?

If you were a dog breed. If you were a wine varietal. If you were a color … what would you be? There was a Wool and the Gang newsletter recently with the subject line “What stitch are you?” and I thought it was that old parlor game we’ve all played how many times and ways, but that somehow it had never occurred to me to think or ask: If you were a stitch (knit, crochet, handwork, whatever), what would you be? (We did have that chat about “what gauge are you” once upon a time, but that’s a little different.)

The thing about this sort of game is you can be anything from really dismissive to super goofy to deeply philosophical with your answer, possibly depending on whether there’s alcohol involved … or you’re on the longest, most boring road trip of your life.

My immediate, flippant answer when I read that subject line was stockinette. Whether as in sartorially speaking, or in the sense of what a plain jane I’ve always thought myself to be. But I’m not stockinette! Like any human, I have my textures and complexities. (Was it Whitman who said, “I am large; I contain cables”?) My next thought was maybe I’m Ann Shayne’s rambling cable sweater of life, and certainly there have been phases of my life where that would be a fair statement. But I think I’m a bit like this fisherman sweater I’m knitting.

There are the swaths of nice, orderly broken-rib texture (or rice stitch?) at the edges; the rigid columns of meticulous, “tightly wound” raspberry stitch (which would be a teeth-clencher and overthinker if it were a person, right?); and then there are the two cable motifs. The single cables running up the sleeves and the sides of the sweater are wrong in some ways (the “ropes” bend without twisting and without reason), and yet they’re weirdly appealing. When I was in my late teens and early 20s, there were multiple instances of perfect strangers telling me I looked “very European.” I had brown hair and a stick figure and a face full of giant features at a time when everyone was expected to look like Christie Brinkley, and I came to understand (and even appreciate) that what they meant was “I don’t really understand your looks, but I don’t find them unappealing.” That’s what that cable reminds me of.

And then there’s the central cable panel. It’s a little like Ann’s planless cables, in that it’s puzzling and unpredictable at first, but it’s more like my resumé, actually — what seem like a lot of unrelated jobs have all crystallized in what I’m doing now. In the end (if this is the end for me — ha!) it makes its own kind of sense.

What drew me back to this sweater pattern over and over again for years is the fact that the two cable motifs really don’t go together — they don’t rightly belong on the same sweater. And where did the weird streak of garter-stitch raglans come from? On the whole, it’s a little warped — in a good way. So maybe that’s not a bad description of me.

And hey, getting this ridiculously philosophical about it didn’t even require alcohol! So that’s my Q for You today: If you were a stitch, what would it be? Have fun with it.

I look forward to your response, and wish you a happy weekend!

SHOP NOTE: The ever-popular indigo Double Basketweave Cowl Kit is back in stock!


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33 thoughts on “Q for You: What stitch are you?

  1. Cool question!

    I’m Lily of the Valley pattern. Not only because I love to knit it, but because it has areas where the yarn is really dense (the nupps) and seems to be doing the same thing over and over, and then right next to them are completely empty holes. That’s my life; a nice stretch of serviceable stockinette fabric interrupted by obsessive interest in one thing, doing it over and over, and complete disregard of other things.

    Here’s a link to an image of it http://rovingcrafters.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/a4bec-img_6155.jpg. Can only hope the pattern of my life will turn out to be as pretty.

  2. One of the things I like about this pattern is that the cable patterns go together so perfectly – to me it looks like you could cut the central one up into the side ones. Funny how differently we see things.

    • That is funny. They definitely share the weird trait of bending without actually twisting or overlapping anything — just a jog to the left or right with no real-world visual equivalent of what would cause it — but you can’t actually trim the one out of the other. The single ones only twist left, left left left, so they’re like a spiral or helix or something. The ropes in the main panel include both left and right crosses and they do actually snake under and over each other at various points. I’ve mulled how to make their behaviors more similar, all the while realizing I would like it less if I found them more matchy. But the fact that they invite so much thinking is what I love about them!

      I want to hear what stitch you are.

  3. When I was just learning to knit years ago, and to read a chart, I had a terrible time remembering which stitch made a right leaning decrease, and which a left. I had to look it up every time. Then one day I thought ‘Hey, I lean left, so I’m an SSK!’ . Never had a problem after that.

  4. garter. it’s my go to. it’s old faithful and you can do so much with it. and it’s mindless when i need mindless. and it’s perfect for tv watching when i need to veggie and do more mindless. it’s my fall back. i love you garter and therefore, i guess i love me. :)

  5. I think I’m chevron lace stitch. A little zigging and zagging with a few yarnovers for good measure. It’s has a little personality, like me ;)

  6. A simple, traditional lace, like horseshoe. Not very trendy, not very complex, but in the end capable of becoming something special. Which is something I would NEVER say about myself–way too self critical! Maybe I’m still at the point of just carrying on in my simple, careful, heartfelt way with hope of someday becoming an heirloom?

