Knitting language

knitting_lettersI got a call yesterday from a friend from university. She’s recently started knitting so we have one more thing to share. Yesterday she was telling me about the scarf she wants to make for her boyfriend and then I told her about the one I made for Koen last year and how I made it. But when I wanted to explain about the 2×2 ribbing, I had suddenly troubles to find the words in Spanish.

I first learned to knit from my grandmother when I was around ten, and at that moment I went no further than trying to make a stockinette scarf. It curled horribly, it was slow and I soon abandoned it. When I took to knitting again, one year and a half ago, my grandmother was no longer with us. I know she would have been very happy and proud to find out that I was continuing with the tradition, but sadly I was just too late. My mother and aunts don’t know how to knit. Yeah, they know about knitting and purling, but they are not interested in it so far, so they don’t do it. Therefore I had nobody to learn from or to discuss about it when I started.

Then I joined Ravelry and learned several techniques on YouTube. They were enormous sources of knowledge, and they seemed to give me everything I needed. Around that time I joined the local Stitch ‘n Bitch group. It was based in Brussels, but most of the people there were foreigners and the main spoken language was English. I work in English, and read mostly in English and I talk to my boyfriend also mostly in English, so you could guess that I got pretty used to it. My English is far from perfect but somehow it is the language I feel most comfortably with concerning knitting. I learned the stitches names, read patterns and  talked about my projects always in English. Most of the knitters I know speak English and this blog was meant to be in English because of that. Because I left Belgium but I still want to share my knitting adventures with the first people I knew face to face in this knitting world apart from my granny. And then the Ravelry community is mostly formed by English speakers or at least people who share their thoughts in English.

So when I moved back to Spain it felt kind of weird to start commenting about knitting with the local knitters and the girls at the LYS. I don’t know the names for stitches and patterns, apart from knitting, purling, garther stitch and cables; and also most of those terms in Spanish don’t make a lot of sense to me. Maybe I’m just too lazy to learn those names and I’m just happy with the enormous and vast English speaker community on internet. I tried to make a little effort today and I searched for audio podcasts in Spanish in Ravelry and iTunes, and found nothing. Maybe I didn’t search correctly. I just want to see if I can connect my knitting to my mother tongue and start enjoying it in a different way, but since my grandmother is gone I am not sure if I really need it.

And what about you? What’s your knitting language? Is it the same as your mother tongue?


  1. Yo soy española también, y aprendí a tejer con mi abuela, pero a pesar de todo, me he indo introduciendo en la comunidad tejedora leyendo patrones en inglés, viendo tutoriales en inglés y entrando en Ravelry. Llega un momento que aunque mi lengua materna sea el español, me estallaría la cabeza si tengo que ponerme a traducir cosas como “SSK” o “YO”, me resulta mucho más fácil y rápido decirlo (y pensarlo) en inglés. No somos las únicas, además, los mejores patrones están en inglés.

  2. No sé si los mejores, pero desde luego sí que hay muchísimo más en inglés, pero no sólo sobre punto.

    Y aunque domine el castellano mucho mejor que el inglés, está claro que el inglés es mucho más directo para muchas cosas.

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