One person’s knitting history and the best thing hint to pass on

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I was thinking today of all the knitting I have learned to master over the last ‘beep’ years.  I say ‘beep’ because when I add up all the years of knitting I sound much older than the years I actually am in my head!  My first memory of holding my own knitting sticks must have been when I was less than five years old, sitting with my mum, clicking a pair of yellow plastic stemmed knitting needles together the same way my mum seemed to be doing.  I really thought I was knitting as I was making the same noise, albeit without any yarn but I don’t remember being disappointed that I had nothing to show for it.  Today I rediscovered those yellow plastic knitting needles! The first true memory of knitting something recognizable was when I was in the second year infants, Year 2 to today’s kids, when Mrs Ralph (I remember she was a very rotund, mumsy teacher!) helped us to knit our own garter stitch teddy bear.  I wish I still had him to giggle at!  So you could say I started very young but I didn’t knit continuously. In my early teens it became quite fashionable to knit with one huge needle and one standard size with mohair mix yarns.  My best friend and I could knit a short jumper over a weekend.  We thought we were the bees knees creating marvellous lacy tops in fluffy multicolours.  Then as the mid 1980′s arrived knitting took a nose dive and our eagerness with it did. We discovered boys and discos!

That pause in knitting lasted for about 15 years, resurrecting when friends starting producing offspring and I could knock out fairly simple first size cardigans and impress them with baby gifts.  Then when I had my own son I enjoyed showing him off in handknits made by my mum, my Nan and by myself and knitting really came into it’s own again in our house. My husband wasn’t impressed with his son in cardigans, but he got over it once he heard others coo-ing our boy in his beautiful outfits and them telling him he was so lucky to have a talented wife! 

I have never knitted as much as I have for the last five years.  I knit almost every day.  I have too many projects to own up to and keep telling myself to finish one item before I start another.  There is a lot of temptation out there to start something new and sometimes the yarn just leaps out of the shop or out of the webpage and says ‘please buy me’.  Patterns, that’s another thing, I have to have a selection to choose from, don’t I?  That’s what I keep telling myself when I accidently buy another pattern book.  I know I shall never do every item in every book, or indeed every item on every single pattern, but a lady likes choice.

I’ve been lucky enough to have worked in a knitting store too.  That was fun!  Wow, put a knitter in a knitting store – it’s like an alcoholic working in an off licence!  Much of my stash has been from that era.  I will use it all up one day, maybe, or maybe not …….  Watch this space.

www.deramores.com/blog-awards: This blog entry is my submission to the Deramores Blog Awards 2014. Deramores is the UK’s number one online retailer of knitting and crochet supplies.

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Knitting Disappointment But Onwards and Upwards

How come the last couple of things I have knitted haven’t turned out quite the way I’d hoped they would? What’s going on?  I am trying to put it down to experience and learn from it but it is soooo annoying and I groan about the amount of hours put into something I just don’t like.  I don’t think any knitter or crafter has always loved every item they’ve ever made.  I think it’s all part of the learning process, but at this rate I will still be ‘learning’ when I am 94. 

My newly finished aran weight top just doesn’t look right on me. I’ve tried it with different clothes/layers/colours.  I’ve held the shawl collar up at different angles to see if I could wear it as a crossover front top.  I’ve even wondered about adding another rib to the waistline.  I don’t think anything will work – so I’ve ‘hid’ it in a cupboard until I can decide what to do with it!  I can’t bear to undo the whole garment and might even gift it to someone just to be rid of it.  There is nothing wrong with it, per se, it’s just not ‘my’ style and it doesn’t fit ‘my’ shape.  My second item, again newly finished, is a simple baby cardigan.  I gave myself a non challenging knit to do as I watched the tv – completely in garter stitch which I haven’t tackled in years.  Now I know why!  Every slight wiggle in tension shows up, my picking up stitches for the neckband looks gappy, the sewing up could have been neater for the raglan seams!  All in all, I really don’t think its up to my usual standard.  I have thought of decorating along the neck border, perhaps with some kind of flowery stitch, as if it’s supposed to be there.  Not sure if that will work, so it is joining the aran top in the cupboard …..

