The thing about knitting on small needles is that it takes a long time.
I hope to rectify this - which some government body or other would no doubt identify as a "skills-gap" - in September when I go to the iKnit show because I have booked a place on Annie Modesitt's workshop on Combination Knitting. This technique is reportedly faster than my normal everyday "throwing" style, so maybe my sock production rate will improve somewhat.
The instructions on how to do it are in the sidebar of her website - which slightly begs the question, why do I need to go to the workshop? But hey, this is what I do for fun, so why not?
It has to be said that slow knitting doesn't really trouble me. I start a project and I keep going until it's finished. I confess that some things - like the Bloke Sweater - are V E R Y S L O W.
There is a lot of discussion about the differences between those who cast on for multiple projects and have them all running simultaneously, and those who are the Knitting Antithesis of this, who cast on for one project and keep knitting it until they are finished. Only then do they cast on for the next thing.
I do find myself asking why it actually matters?
In other spheres there are those of us who finish a meal and immediately get up to clear the table, wash the dishes (or load them into the dishwasher), and wipe down all the kitchen work surfaces. When it's all done they feel able to relax and sit on the sofa with a nice cup of tea. Others get up from the table, gravitate to the sofa, chat, make cups of tea, even (horrors) enjoy looking at the empty plates and wine bottles from a distance as the embodiment of a good meal in great company... and they get to the dishes eventually when they feel like it.
Really, as long as the first group are happy to just get on with it, and the second group don't mind the occasional pot which needs more-scrubbing-than-it-would-have-needed-if-it-has-been-soaked-immediately, then why should anyone be troubled?
I can see why knitting straight from the skein could give some knitters the Heebie Jeebies. It does go against the grain of everything we have ever been taught, and even with tradition, for goodness sake. The ritual of ball winding is firmly ingrained in our knitting history.
How many of us as children were asked/required to sit with hands outstretched and skein held taught while an Older Knitting Relative wound a ball (or five) of yarn? When the children got old enough to object and find more interesting things to do, like Homework Assignments and Emergency Bedroom Tidying, husbands were pressed into service with varying levels of success.
I realise that this puts me in the category of those who can cook a five course meal while wearing her best ballgown and tiara, and then cleans the kitchen by twitching her nose...
...but I rather like it.