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knitting and quilting

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Quilting isn’t my only obsession. I have tried many a craft in my day-started crafting as a child -so that long span of years from then until now has given me lots of time to experiment. I have a few favorite crafts but, generally speaking, I’m game to give any craft a try at least once.

Knitting is one of my craft obsessions that comes and goes. These chillier mornings and evenings bring it up to the top of the list. I am by no means an excellent knitter-just proficient I’d say. What holds me back is my inability to fix some of the my mistakes. Dropped or twisted stitches usually require me to start over-which is really a wet blanket on one’s enthusiasm for a project. Now a quilting mistake on the other hand, I can fix. I have lots and lots of tricks up my sleeve for those-and I can rip out stitches with the best of them. Somehow it doesn’t bother me as much when I’m sewing, as it does when I’m knitting.

Lately I’ve been writing some of my own quilting patterns. I think it goes back to the many years of writing worksheets, handouts, lessons in the classroom. The task analysis is a puzzle for me. All of the thought processing is a challenge I enjoy–choosing the right words for the directions, how much to spell out vs. how much to assume, deciding how to illustrate a process, if to illustrate a process, deciding what kind of diagrams to include-black line hand drawn or computer generated or photos?

One of my internet subscriptions brought me some essays by knitting designers on how they approach the design and pattern writing process. It’s so individual. One makes the point that when reading a pattern, we should try to understand the designer’s process and philosophy in order to get more from the pattern. Much of what I read in these essays, I thought, applies to quilt patterns as well. Perhaps my thoughts of “why in the world did she have us do it this way?” as I’m working through a new quilt pattern could be answered better if I gave some thought to where the designer “is coming from”.

Whether you’re a knitter, a quilter, or a multi-crafter, you might find some of these essays to be food for thought.

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