I did just as I planned. That in itself is pretty darn amazing but it is even better than that. I knit on the black sweater and managed just a little more than I thought I would because of that most amazing thing.
I knit backwards, and I knit back so effortlessly that I could hardly believe my eyes and hands and ears!
Do you recall a few weeks ago, I was working though the video Knit Free-Sole Socks with Anna Zilboorg? As I worked through that video, she was talking about knitting back across the sock rather than turning and purling back as you normally would. It was just a sort of casual comment and not at all what she thought she would teach in that video, but it sure is the lesson I took out of it. I am not even sure I could find that spot on the video again. I have no idea what the exact words were that she said. What I do know is that I heard something and saw something in that exact moment that just made everything crystal clear.
I love those aha moments.
I got the part about knitting the socks too, well most of it anyway, but to be honest, it was a little hard to focus on the socks after the knitting backwards part that was so life changing.
Perhaps it is because Ann Zilboorg knits the same style I do, that her way of framing the words, and her way of thinking of what her hands are doing and where her yarn is, changed the way I look at it. Perhaps it was that my mind was just a wee bit more open that day, that it was searching for a new understanding and and filled with the need to stretch the boundaries of what it knew. Whatever it was, it really was knitting life changing.
I worked back across a row that I would have normally purled, from the knit side, and I did it without having to think hard about it. I knit across that row without needing to constantly stay on top of what I was doing, without needing to watch my hands through every motion. I have no doubt that there will come a time when knitting back across the rows will be as fast as purling and I think it possible that knitting backwards could become just as fast as my knit rows are with consistent use of the technique.
Plus it was kind of a relief not to have to flop that almost complete sweater about and turn it inside out for the way back.
The biggest benefit is that knitting backwards puts entirely different demands on my hands. I was able to knit 2 rows farther on my sweater than I planned without any stress whatsoever. If I can do that even a few days in a row, it won't matter that my knitting is composed of very small steps and few rows. Slow and steady does get it done.
I have wanted to really understand knitting back since I first saw it done and now I know and I do. I love when that happens!