Knitter natter   Do you do it in the dark, or have to have the light on?

Do you do it in the dark, or have to have the light on?

I sometimes get bad headaches and when that’s the case, I much prefer to be in the dim than in the light, much to the interest mirth of my husband, who now has me pegged as someone who prefers to do it in the dark because if we settle down to watch a DVD, the backdrop is always as dim as I can get away with. However, I’m sure I’m not alone in not necessarily needing to see what I’m doing in the old knitting department…

In the dark and in public?

For example, there was a great post recently from a lovely Canadian knitter (check it out on her brilliant blog here ) who discusses the benefits of uncomplicated sock knitting at the cinema.  Although I’m known for knitting in odd places, the cinema’s not somewhere I’ve ever tried (probably not least because of the cost of UK cinema outings :-( ), but, having read the post, I can certainly see the attraction in your knitting coming to a cinema near you in good old purl Pearl and Dean (very old-school UK joke there) fashion, not least because I can’t just sit for two hours at a stretch and have nothing for my hands to do  ~ no, there’s not a “sitting in the back row” joke there, either ;-)

A knit less complicated?

Of course, in her post about cinema knitting, the Canadian knitster is absolutely right about the need for the knitting to be on a not so complicated point in the pattern when knitting in the dark. Similarly,  I found with a recent penchant for DVDs of Scandinavian crime thrillers complete with subtitles (yes, back to my Killing jumper again), the need to be reading, rather than listening to the dialogue meant that some projects were definitely more appropriate when multi-tasking by reading the screen (whether the environment was dimly lit or not): technical knitting such as decreasing, lace patterning etc was kept for another time .

One blink and my eyelash is all awry!

Yarn too, has it’s light on or light off moments.  Even when ‘carrying’ eyelash or shredded ribbon yarn alongside DK to make the knitting up easier, I find that I still need to keep a regular watch on my stitches to avoid inadvertently dropping or splitting stitches.   I find myself constantly counting too, which is a major distraction if I’m trying to follow a juicy thriller.

The alternative is of course that my chunky knit jumpers just grow brilliantly as I get engrossed in the darkened thrills and spills of continental crime, so by swapping from one yarn to another I can concentrate on the yarn unfolding on-screen!

Do you need to see it to do it?

Kinaesthetic memory is a knitters best friend: it’s what helps you to avoid having to keep a pattern alongside you for the whole of a large patterned garment: by the time I finished my son’s 44″ chest Aran cabled jumper, my hands knew the 24 row pattern from row to row.  The right  kind of knitting can easily off-set the wrong kind of lighting: your hands know what to do and you can easily ‘feel’ errors as you go.   This applies both when you are knitting in the dark or if you are multitasking in a way which takes your eyes of your knitting.

So, why might you consider a move over to the darker side of knitting?

  • Because you’re happy to knit a bit wherever you go (yes, even the cinema, like our Canadian friend).
  • Because your hands get bored when you sit down to watch a film (partly because watching your own needles can get a bit boring).  Or, like me, you have to keep your hands busy in these circumstances to stop you acting on the munchies which kick in when sitting down for the evening ~ I’d weight twice as much if I didn’t knit!
  • Because you find the act of knitting a little boring if it’s a well-known or straightforward pattern and you like to multitask by watching something else and therefore can’t keep watch on every stitch.
  • Because you still like to be active in some way even if you are incapacitated in another, hence knitting in a darkened room with a headache.
  • Because with the UK weather, there’s many a gloomy afternoon where you don’t really want to have to put the lights on too early, but you do have the chance to get a few rows done, similar to ….
  • Because with the cost of utilities here in the UK, knitting by candle-light might well become a realistic money-saving option come the dead of the winter  ~ plus you can really wind up your children or husband by fitting yourself nicely into a popular sock-knitting-granny-by-the-fireside stereotype!  Oh the laughs we have about that one :-D
  • Personally, in a life that seems to be far too overstimulated from day to day, I find dim lighting to be restful and I find knitting to be a restful activity, so it makes sense to me to be able to combine the two!

Why you might not?

  • Knitting in the dim / dark is only viable if you really don’t need to look at what you’re doing or to refer to a pattern.  If you find yourself squinting at your work or straining to refer to a pattern then either you’re knitting the wrong project in your dark moments or you really do need to put the light on ~ it’s really not worth giving yourself eye strain / tired eyes, especially if you are knitting with the light off because of a headache in the first place!
  • Sometimes certain venues (eg: a very crowded cinema) can just get too hot and if your hands get clammy and your needles / yarn sweaty, then you are more likely to create errors in your work.
  • There are times when you need to focus on just the one thing, so watching something else (in the light or dark) just isn’t going to work.
  • The pattern or project may be too complex or the yarn may demand a little extra attention (eg: that eyelash or multi-stranded yarn).

Happy Smileys and Emoticons-12So there you have my thoughts on it all, all that’s left is for your turn ~ yes, it’s time to come clean and reveal where you stand on doing it with the lights on, or off?  All comments invited!

So much knitting, not enough time …
purple-book-bag-thumbnail personalised-baby-quilt april-2013-058 044 april-stash-018 This one's the most like my oldie! Gorgeous granny poncho Perfect pastels poncho Lovely, long and lacey mums-jumper
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