Saturday, 10 January 2015

Continental Knitting ... What's Your Crafting New Years Resolution?

Thanks to the success of my friend Sarah Knight of Crafts From The Cwtch's decision to switch to this (in my mind) more efficient style of knitting, I've been encouraged to set some very firm crafting New Year's resolutions in 2015.

As a traditional English Thrower, I've dabbled with Continental Knitting, but haven't stuck with it long enough for it to become second nature yet, so THIS IS THE YEAR!

My usual way is to study the multitude of You Tube videos detailing naturally competent Continental Knitters, and copy away, which is all very well and good if you're knitting a Hitchhiker Shawl, or something else with a million knit row stitches. However, any pattern that needs some tricky finger and needle work has left me scratching my head and giving in to the temptation to go back to what my brain and hands know best.

Having seen the new(ish) Craftsy class titled 'Knit Faster With Continental Knitting', I think I'm going to dip my hand in my pocket and learn this properly, as it deserves the proper attention to get things right. Let's face it, teaching yourself can store up a whole host of future problems including getting into bad habits from the start. I've included the affliliate link on this page because I want to spread the word ... and besides, there's a 34% sale on the class at the time of writing this post :)

If you don't know the difference ... there are several ways to knit, the most common being the English Vs American styles. Traditionally, the English way is to hold the yarn in the right hand or wrap the yarn around the right hand fingers and momentarily pause on the flow of creating your knit fabric to literally 'throw' the yarn over the right needle to create the stitch. This is effective enough, but not entirely efficient. It is slower than the Continental style, and can cause more knitting related injuries or repetitive strain. This may be because the action creates more of a whole arm or shoulder movement.

On the other hand (literally), Continental Knitting is where the yarn is held in the left hand (more akin to how you hold the yarn for crochet). By holding the yarn in a certain way, the right hand needle merely picks up the yarn from whichever angle is needed for the stitch you require, with very little pausing or movement of fingers, hands or arms. Once mastered, it can be a very fast technique indeed.

Moreover, for long term health benefits ... I'm in! I've always been a bit concerned with how the millions to billions of stitches I've created in my lifetime might be having an adverse effect on my joints. Especially as I have problems in the rotator cuff on my right shoulder as it is (may or may not be associated with my crafting habits).

So off to Craftsy I go to purchase this class.

2015 Mantra ... Momentary slowing down of crafting speed to learn a new technique is a means to an end for long term gain ... Just keep knitting (Continental) ... Just keep knitting (Continental) ... [verbatim]

What style do you use? Would you be willing to switch?

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Knitting Pattern Sales and the New VATMESS Scandal

Happy New Year to all my lovely readers and customers. I hope you have all had a very lovely festive period with your family and friends.

I wish the first post of 2015 was on a more positive subject matter, but I have some apologies to make ...

Thanks to new EU laws that went into play today, purchasing one of my knitting patterns just got that little bit more expensive and time consuming.

I have had a think about what to do about the new laws, and my only real option is to begin to charge for all my patterns. The other option would have been to remove all the patterns from sale, but that wouldn't benefit anyone.

Due to the amount of time it's taken me to create my patterns, write them up and then fiddle about with getting them listed online (especially now that they are online in two places), I am now charging a very small amount for all my patterns.

All old and future patterns will still be available through my Ravelry Store. However, EU customers will now be directed to another website called Love Knitting in order to purchase the patterns. This is because Love Knitting is the only online facility currently able to charge (and deal with) VAT on top of the price of a pattern.

If you would like to read about the new laws, then please read this article written by those in the know on the Ravelry website.

It's a shame that the people who make decisions on such matters feel that it's of economic worth to hit micro-businesses like mine and other friends in the industry. Especially when there are many large corporations getting away with tax evasion (controversial)!

I hope you understand my predicament from reading this. It's very hard to make any pocket money from the crafts, but these new laws just made it even more difficult. I value my time. I spent many hours amending my patterns and sales listings today when I could have been enjoying the bank holiday by playing with my young son.

Despite this situation, I will continue to design patterns.

I am nearing the end of a pattern for DK weight bed socks at the moment, so will be able to post good news about that soon.

I wish you all an excellent New Year with good health, prosperity and laughter :)