By Kate A.
Adapted from and inspired by The Geek
Code [ http://www.geekcode.com/ ], invented
by Robert Hayden in 1993.
The Knitter's Geek Code consists of several
categories, divided under the general headings
of "identity" [what kind of knitter
you are], "materials" [your preferred
tools], "techniques" [what you can
do and what you can't, or won't], and "habits"
[that which makes you you]. Each category
is labeled with an abbreviated name and some
qualifiers. Go through each category and determine
which set of qualifiers best describes you
in that category. When you string together
all of these 'codes' in a block, the result
is your "knitter's geek code," informing
other KnitGeeks the world over exactly what
kind of KnitGeek you really are.
Some of the qualifiers will probably not
match you exactly. It is impossible to cover
all possibilities in each category. Simply
choose that qualifier which most closely matches
you. Also, some activities described in a
specific qualifier you may not engage in,
while you do engage in others. Each description
of each qualifier describes the wide range
of activities that apply, so as long as you
match with one, you can use that qualifier.
You can also qualify your qualifiers with
one or more of the variables listed below.
After you have determined each of your qualifiers
and variables, you need to construct your
KNITTER'S GEEK CODE BLOCK. Instructions are
provided on how to do this at the end of this
variable, said trait is not very rigid,
may change in particular instances or
over time. For example, KnitGeeks who
happen to very much enjoy knitting on
wooden needles but occasionally use aluminum
or plastic ones with certain yarns might
list themselves as Wood++@.
||for indicating "cross-overs"
or ranges. KnitGeeks who go from Stash
to Stash+ depending on the situation (i.e.
mostly "Stash"] could use Stash(+).
'@' is different from '( )' in that the
latter has finite limits within the category,
while '@' ranges all over.
||for 'wannabe' ratings.
Indicating that while the KnitGeek is
currently at one rating, they are striving
to reach another. For example, Ent++>$
indicating a KnitGeek that is currently
entrelac savvy, but wants to someday make
money designing or teaching it.
||Indicates that this
particular category is done for a living.
For example, Aran+++$ indicates that the
person knits and/or designs aran patterns
and gets paid for it. Quite a lucky KnitGeek,
||the ? is placed after
the category identifier and indicates
that the KnitGeek has no knowledge about
that specific category. For example, a
person that has never even heard of Elizabeth
Zimmermann would list themselves as EZ?
||placed BEFORE the category.
Indicates that the person refuses to participate
in this category. This is unlike the '?'
variable as the '?' indicates lack of
knowledge, while the '!' indicates stubborn
refusal to participate. For example, !FI
would be a person that refuses to have
anything to do with Fair Isle because
they've tried it and hated it, while FI?
would be a person who simply doesn't know
what Fair Isle knitting is.
||Indicates some other
choice not listed. Add to categories like
Materials or Alternative Needlework to
indicate an interest in something beyond
what is listed in the code.
K = Knitter
E = English method
C = Continental method
Cm = Combined method
L = Leftie
R = Rightie
K is the first letter of
every Knitter's Geek Code, identifying that
person as a knitter.
The initial 'K' should be followed by 'E'
, 'C', or 'Cm' depending on whether you knit
in the English/American style [holding the
yarn in your right hand and "throwing"
it around the right needle] or in the Continental
style [holding the yarn in your left hand
and "picking" it with the right
needle] or use the Combined method.
Next comes and 'L' or 'R' to indicate whether
you knit primarily the right-handed way taught
in most knitting books, or primarily the left-handed
way [moving the knitted piece from the right-hand
needle to the left-hand needle as you go].
If you knit stockinette stitch right-handed
one way and left-handed the other [to avoid
purling, as suggested by Elizabeth Zimmermann,
among others], put both and 'L' and an 'R'
in [and pat yourself on the back, while you're
Now, add code symbols here to indicate the
extent of your investment in knitting, from
'--' [barely started or have let it lapse]
to '+++' [obsessed, knit every spare moment,
life revolves around knitting], and don't
forget '$' [earn money with my knitting skills]
Exp = Years of Experience
Now, after a space, type 'Exp' followed by
the code symbols to indicate degree, as follows:
|| I learned
how to knit yesterday. But I'm looking
forward to a long future!
||I learned recently.
