Ethnic Knitting Exploration by Donna Druchunas

Huge leap of faith here! Knitting without a pattern. Or, Knitting The Old Way, as Donna Druchunas author of Ethnic Knitting Exploration says.

donnaStep 1: The Revered Gauge Swatch! Yes, you have to knit a swatch.

  • What if I don’t want to?
  • Tough, knit the swatch.
  • Is there any way to NOT knit the swatch?
  • Just knit the swatch, you’ll thank me later.
  • But I don’t like to knit swatches.
  • Knit. The. Swatch.
  • Fine!

So, swatch is knitted. Now what. Augh! Gasp! Being one of the most mathematically challenged people on the planet I’m being assaulted with this word: “Calculate”. Of all things! Seriously, what was I thinking?

Ok, I can do this. So calculate I did (not without a calculator, that would just be dumb!) and calculate is what I continue to do. Figure out based on “The Swatch” how many stitches to cast on, how many to increase, how many rows to knit, how many decreases, then finally getting to the fun part, the 2 color design…. how many repeats I need of said design. I’m ready for a nap at this point, but we must persevere!

Based on a previously made promise to myself to knit from my stash and to handknit an item for each grandchild’s birthday this year, I decided to do matching (sort of) sweaters for my twin granddaughters. The 2 color designs in one will be birds and flowers from the Lithuanian section of Donna’s book. The other sweater, in the same colors, will be a snowflake or star design from the same Lithuanian designs. And, since they’re not identical (the sweaters, not the girls, the girls ARE identical, but I can tell them apart cause I’m a good grandma…..) that really means that I’m not knitting the same sweater twice, right? At least I only had to measure one of them!

p4230097So, here’s what’s done so far, in a Phildar acrylic, worsted weight, stashed, lovely purply heather yarn. 13″ from waist to underarm, ready for the next step.

This has been a fun experiment, so far, I’ll keep you informed as I journey through this frontier unknown to me (that of knitting without a pattern of specific items – slippers and dishcloths don’t count).

Who knows, when this is all said and done, Donna may have converted me to a Unpatterned Knitter! That would be awesome! Imagine the freedom! But there is still the swatch issue and that word that strikes fear in the hearts of mathematically challenged knitters everywhere: CALCULATE!!

Take heart, if I can do it, so can you! Give it a try,  this awesome book is available here:

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