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Bestitched: The Modern Witch's™ Knitting Companion

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Introduction

Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of knitting!

Magic has been involved in knitting since the very beginning; the oldest known knitted garments have preservation charms on them to prevent wear as well as cooling charms - a must for the Egyptian heat! Even today, the Statute of Secrecy allows a wide variety of charms on yarn and garments that, while not requiring much magical strength or being easily noticed, are a real lifesaver.

For those of us unwilling to stop at simple charms and potions, it's a wonderful time in history. From Harfang White's beautiful moving cables to Weatherwax Wool Co.'s latest round of self-spotting and color-shifting yarns, magical techniques and products are better and more common than ever before. In addition, with wand trees finally having reached their pre-war population, Green Grove is increasing their production of wand wood needles, the original and easiest way to knit autonomously. And, with innovators like Idris Sykes and Meg Jones making muggle techniques and supplies mainstream, a savvy witch can get the best of both worlds.

In addition to the classic features of Bestitched's Pattern Books such as a massive supply of patterns and moving diagrams, Bestitched: The Modern Witch's™ Knitting Companion offers a community aspect formerly only found through local circles or long-distance magazines. We now have a user-submitted Community Pattern Index that includes commenting, rating, and photo-sharing options in addition to our professional Pattern Database. Discussion goes beyond patterns and techniques in our new Community section, which will feature new articles each month, lists of upcoming social and charity events, and a new "friend" feature.

To use this book, simply write in ink or tap your wand where requested; magic will do all the rest.

Happy knitting!

***

Table of Contents

Patterns

Bestitched Pattern Database: P1
Our Professionally-created patterns, including previous Patterns of the Month from Bestitched: The Modern Witch's™ Knitting Magazine

Community Pattern Index : P2-P7
A Constantly expanding collection of patterns created by and for people like you.

-My Settings - P2
-Daily Features - P3
-Popular Patterns - P4
-Suggested for You - P5
Note: Based on your previous search and pattern history. Can be turned off in My Settings.
-Search Option - P6
-My Designs - P7

Personal Patterns: P8- (Expands as Needed)

Community

My Profile - C1

What's New - C2
by: Freida Goode

For Good (Charity Events) - C3
by: Glenda Adams

Articles of the Month: C4-C6

-Autonomous Knitting: Helpful or Heartless? - C4
by: Freida Goode, featuring: Molly Weasley and Miranda Hopkins

-Carrying Over - C5
Excerpt from Lives in Stiches by Idris Sykes and Meg Jones - Presales going on now

-Spotlight: Knitting in Wartime - C6
by: Morwen McAllister

Former Articles of the Month - C7

Discussion Forums - C8- (Expands If Needed)

Reference Section

How To: R1-R10
Tap once on diagrams to see animation.

-Tools of the Trade - R1
-Knitting and Purling - R2
-Increases - R3
-Decreases - R4
-Cables - R5
-Colorwork - R6
-Knitting in the Round - R7
-Specialized Techniques - R8
-Oops… Dealing With Mistakes Big and Small - R9
-Making and Publishing Your Own Patterns - R10
-List of Common Abbreviations - R11

Magical Knitting: R12-R15

-Knitting Autonomously - R12
Note: Not advisable without an O.W.L. in Charms.
-Moving Cables - R13
Note: requires an Outstanding O.W.L. level in Charms for the basics and a N.E.W.T. level for the more complex versions.
-Maintaining Secrecy - R14
-Self-Updating List of ICW-Permitted Charms - R15
Note: Some countries have stricter guidelines for enchanting garments. Check your Muggle Interaction Guidelines for details.

***

Autonomous Knitting: Helpful or Heartless?

Background

Autonomous knitting was invented in medieval times by Genevieve Ollivander, the wife of famed wandmaker Geraint Ollivander. Genevieve had recently broken one of her knitting needles and, due to that, needed a new set. As a woodcarver on par with her husband (some have speculated that Genevieve, not Geraint, was really the mastermind behind the rise of Ollivanders as a major wand retailer), she of course set out to make them herself. She used some branches of wand wood Geraint had set aside because they were too thin to safely place cores into, and, much to her surprise, the needles crafted thusly soon moved themselves.