  7. Hmmmm …. hard question. I think I’m a Linen stitch. It’s a lot of work and goes slowly, but there is no match for the beauty and wear of the fabric. I also love distinctive rib stitches.

  8. What a fun question. I love your analysis. I agree, I think we are different stitches as we move through life, perhaps even our day. If pushed to pick one, right now I think I’d go with two color brioche. Rather slow going (I am very deliberate), a bit complicated, but rhythmically satisfying. Utilitarian in its warmth and double sidedness.

  9. Karen, I thought you would trip me up with this question. Surprise! NOT!

    I LOVED Ann Shayne’s rambling cable sweater of life

    Being a complicated person with a long history of ‘tedious’ work (contracts, accountant, bank controller and all the cash and negotiable instruments), musical career (stringed instruments, composer and singer) and crafts (woodwork, stained glass, seamstress, knitter and more). I think it is safe to say I am stuck with tedium in my retired years, knitting.

    Though I do not dress very colorfully, I am a very colorful person. I love all sorts of colorwork with tedious designs and color changes. It keeps my brain sharp, and me fascinated with the act of creation, since I now live fulltime in an Airstream traveling, and have no shop or workroom spaces to speak of. I won’t even go into how much I miss my huge, organic garden! : (

    Here are a few examples of what I mean about tedious colorwork:

    Have a great weekend, everyone!

  10. Last year I knit Canal Grande, an irregular chevron pattern with a mixture of little, insignificant zigs and zags, mixed with very large ones, all in the same row. My colors, from a 25 year collection of stash, changed with my whim. Meant by the designer to be a large shawl, mine is a large blanket with added stitches and much additional length. Nothing I have knitted in a long time was as much fun as this project and your question makes me realize why: I am,IRL, a somewhat eccentric person who has changed her life course drastically at irregular intervals, wholly by whim and mostly by the seat of my pants: neither I, nor my life, follow a pattern very well, and I want all the colors.

    • Ellen, Canal Grande is stunning. Seems as though this pattern fits you to a ‘T’, literally, especially after turning into a large blanket.

      I had to laugh at atelier alfa’s comment, “ideal for mindless TV or travel knitting”. The pattern looks more complicated than it really is. I’m hooked!

      Thank you for sharing Canal Grande. I had not seen it before. How did THAT happen?

      • Once you set it up with lots of markers: one color for the yo’s, one for the decreases, it pretty well takes care of itself. I added 100stitches to the middle: two of the largest zig-zags, so the longer stretch of the middle was doable with tv watching, or social knitting, but not until I had done the first few inches. After that, it so enchanted me that I pretty much let other projects governorate. Thank you.

        • Hypnotic knitting, being in the zone with an interesting stitch pattern that once set-up is mindless… mindless enough for us to be creative within the work, such as you did. Well done!

          I’m addicted to chevrons, of all kinds, sizes and colors. The Canal Grande’s narrow edges were an interesting take that made the pattern even more interesting.

          Did you see the Oddity Scarf with the red lightning bolt ‘chevron’ edge? It was designed by Annie Watts, and released in Fall 2015 KnitScene. It is nothing like Canal Grande, totally different, but both with such graphic power. Truly classic.

          Thank you again, Ellen, for sharing the pattern.

          • That is interesting. I kind of alternate between severe minimalism and full on chaos, but I have bookmarked it for whenever it is that I return to minimalism. Its pretty dramatic. At the moment (and this is the second year of “the moment” I am in a serious stash reduction mode and trying to only use stash for all projects, but that would not stop me from “oddity” so we shall see. Thank you!

  11. Ringwood, but why? Or moss stitch. I’m very left brained, like things symmetrical and lined up in rows and columns, but not flat like stockinette or ridged like garter.

  12. I crochet. I think I would be the seed stitch, very simple stitch pattern that creates beautiful nubbly texture.

  13. Herringbone stitch! My beginner knitters friends are always confused and intrigued, is it knitted, crocheted, woven?! I like to think I give the same impression to people!

  14. I feel like I haven’t found my stitch yet. This is both troubling and exciting for me at the same time. The song, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2 just came to mind, so it must be my theme song. I’ve been making my whole life and I’m ready to settle down with a stitch…I hope I find it soon!

    • i agree with Karen, and i need more experience–though i do know what wool i am: Icelandic
      probably i’ll know my stitch in time…

  15. Seed stitch, the good and the bad. The good is that it’s nice and orderly and creates a beautiful overall fabric. It can be plugged into almost any shape and adapt to its surroundings. It can be the star or take a supporting role when needed, and the texture of it might be bumpy sometimes, but in the best way. The bad is that it frustrates newer knitters, people either love it or hate it, and it can sometimes drone on and on for what feels like forever…

    I love these kinds of things! At TNNA Ann asked what yarn we would be if we were a yarn, and it was fun to hear everyone’s answers.

  16. Pingback: Q for You: Want to have a worldwide clothing swap? | Fringe Association

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