The Chinese Knitting Machines

This morning I saw a lady knitting on the Tube (London subway). It’s quite rare to find people knitting in public here in London. I was doing it myself just this past year when I tried to learn how to knit.

It’s rather a useful skill to have as you generally can’t sew on the go, but knitting is much more portable. The only problem is, if I find home sewing pattern frequently rather dowdy, home knitting seem much worse. I like knit clothing that you’d buy in stores, so it’s not like I don’t like knits. But my own knitting projects so far have turned out 2 Oops (sweaters / jumpers) and 1 oops-but-still-good-enough (boyfriend scarf). And ones knitted presumably by experts and featured in knitting pattern books don’t seem much better style-wise.

Oops # 1: big chunky short sleeve sweater

My second knitting project, this one is destined for the Frogging Pile despite looking OKish in the end. I had already frogged it once, the original pattern being one size smaller yet still too big. Thankfully the Rowan Drift yarn was very fast to knit – I almost finished half of it on one 6 hour flights to the States – and easy to frog.

But call me frigid if you will, if I go chunky I need everything covered. Chunky + short-sleeve is knitting oxymoron. Chunky is actually also rather uncomfy under the arm. Maybe I’m just a princess with her pea. Anyway, Plan B is a puncho. I’m waiting to see if the August Burda have any skinny retro pants or skirt to go with it. Not the Poodle Pants that Channel No. 6 had already poo-poo’ed though!

Oops # 2: bat wing sweater

Project # 3 turned out more Michelin Man than chic. I’m terribly disappointed. Again I had already went one size too small and further. But it’s still a balloon. (Is it that I’m just too short for all these Western patterns, sewing and knitting?)

Style it right and captured from the right angle I might just be able to get away with it in photos. But in full motion life it’s going to the Stay At Home Pile – the Rowan Kidsilk Aura being too hairy to frog…Unless I can somehow alter it by sewing, basically treating it as a knit fabric. A real shame anyway, as I managed to knit it in the round so there’s practically no bulky seams at all.

oops-BSGE: boyfriend scarf

k-boyfriend-scarfGlenn’s Scarf by Katherine BuckspanGlenn's Scarf from Ravelry by Katherine Buckspan This was the beginning. And probably most successful despite minor oops. I mean, you can’t really go wrong with a scarf can you?

The oops is in the pattern. I read the instruction wrong, so the first 3 rows of repeats are not reversible. No biggy though, I just turn the last 3 rows into the same and make it look intentional.

But the whole point of this post is to…

…Point out how fast the Chinese knit. The lady on the Tube presumably is knitting the English way. Many different finger movements were involved which seems to slow things down. I tried to learn from an UK book, but my Mom then showed me the way she learnt, which supposedly is the Japanese way. It’s a bit more efficient, but still nothing compared with the way a Chinese lady showed me when  I was knitting while waiting in a shop. Her fingers were like a knitting machine. Up down up down, the loops spilling out in no time at all. What took me weeks to knit she claimed would have been done in one day in China.

chinese knitting video (see 4:55)

chinese knitting video (see 17:58)

Those Chinese, tough & capable as … I’ll leave you with this inspiring image then.

Let’s hope prosperity won’t turn them soft! 😉

3 comments on “The Chinese Knitting Machines

  1. Jerrry says:

    I took 12 stitches out of each side of the tender pattern and it came out a lot better. I ripped out my first complete sweater and remade it much smaller. Seems ok now.

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