The practice of autonomous knitting initially spread slowly for several reasons. A major one was the scarcity of the necessary materials. A series of experiments by Genevieve revealed that the reason her needles were animated was the innate magic in the wand wood the needles were crafted from. (This property was also used to permanently animate the first automated toys.)  Since wand wood was very expensive at the time, this application was available only for the wealthy, who could afford wand wood besides what was needed for their wands, and wandmakers like Genevieve herself, who had access to relatively large amounts of wand wood. In addition, rampant witch hunts made knitting by magic a dangerous proposition.

As witch hunts declined and the forests of the Americas greatly increased the wand wood supply, the availability of autonomous needles increased. However, this also raised a question no one has been fully able to answer: Is autonomous knitting a simple timesaver or a removal of all heart from knitted projects?

Helpful

Autonomous knitting acts as both a handy timesaver around the house and a training exercise for wandless magic. The main reason wandless magic is so difficult is not the increase in power necessary (most witches and wizards have the necessary magical power) but the increase in focus needed to successfully complete a task. Since autonomous needles are still imbued with some magic and the task being done is small (if precise - mishaps in gauge are nearly unavoidable as a novice), autonomous knitting is easier than many minor spells such as levitation or the color-changing charm.

For the stay-at-home witch, autonomous knitting greatly speeds up large sections of stockinette stitch, garter stitch, seed stitch, ribbing, and even basic lace because the minimal amount of focus needed means that an experienced witch can do other mostly mindless chores (laundry, dishes, etc.) while her needles are knitting. While not reducing the overall amount of time spent knitting a garment, this ability to multitask allows more time to knit per day, which speeds up the process in the long run.

Molly Weasley, mother of seven and noted Order of the Phoenix member, thinks this ability doesn't decrease the amount of heart put into the garment. "You always knit with love, of course, but you can cast spells with love, too," said Mrs. Weasley when asked for her opinion on this subject. "People don't care how many hours you spent knitting them a sweater; they're happy because you cared enough to make something for them."

Heartless

Others beg to differ. Miranda Hopkins, a spokeswitch for the British Organization of Witches (B.O.W.), feels that autonomous knitting lessens the value of the craft. "Autonomous knitting may be faster, but it the lack of care shows," Hopkins told us. "The most important part of any crafting project is the effort put into it, and trading effort for speed is lazy and, quite frankly, rude. Our ancestors found time to do things the good way; modern witches should do the same."

What's your opinion? Comment below.

betwixtandbetween says: Our ancestors also died young and thought that the only people deserving rights were pureblooded, male humans; I couldn't care less about their opinions on this subject. Juggling work, family life, and a hobby I enjoy is far easier because I can multitask while doing chores, so I'm not giving up that ability. Autonomous knitting all the way!
  HumphreyPatton says: If balancing your life and work is so hard maybe you should stay at home like a proper lady!!!
     betwixtandbetween says: Someone's stuck in the wrong century.
     magickarp says: If minding your own business is so hard, maybe you should stay out of the comments section. (frozen)
        HumphreyPatton says: U cant just handle the truth. (frozen)
           magickarp says: I'm not the one who needs to go back to grammar school. (frozen)
              HumphreyPatton says: The first thing Grindlewalled did was surpress his enemies. Your in good company. (frozen)
                 ModEdith says: Isn't it a bit early to start Macdonalding? You two are frozen.

HereComesTheKeith says: I think that people should still practice knitting by hand whenever possible because knitting autonomously discourages more complicated patterns. Doing shaping, short rows, and cables can be simple when done by hand but is often almost impossible when done autonomously.

MorwenV says: My only complaint about autonomous knitting is the price of autonomous needles; a decent set costs at least 50 galleons!

AnneOdgen says: If one is proficient enough at autonomous knitting, it looks no different than knitting done by hand. "Heart" doesn't factor into the finished appearance.
  HereComesTheKeith says: I'd say that effort does show in the finished appearance. However, it's not in the look of the garment per se but in how well it is suited to its recipient. If I make my granddaughter a sweater, she won't care if it was done by hand or autonomously; she'll care that it fits just right and is done in her favorite shade of purple.
     AnneOgden says: You do have a point there. (Your granddaughter sounds lovely, btw.)
       HereComesTheKeith says: (She is.)