Needless to say, I’ve been cautious about starting something new for a week or so.  It is really difficult when I am surrounded by such yummy yarns and the season is changing to Spring.  I start thinking about new things and chucking out the old (in my case this means putting away any winter WIPs and panicking that I haven’t begun any summer projects!).  I go into my spare room, view my stash, I visit a friend in a wool shop, I belong to a knitting forum , you could say I live in a rather woolly world.  There is a lot of inspiration out there, I admire so many peoples skills, and I itch to begin a new project which I am sure WILL work out.  So, latest new project began yesterday.  It’s a petrol blue mercerised cotton shrug, for me.  If I get to wear it this summer I will be happy, yet as it’s a little lacy and each row takes a little longer than my usual chosen style of knitting, if it doesn’t make it as a finished garment until next summer that will be ok too.  After all, this knitting lark is supposed to be fun, isn’t it?

 

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Purples are done…yes!

Originally posted on The Sheepwalk Fiber Arts Studio:
Note: That I spent the afternoon winding skeins but have not yet named most the purples. [gallery type="circle" ids="328,330,331,332,333,334,335,336,337,329"]

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I fancied a bit of sewing time

Imageng, I have a stash of fabric as well as a stash of yarn. I’ve always dabbled with making things. Watching the Great British Sewing Bee recently has really spurred me on to get the sewing machine out again. The programme’s participants skill and knowledge astound me but I also love that they get it ‘wrong’ sometimes too.  It is so real!  I wouldn’t say sewing comes to me as easily as knitting does but I learn more techniques as I make different things. Perhaps other people make things quicker but I am enjoying what I am doing and that’s important to me.  If I look back at some of my ‘disasters’ I can still laugh at myself !  I remember a cotton summer top I made about 4 years ago. It was always too long and didn’t fit properly as the facing was too stiff.  It lived in a drawer for a whole year, then the next summer I jiggled with it and loved wearing it so much that the colour faded and it look quite jaded by the end of just one season.

My mother was a dressmaker when I was a very little girl.  When us children went to bed mum would sew for her customers. I guess we just got in the way and we lived in a little house so there wasn’t much space for cutting out when we were up and about. She was very skilled and passed on a little knowledge to me, though I don’t think I was really interested at the time.  Oh, what I would give to have her here now. It now seems a shame to have lived my teens through the 1980′s when it was more ‘fashionable’ to buy cheap foreign imports and not make my own garments.  I have memories of my mum fingering ready made clothes, saying ‘look at that price, you could make it for a lot less!’, whilst I grimaced and dreamed of owning something not homemade!  I hated my homemade school uniform in particular, but I think I got off lightly compared to my sister who definitely had more than me.

So, here’s just a little pic showing things I made this week. I am on a bit of a pincushion frenzy! 

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Knitted Wristies

wristies

I just thought I’d pop a little knitting pattern on here.  These wristies were a little project from 2013 – I made several pairs for myself, a good friend and my sister in law.  I feel the cold a lot – so I love to keep my hands toastie, especially when driving and gloves with fingers get in the way. My good friend Jess was working at a primary school and needed a pair to keep her hands warm during winter playground duty, so gratefully received her pair.  And my sis in law commutes to London by train – BR trains aren’t always warm so gloves/wristies can be absolute necessity on board some days.  All in all fairly quick projects, gratefully received. 

 

The wristies have a scallop 4 row pattern, are knitted on straight needles , then sewn together with buttons for show only and a hole for your thumb to pop through.  I used a British 100% pure wool – Woolyknit Diggle DK.  These are very warm and cosy, practical for keeping your arm warm without compromising grip when your fingertips are needed.

 

Materials:  50g/122m Double knit yarn – I used Woolyknit Diggle DK, Pair of 4mm knitting needles,  10 small buttons,   Sewing Up Needle

                                               

 

Abbreviations/Special Notes:

K= knit

P = purl

K2tog = knit two stitches together

YO = bring yarn over before working next stitch (towards the knitter, not away from her/him)

St = stitches

 

Left Hand

** Break off 1m of yarn and keep it safe for future use. You will need this when making thumb hole halfway through wristie.

Working from the main ball of yarn, using appropriate needle size to yarn gauge, cast on 52 st

 

Pattern :

Row 1: Knit

Row 2: Purl

Row 3: K2, *(K2tog,) x 2, (yo, k1) x 4), (k2tog) x 2; repeat from * to last 2 sts, k2

Row 4: Knit

 

Work 27 rows of pattern  finishing on a Row 3.  **

Now you make the hole for the thumb.  Knit 6st.  Cast off 9 sts . Knit to end.

