Saturday, June 10, 2006

Knit in Public Day today - bring a sweater

This is the radar at about 8:45 a.m. for the Boston area, with the addition of the big pink arrow showing what way the formations are moving. That big green/yellow thing over New Hampshire is rotating south and east back towards Essex County and who knows if it's coming here.

To the left is my immediate neighborhood. Dripping power lines, and puddles getting larger.

On the right is the current progress on the Diamond Fantasy shawl, knit in Lucy's sock yarn . It's in the middle of the 6th repeat, headed toward 10 repeats, before it gets finished with an I-cord edging. That's still the first skein there, so if someone where making the 6-repeat scarf variation in the pattern, they would probably have enough with only one skein.

On the left is the baby surprise jacket, having had way too much work done on it during the standstill in the morning commute.

It's interesting. When I'm teaching I talk about the habit of experienced people to "hold truths to be self-evident" when trying to instruct less experienced people about a subject. We just don't realize that everyone doesn't necessarily have subtleties ingrained in them, and need to have those bits spelled out.

Elizabeth's Zimmermann's instructions are a bit like that. I can follow them, but then again I've got a fair body of knowledge already and know enough how to try something and see if I'm reading her right or not, or rip it back if I didn't. I may be biased because of the amount of "helplessness" displayed on the knitlist (or sheer laziness, or lack of willingness to try to solve one's own problem), but I'm wondering how many new knitters would find EZ to hard, because she gives you a general direction to achieve what she made, but leaves so much up to the knitter to choose. It's the difference between asking the local and being told to turn right at the oak up the road, versus mapquest spelled out to length of the exit ramp.

My greatest aggravation in Homespun Handknits is Zimmerman's pattern for "Sideways Mystery Mittens," which she ranks as "intermediate." First she gives the "Knitting Theorist" instructions, then a row-by-row breakdown for "Blind Followers." (The intro implies that this is her standard pattern technique.)

How insulting is that? (Leaving aside the fact that my blind co-worker would get rather irritated at the equation of "blind" with "clueless.") I mean, gosh, plenty of knitters need detailed instructions. It takes a lot of time knitting to grok the internal mechanics. Why make the less-experienced feel stupid?
I've always thought that graduate students have an advantage over full professors when it comes to teaching undergrads, because the graduate students can still remember a time when they didn't understand the subject and it was HARD!
instructions seem alright, usually, unless they are written by g-dang british people. how dare they slaughter our language so?
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