My knitting journals are a constant source of inspiration and technical help. I write mostly in pencil. The notes can be cryptic (what color DID I use?) or well written (stitch by stitch). My knitting life is enriched by this pile of books.
Read further to learn more about how I keep my journals and use them in my personal knitting and as I design and publish knitting patterns.
Notebook, Pencil. I got started with a certain notebook, the Black n’ Red business notebooks from Staples. I like the size (about 5×8”) and the weight and feel of the 24 lb paper. This notebook tucks into my knitting bag and since it is spiral bound, I find it adaptable for writing on my lap.
My favorite pencil for this paper is a Pentel Quicker Clicker 0.5 mechanical pencil. My life is littered with these pencils. I pretty much discard the cap at the end that covers the eraser since when removing the cap sometimes the eraser loosens and all the extra leads fall out. My artist friends love this pencil too. It also comes in 0.7 and 0.9 leads, but my fav is the 0.5.
I save the first 2-3 pages of each book to use as index or table of contents pages which give me a quick list of what’s inside each knitting journal.
Record the basics: project name, yarn, needles.
Here’s an example of getting the basics of a knitting project down in black and white. Last May when I finished my second Element Wrap, I recorded the basics in a journal entry.
In the entry for Element, I wrote down the needle size and length as well as the type of needle. I like to be very detailed about yarn, including color and dye lot, cost, yardage, weight, and fiber content. Often I include the label gauge as well as the gauge that I got with the needles I used. Color is important, too, so taping a strand to the page helps me remember the yarn.
I always include dates. I like to know when I started a project and it is so satisfying to record a date for finishing. It is amazing how knowing a starting date can spur my “get this finished” attitude. I have multiple projects going all the time and keeping track of these key elements makes it easier to move from project to project
Use personal touches to make the journal your own. Sometimes I write a few descriptive sentences. The color for this version of Element was chosen because of a shawl that Reese Witherspoon wore in “Sweet Home Alabama,” a favorite movie of mine.
Some of my entries use color pencils to highlight the main words on a page. Prismacolor color pencils, commonly available, work well on the paper in the notebooks I use. My favorite highlight color in Prismacolor is Canary Yellow. I use it often.
Why keep a knitting journal?
By now you are probably wondering why in the world I would take up so much energy writing journal entries when I could be knitting! That’s a good observation and one that plays right into one of the engaging aspects of knitting.
Knitting is a complicated craft. It involves mathematics, hand/eye coordination, sculptural concepts, color imagination, and patience. A knitter has observe what is happening with the interplay of yarn and needles and understand what makes the fabric grow as the loops become stitches and stitches become a scarf.
All of this is compelling. By using a journal and writing down some of the givens (yarn, needles, dates, colors, stitch patterns) the knitter records data that is now in one place and can be used for future reference and as inspiration.