Next Row: Knit to cast off stitches. Using spare yarn (first instruction for each Wristie!), cast on and knit 9 sts. Knit to end of row.

 

Continue as before in pattern, starting with a Row 2. Work 27 rows of pattern for double knit, ending on a Row 4.

Work 6 rows in knit stitch only.  Cast off loosely.

 

 

Right Hand

** Break off 1m of of yarn and keep it safe for future use .  You will need this when making thumb hole halfway through wristie.

Working from the main ball of yarn, cast on 52 st

 

Pattern :

Row 1: Knit

Row 2: Purl

Row 3: K2, *(K2tog,) x 2, (yo, k1) x 4), (k2tog) x 2; repeat from * to last 2 sts, k2

Row 4: Knit

 

Work 27 rows of pattern finishing on a Row 3.  **

 

Now thumbhole row.  Knit to last 15st. Cast off Cast off 9 sts. Knit to end (6 st.)

 

Next row: Knit to cast off stitches. Using spare yarn (first instruction for each Wristie!), cast on and knit 9 sts .  Knit to end of row.

 

Continue as before in pattern, starting with a Row 2. Work 27 rows of pattern, ending on a Row 4.

Work 6 rows in knit stitch only.  Cast off loosely.

 

Finishing your wristies

Fold each wristie into a ‘tube’ (imagine it on your arm/hand), cast on edge overlaps cast off edge (the 6 rows of knit only are on the underside).  Pin to help you mark button positions. Sew a button on each scallop through both layers to hold the wristie together.   5 buttons per wristie.

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ImageI had to cease knitting of the green top temporarily having discovered what looked like an error on the pattern.  Grumble, grumps, darn, etc …..  However, I emailed the pattern publisher, who came back to me very quickly and I’ve now been reassured it’s not an error and it will work out if I just keep on knitting.  My knowledge of garment structure is being tested and I hope to enjoy a new experience here, revealing the finished garment soon(ish). Today it’s time to get back to ‘the green’ project (I decided to give it a name, it means it differentiates what knitting bag I pick up when I move from knitting venue to knitting venue).  That’s an hour planned to myself in the car this afternoon whilst waiting for my son at his tutor’s house.

So, having had a little break from ‘the green project’ this week what jumped upon new needles was a ‘baby pink project’, photo here.  This was supposed to be a very simple quick knit, which it is, but it has made me review how neat my garter stitch only style is (or isn’t).  I am hoping with completion and blocking I shall be more impressed with it than I am now.  I have not made anything solely garter for a long time. It was reminiscent of early knitting and the yellow teddy I made when I was 7 years old.  I hope my style has got a lot better since then. Oh how I wish I had kept that first knitting project. If only we knew which things would seem important in years to come.  I don’t even have a photo of it. 

Apart from the knitting, life is incredibly busy, although I did pop a lovely relaxing book club meeting in to my schedule last night.  It was great to meet up with the other members, chat about books and other stuff.  I think the one male member of our group was very patient when we set off at a tangent briefly (he may say not so briefly!) and talked about knitting and sewing, bless him, we did steer back round to things we all have in common eventually.

Work, well for me, yesterday was the penultimate day there.  Friday is my last session.  Getting slightly concerned now about the future, but pleased the month is almost over.  I feel I need to plan my time properly, and need time in which to do the planning!  Anyone else feel like that?  

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Creating in wool ….

ImageI’m just back from a 4 day break in France.  OOh all that lovely time to knit.  I knit in the car (3 hours on the French roads each way, so glad hubby’s happy to drive!), I knit in our house in front of the fire, I knit on the sofa with the sun streaming through the window whilst my menfolk play football in the garden.  The intention was to actually finish a smallish top by the end of next week – to show off a particular yarn I admire – and to hopefully get a few wears of it before the warmer weather comes along.  It’s a variety of green shades with a sparkly silver thread runny through. I think I’ll get more than a few wears of it this winter/spring – I usually wear woolies right through to May and it’s only February.  Mind you, we’ve had the most glorious sunshine for two whole days – I even went out for a long walk yesterday to make the most of it. Everyone else out and about seemed smiley too so I don’t think I was the only one enjoying the weather.

So piccy is of the top mentioned, my latest WIP, although I have to admit and incy wincy baby top has been started too …… Hope to finish both by end of next week!

Happy knitting to you all.

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