My stitches are uneven and I seem to gain
and lose them without trying. But I'm
getting good at frogging!
||I'm still a beginner,
but I've finished my first project, and
it ain't too shabby!
||I have been knitting
for a few years now, and consider myself
an intermediate knitter, at least.
||I've been knitting
for more than a decade and feel confident
that I can figure out whatever I need
|| I've been knitting
since I could walk.
SPM = Stitches per minute
|| I'm still
s l o w. I rip things out as often as
I knit them.
||Slow but steady.
||Who has the time to
invest half your life in a sweater?
|| I mostly get gifts
done in time.
||I truck along on bigger
projects, finishing at least a couple
a year, with lots of smaller items in
|| I've won speed contests,
and/or people regularly remark on my flying
fingers. I can finish a DK weight sweater
in two weeks without rushing.
For this category,
name the type of needles you prefer,
followed by + or - signs and variables
to indicate your passion and commitment
to that particular type of needles.
AddiT [Addi Turbos]
Den [Denise Interchangeables]
Boye [Boye Needlemaster]
Feel free specify brand or materials [ebony,
glass, etc]. You can list different kinds
of needles one after another to state your
feelings about each. Example:
|| I knit
for meditation and communion with the
ancient practitioners of the craft, so
I prefer wood or bone needles.
||I've tried them, and
don't like them. They're too slippery,
too expensive, and/or too metallic. I'm
not a professional at this!
||They're great, if you
can afford them. I have a pair or two
in the sizes I use most.
|| I love my Addis, and
have several pairs. I find I really can
knit noticeably faster with them, and
use my bamboo or plastic needles only
for slippery yarns.
||I'm trying to collect
every size and length of these fabulous
needles. I knit a lot, and the investment
in Addis is worth it for added speed and
|| I own every size and
length, and use nothing else. I have won
speed contests, and when I knit in public
my needles fly so fast that bystanders
duck for fear of having an eye taken out.
Like the previous category, for this one you
should list a yarn type, followed by symbols
to indicate the strength and direction of your
preference. You can just list your favorite
type of yarn, or state your feelings about each
Syn [yarns that contain a significant
portion of synthetic fibers]
Nov [novelty yarns like eyelash,
Cot [cotton and cotton blends]
Lux [cashmere, camel, alpaca,
silk, angora, yak, etc.]
Hemp [including organics]
Stash = Yarn Stash
|| I never
own any more yarn than I need for my current
project, and I return any extra skeins
when I'm done. Partial skein leftovers
are given to my cat or Goodwill.
||I try to only buy what
I need right now, and use up extras in
||I have a small backlog
of yarn all earmarked for future projects.
I always buy yarn with some specific use
in mind, but I work on multiple projects
and/or plan ahead.
|| When I spy a terrific
yarn bargain, I'm not about to pass it
up, so I've got a bit of a stash. I sort
through it regularly, and when I start
a new project, it's usually out of my
||I troll my local yarn
stores pretty regularly, and check out
new ones when I travel, so naturally I
pick up some great things when an opportunity
presents itself, and work out what to
do with it later. I get comments from
my loved ones about how, just maybe, I
have more yarn than I need. But I love
the sense of possibility I get from going
through my stash and letting inspiration
|| Everyone at nearby
yarn stores knows me by name, and I'm
a regular on eBay and online yarn shops.
My stash is overflowing into every room
of my house/apartment and my loved ones
have suggested that maybe I have a problem.
When I start a new project, the best part
is going out shopping for more yarn. Sometimes
I'm so busy with SEX [Stash Enrichment
Expeditions] that I don't have time to
Scale = Scale of projects
|| I've never
made anything bigger than a washcloth.
||I'm hooked on scarves
and stoles, with the occasional kerchief.
I'm a little afraid of venturing beyond
|| I'm nervous about
fancy techniques and/or I hate sewing
pieces together, so I avoid sweaters.
I don't have the patience for big things
like afghans, either, so I stick to accessories.
|| Thanks to my day job,
I mostly concentrate on small projects,
but I manage to fit in a sweater a year.
||I mostly focus on sweaters,
with the occasional quickie project in
between. There's only so much time!
|| I deliberately seek
out complicated patterns and long-term
investment in a project.
