Monday, May 28, 2007

QUICKtip: Knots can be your friends

The ancient Incas are said to have communicated by "quipu"--knotted strings which encoded information. You too can encode information in a simple knot. If you knit a swatch on size 7 needles, 7 knots go in the tail. The next time you wonder what needles you used with that yarn--ta da! Your own personal "quipu" is hanging on the swatch waiting to tell you. If you "borrow" your best size 5 circular needles from a project and put the project on a stitch holder, 5 knots go in the tail. When you find that project languishing 6 months from now, you won't be discouraged from taking it up again by not remembering what you were doing--your 5 knots will remind you that you were knitting with size 5 needles. As is apparent, this also works with millimeter sizes BUT you must not mix millimeter and American sizes--pick one or the other.



Anonymous Clair St. Michel said...

What an excellent idea! It is so simple, and yet I never thought of it.

May 28, 2007 at 10:02 PM  
Blogger Danielle said...

Oh, that's far too obvious! And I didn't think of doing that. Thank you so much for sharing this bit of common sense.

May 29, 2007 at 1:13 AM  
Anonymous b said...

Hmm, am I detecting some Wisconsin dialect bashing? :) That's a good tip.

May 29, 2007 at 2:22 AM  
Anonymous Heather said...

Ingenius. I was thinking of this problem last night, but in a rather flighty way, such that I didn't reach a conclusion. Thank you!

May 29, 2007 at 4:18 PM  
Blogger Elena Murphy said...


May 29, 2007 at 5:00 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Oooh, the simplest things are always the most clever.

May 29, 2007 at 5:12 PM  
Anonymous Donna said...

Only problem with using a knot and metric sizes...I use a lot of 1/2 sizes eg 5.5mm. So using the US needle sizes would be better. And of course stick to that.

June 3, 2007 at 6:50 AM  
Blogger --TECHknitter said...

Hi Donna--you bring up a good point! Perhaps a person could perhaps continue the "quipu" theme of encoding information? Perhaps one could use different kinds of knots to encode different information--a double knot for each "full" size and a single knot to indicate "half" sizes. (Even US sizes leave you with a half--when you get as high as size 10 1/2).Thanks for writing!


June 4, 2007 at 10:02 AM  
Blogger Eve said...

Unfortunately, you can't tie 2.5 knots in a tail if you're using 2.5mm needles :(

June 7, 2007 at 9:29 PM  
Anonymous Witt said...

Another "knotless" quipu I use if I'm knitting a cap (or sock or anything similar) and the pattern says "continue for seven inches" or something, I cut the tail at seven inches so if I'm knitting with a friend and I want to check myself, I can just hold the tail up.

For sweaters knit flat, the same thing can be used, knowing you can use that tail to start the sewing up (or use a longer tail, long enough for all the sewing up, with a loose knot marking the distance)

I'm just happy to have a word for it now -- quipu!


June 16, 2007 at 3:21 PM  
Blogger msHedgehog said...

When I do a swatch on 3.5mm needles I include (in a stockinette section) three purl bumps, a space, and one purl bump. 3mm would be just the three.

This doesn't account for .25s, but I never seem to need them so it didn't occur to me. It would be better to use one, two, or three dots after the space to indicate .25, .5 and .75.

But the knot idea is much better if the swatch is not stockinette. You can use the same system in knots if the tail is long enough.

August 16, 2008 at 1:46 PM  

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