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Adapted from and inspired by The Geek Code [ ], 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 file.


@ for 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, for sure.
? 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 at it!]

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:

Exp--     I learned how to knit yesterday. But I'm looking forward to a long future!
Exp-      I learned recently. My stitches are uneven and I seem to gain and lose them without trying. But I'm getting good at frogging!
Exp    I'm still a beginner, but I've finished my first project, and it ain't too shabby!
Exp+   I have been knitting for a few years now, and consider myself an intermediate knitter, at least.
Exp++   I've been knitting for more than a decade and feel confident that I can figure out whatever I need to.
Exp+++ I've been knitting since I could walk.

SPM = Stitches per minute

SPM--     I'm still s l o w. I rip things out as often as I knit them.
SPM-    Slow but steady.
SPM    Who has the time to invest half your life in a sweater?
SPM+   I mostly get gifts done in time.
SPM++   I truck along on bigger projects, finishing at least a couple a year, with lots of smaller items in between.
SPM+++  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.

Types include:
Bam [bamboo]
Pl [plastic]
Cas [casein]
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:
Addi- - I knit for meditation and communion with the ancient practitioners of the craft, so I prefer wood or bone needles.
Addi- 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!
Addi   They're great, if you can afford them. I have a pair or two in the sizes I use most.
Addi+    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.
Addi++      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 comfort.
Addi+++    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 kind.

Possibilities include:
Syn [yarns that contain a significant portion of synthetic fibers]
Nov [novelty yarns like eyelash, railroad, metallic]
Cot [cotton and cotton blends]
Wool [baa]
Lux [cashmere, camel, alpaca, silk, angora, yak, etc.]
Hemp [including organics]

Stash = Yarn Stash

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.
Stash-   I try to only buy what I need right now, and use up extras in small projects.
Stash     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.
Stash+  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 stash yarn.
Stash++    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 happen.
Stash+++   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 knit.


Scale = Scale of projects

Scale--   I've never made anything bigger than a washcloth.
Scale-   I'm hooked on scarves and stoles, with the occasional kerchief. I'm a little afraid of venturing beyond the rectangle.
Scale      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.
Scale+ Thanks to my day job, I mostly concentrate on small projects, but I manage to fit in a sweater a year.
Scale++     I mostly focus on sweaters, with the occasional quickie project in between. There's only so much time!
Scale+++    I deliberately seek out complicated patterns and long-term investment in a project.

Fin = Finishing

Fin--  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 much!
Fin-    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.
Fin     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 the end.
Fin+ 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.
Fin++   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.
Fin+++    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 Lowe].

Ent = Entrelac

Ent--  Ick! I don't like the look. It's too complicated to bother with, anyway.
Ent-   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.
Ent       It's a neat effect, used in moderation.
Ent+   It's a fun way to add variety to my knitting. I've tried it several times.
Ent++   I love entrelac, and have been incorporating it into almost everything I make. It's my latest obsession.
Ent+++     I have published designs using entrelac and/or teach it in seminars. I'm considered an expert. [Or, I am Vivian Høxbro]

And more options
FI = fair isle
Int = intarsia
Tex = aran, cable and textured stitches
Lace = lace
Felt = felting/fulling

Do you or don't you?

Flat = Flat knitting [you do seams]
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 worship quotient

and how much do you do?

FO = Number of finished objects
WIP = Works in progress [average number of projects on the needles at one time]

Gauge = Preferred knitting gauge

F = fingering
S = sport
DK = double knitting
W = worsted
B = bulky
Add 'Gauge', 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.

Cr = Crochet
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:

  Version: 1.1
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

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!



Kate 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. Phew.