Knitting isn’t what it used to be. In the good old days when all the grannies were knitting – there weren’t all the brilliant little tricks and ways of doing things that we have now. There was one way to increase, and one way to decrease. Without youtube, most people pretty much only used one cast on – the one their grandmother showed them how to do, or the one they learnt at school.
But these days, people have developed so many alternative ways to these simple elements. That’s what makes the difference between a beautiful handmade garment that you will love to wear, and that hideous jumper your great aunt made and your mom forced you to wear to church on Sundays while you tried not to make eye contact with anyone.
Back in the late 80s when Mrs Olson was teaching me how to knit in Needlework during the double period on Friday mornings, there was only one way to increase the number of stitches on a needle. At least, as far as I’m aware. If anyone should have known about knitting, it was the tannies in the Boland, and they sure didn’t use anything other than the good old knit into the front and the back of the stitch – kfb.
I hate the damn thing. It gets too tight when I’m trying to knit into the back leg, and I stab the needle around like an idiot to try and wedge it in. Once I do manage to get it right – without snapping the yarn – I get the flipping thing stuck. I’m left with my two needles trapped in an X, trying to wrestle them apart like I’m frantically stoking a dying fire with a pair of bellows, and hoping I don’t snap a needle in the process. Don’t even start me on the pfb. It’s enough to drive the most disciplined individual insane.
Besides the fact that I don’t like feeling as if I’m attacking my defenseless knitting, I really don’t like the way it looks. It’s too tight on the return row, and of course there’s the dreaded bump. I don’t know why anybody uses the kfb anymore. Truly. I have to reluctantly admit that there is the odd occasion when it’s the right call – mostly for that decorative swirl it creates. But then, I’m not really a decorative swirl kind of girl. I started knitting a scarf with a decorative swirl about 5 years ago. I stopped halfway, and it’s still hibernating now. I did knit a pair of fingerless mittens for my four year old that didn’t look awful using it for the thumb gusset. It’s unusual for me to trust the designer and use it as written in the pattern. More often than not, I rebelliously ignore the kfb and just do my own thing. I must have been feeling uncharacteristically compliant that day.