Home » husband sweaters, knitting

automatic stitching

20 November 2006 1,966 views 14 Comments

Since I began to knit, I’ve always been fascinated with folks who can knit without looking. I was always amazed at tales of people reading and knitting, watching TV and knitting (instead of just listening), or going to the movies and knitting. I knew it wouldn’t be a tricky skill to learn, but the fear of having to rip back was always too great. Thankfully I’m over that fear now and I’m fairly confident that I can fix just about any knitting mistake. The first few times I had a go at it I kept glancing back down at my hands. Was I doing it right? Were my hands making the stitches correctly? Did I miss anything? It’s like when you’re rock climbing and you’re have to push yourself backwards over the edge of the cliff before you belay down. There’s that moment of "holy crap, what the hell am I doing?" and then once you’re over, you’re fine. Well, maybe it’s not *exactly* like that, take out the physical danger and the over-the-edge feeling is the same.

I’ve been practicing with the Husband Sweater and 624 square inches of stockinette later, I’ve got it down. I still glance every now and then to see where I am, but I’m officially ok with not looking to make sure my hands are executing a stitch I’ve done millions of times before. Seems silly that I ever worried about it when I think about it that way.

Some folks have wondered what the Husband Sweater will look like, so I thought I’d share the official mock-up that I’m working from. Don’t worry; my knitting is much better than my drawing.


  • Amy Mac said:

    What a wonderful challenge!
    I am always impressed with Kristen’s knitting without looking. In fact, I noticed the girl next to her at this Saturday’s meetup just staring at her hands. We were in awe!
    Maybe I will use the pirate sweater to challenge myself to learn the same skill.
    Way to go, Caro!

  • Abbe said:

    I am totally amazed by people who can not look at their knitting at all. I can go about 3 or 4 stitches without glancing down but it always feels like no hands on a bicycle. But my motivation for getting over that soon is my love of foreign films, I haven’t rented anything with subtitles since I learned to knit.
    Hey maybe you can knit on the bus if you get really comfortable knitting without peeking.

  • Ruth said:

    Good for you! I’m not over that hump yet, but I so badly want to get there. (Hubby is thoroughly sick of rewinding movies for the important bit I missed). I think it’s a mild OCD thing – the anxiety of “not checking” for mistakes just grows and grows….

  • stacey said:

    I can only go 4 or 5 stitches without looking. For some reason, every once and a while, my hands will do something different! I guess I just have to keep practicing!!

  • melanie said:

    The husband sweater is Way Cool. I can’t wait to see the finished product!

  • Kellee said:

    Oh hells yes! Way to go! I have to say that if I hadn’t been able to make myself do the no-look stockinette early on, I probably wouldn’t still be knitting. Not so exciting the constantly staring at the stockinette, is it? 😉
    I can’t do the no-look thing on lace or intricate pattern stitches – or for that matter with the crazy-tiny lace weight yarns because I can’t actually ‘feel’ them, and so have no idea what’s actually happening if I’m not looking – but plain stockinette or ribbing, and it’s all good.
    You know what’s next for you, right? READING and knitting at the same time. So.much.fun.

  • kelp! said:

    I think that your mockup just needs to be blocked. I can knit without looking, purling is more difficult. However, I think that I listen to TV shows more these days than actually watch them. Knitting is much more difficult when there are subtitles!

  • Stephanie said:

    Looking great! How do you plan to do the cross? I just finished a sweater for my husband using EZ’s Knitting Without Tears and added a “P” using duplicate stitch. I also knitted in hem facings and they really dressed up the sweater. I wanted to do the seamless hybrid but couldn’t because the arms are a different color than the body. I still want to make the hybrid. Can’t wait to see your finished hybrid. Also love the colors you have chosen!

  • Kelli said:

    Very cute. I can’t wait to see him model it. Is this a holiday gift?

  • Joni said:

    I knit without looking so much of the time, I find that when I’m just watching my hands my eyes slow me down. It’s a great skill to have, congratuations!

  • FinnyKnits said:

    Knitting without looking? WHAT IS NEXT?
    You know I have to try this now. Just wait for the fiber carnage.

  • S t a c i said:

    For years I worked with blind people, and they were always telling me that your hands know what they’re doing. Much better than you think they know. You don’t have to watch them. Trust them.
    It’s true!

  • high-strung said:

    i still can’t get myself to take my eyes off the needles. maybe with more experience. sweater’s looking great and i think the drawing is really cute!

  • chris said:

    I too just discovered that I can knit stockinette without keeping my eyes glued to my hands! I still have to look down every so often, but what a discovery! I can only do it when I’m throwing, though, I think because of the way I “feel” the stitches and the working yarn — can’t knit blindly when I’m knitting Continental. Maybe that’s next!

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