Fin = Finishing
|| I despise
finishing up, and have several fully knitted
but incomplete sweaters lying around in
pieces to prove it! I know only one cast
on and one bind off and don't see any
need for more just yet, thank you very
||I dread the nit-picky
details of selvedges, special bind-offs,
and sewing up. I try to choose patterns
that avoid these, for fear of never being
able to finish.
|| I hate this part,
but you have to do it. I always try to
keep it simple, and I weave in ends or
sew seams as I go so it isn't so bad at
|| I enjoy giving my
knitting that professional look by matching
increases and decreases, making selvedges,
and choosing cast ons and bind offs carefully.
Montse Stanley's Handbook is my bible.
|| I really enjoy this
part. I find that putting extra effort
and planning into fine dressmaker details
makes a hand-knitted garment something
really special, not to mention giving
it the perfect fit. I know multiple techniques
for every kind of finishing and shaping.
|| I teach and/or invent
complicated finishing techniques. The
fine detailing is what it's all about
for me, and most of my energy when I make
a garment goes into the finishing or shaping.
Catherine Lowe is my idol [or, I am Catherine
Ent = Entrelac
|| Ick! I
don't like the look. It's too complicated
to bother with, anyway.
|| I've tried it, and
you don't even want to see the mess that
resulted! It'll be a long time before
I try that again.
|| It's a neat effect,
used in moderation.
|| It's a fun way to
add variety to my knitting. I've tried
it several times.
|| I love entrelac, and
have been incorporating it into almost
everything I make. It's my latest obsession.
|| I have published designs
using entrelac and/or teach it in seminars.
I'm considered an expert. [Or, I am Vivian
And more options:
FI = fair isle
Int = intarsia
Tex = aran, cable and textured
Lace = lace
Felt = felting/fulling
Flat = Flat knitting [you
Circ = Circular knitting
[you avoid seams]
DPN = Double-pointed needles
[4 or 5]
ML = Magic Loop / Circular
knitting on one or two needles [1 or 2]
Swatch = Do you
embrace or avoid the swatch?
KIP = Knitting in public
Blog = Do you have a weBlog?
SNB = Stitch n Bitch
EZ = Elizabeth Zimmermann
and how much do
FO = Number of finished
WIP = Works in progress
[average number of projects on the needles
at one time]
Gauge = Preferred knitting
F = fingering
S = sport
DK = double knitting
W = worsted
B = bulky
followed immediately by the letter that represents
the gauge[s] you're most comfortable knitting
with. Add + or - to indicate the intensity
of your passion [or lack thereof].
ALT = Alternative
needlework or fiber interests
Followed by the initial[s]
for each relevant interest,
and + or - for extent of interest.
Q = Quilting
X = Cross Stitch
Em = Embroidery
Sw = Sewing
Wv = Weaving
Sp = Spinning
How to Display Your Code
Now that you have your ratings for each of
the above categories, it's time to assemble
your code and display it to the world. Take
each category you determined and list them
all together with one space between each one.
If you run out of space on one line, continue
it on the next. When completed, it will look
something like the following:
-----BEGIN KNITTER'S GEEK CODE BLOCK-----
KCR++ Exp++ SPM+++ Addi+ Wood+ Denise+ Syn Nov(+)Wool++ Lux+++ Hemp++ Stash+(++)
Scale+++ Fin+ Ent? FI++@ Int Aran+@ Lace-@ Felt++ Flat- Circ+++ML2 Swatch+
GaugeDK(W) KIP(+) EZ++(-) FO+ WIP+(++) Blog+ SNB ALTSw+Sp
------END KNITTER'S GEEK CODE BLOCK------
Put this code in your knitting blog description,
on your web site, or on a pin attached to
your knitting bag. And, of course, you could
chart it and knit it into a sweater!
is a graduate student in NYC, and knitting keeps her
sane. Her next project is a big sweater made with
luscious undyed alpaca. Her fiance, a lawyer, is writing
up a lease agreement so that he can maintain possession
of the sweater. If anything goes wrong ownership reverts
to Kate, thus subverting the Boyfriend Sweater Curse.
| The original Geek Code
(and its original copyright notice, and the introductory
material) is copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996
A. Hayden. All rights reserved. The categories and
descriptions for the Knitter's Geek Code (but not several
parts of the introductory material, which is heavily
borrowed and lightly modified from Robert Hayden) is
copyright © 2004 by Katherine M. Pickering. All
remaining rights reserved. You are free to distribute
this code in electronic format provided that the file
remains unmodified and this copyright notice remains
attached. This copyright prohibits HTMLizing the code
for publication on the web. If you wish to publish abstracts
or portions of the code, contact the author for permission, and the author will likely