Friday, March 25, 2011

Principles of knitting

1. Yarn. Lots and lots and lots of yarn. Not just wool, but bamboo, cotton, soya.

2. Storage for number 1. Clean dry and moth proof. Also child proof and invisible to non knitters who cannot possible understand the need to have so much surplus yarn.

3. Courage to frog if necessary and to try new things.

4. Patience to know that every thing can be undone and that even mistakes teach us something about ourselves or our knitting. Throwing knitting while momentarily satisfying is bound to result in tears.

5. Time awareness. Always remember that time goes twice as fast as soon as you set a deadline so if possible avoid saying when you'll be finished with a project. or knit twice as fast. Giving up eating and sleeping could buy you some extra hours but may have other side effects.

6. Acceptance. If you don't want to spend time swatching then accept that at least some of the time you're going to end up with a garment the wrong size or shape. If you can love the process and accept the result all good.

7. Have fun. Sometimes we forget that we love knitting, especially when the pattern's wrong and we rip it out three times.

8. Gift your knitting to those who will love it. Anyone who is likely to boil your garment might be better off with a good book. One that tells them how to care for woollen garments.

9. Let go of your knitting. Once you have gifted your knitting to someone worthy you are no longer in control of what happens to it. Even if they boil it. See 8 and learn.

10. Be proud of your skill and the result. Wear garments with pride and knit in public because it's not illegal or anti-social. Unless you use your knitting needles to stab the next person who comments 'OH you're knitting" inthe same tone of voice that implies they've just trodden in something unmentionalbe. See 4.

Monday, March 21, 2011

I have been finishing off a few pieces as well as casting on for several new items. What's new there? I think my seasonal clear out, or rather move about of clothing items always unearths one or two items that inspires me to search through my not inconsiderable mountain of stash to recover that vital yarn I just had to have for a so pressing project that somehow didn't seem so pressing once home again.
It was as I was sorting through summer and winter clothes that I noticed I had quite a collection of neutral trousers and skirts, from stone to beige and a variety in between, and my mind began to see sweaters and cardigans that would so complement these existing items. In fact I spent quite some time merrily distracted from sorting looking through patterns.
My first thought was to grab my purse and head out to the local yarn store looking for even more yarn but something niggled away in the back of my mind and I began a full on rummage. I found this.

Well no actually I didn't find that because I had only done the back, and technically I found the yarn first and had put it away again because I knew there wasn't enough for an entire sweater or top. Then several happy hunting hours later I found the back. Then I had to remember where I'd just seen the yarn and then where oh where was the pattern. Luckily for me I did remember the pattern and the magazine it was in. The magazine the pattern was from was bought in 2009 and I am fairly sure I cast on soon after buying the magazine but then lost interest. I have to say there's nothing like an almost done item to make you want to get knitting.

I am very happy with the way it turned out despite me knitting the back and the front on totally different sized needles. It means the front is much tighter and more defined but you can't tell unless you stare at the back and the front simultaneously and there aren't many people capable of that feat so I'm happy.
It was made from soya yarn and has a really delicate drape.

Then I finally got round to putting buttons on my crofter shawl collared waistcoat. I love the striped effect created by crofter and am very happy that even without trying I managed to get the colours to match up on the two side pieces. It's a great fit and I know it will be worn often this autumn and winter, not just because lilacs and purples are my favourite colours but because it looks so smart on.

There are many other pieces on the needles, a baby blanket in white for a work colleague, another two beanies, a skirt, a dress, a rugged jumper for cute neighbour guy who is of course so much more than a neighbour now, a jumper for one of the girls and the last bit of a sock. I only have to turn the heel and then I'll be on the home straight, but it doesn't match any of my clothes so the motivation isn't quite there.
All of this is to be knitted out of stash. My knitting group and I are on a self imposed yarn diet. We have to shed at least 10kg from our stash before buying anymore yarn. We are determined to make a considerable dent in what will still amount to SABLE (Yarn Harlot)Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy. We're doing this selfless act out of consideration for those who will be the executors of our wool wills. We don't want them to die of shock at having the equivalent of two life sentences of knitting passed onto them.
Like all diets it sucks.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Just wanted to share a little piece of beauty amidst the chaos happening in the world. This was the view I was privileged enough to see when I had to get up early to escort the French Ship into port. I was stood on the steps on base looking across to the ferry terminal and was quite upllifted by the sight.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Knitting does of course help, it allows thoughts to be thought and for the pain to be processed. It is soothing and my therapy. The nights and mornings are getting a little cooler though not yet cold and soon the winter will be upon us. Many in Christchurch are still without power and I thought perhaps a simple gesture would be the way to show my depth of feeling for these people I call my own.
It takes four hours and about 110 metres of yarn to whip up a beanie. That seems very little in the grand scheme of things but it is something and so I have begun a beanie binge.
I will knit as many of these as I can over the next few weeks and send them to Christchurch were they will hopefully keep someone warm and remind them people do care.

Plain version

Tasseled version

Friday, March 4, 2011

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Earthquake update

Watching the news makes me feel so helpless. The devastation suffered by Christchurch continues to unfold before our eyes and each passing moment reveals the true horror being faced by people just like me. It seems so hard to carry on our normal everyday lives, it seems somehow wrong to take up a piece of knitting when others are so desperately trying to pick up the pieces of their lives, to reknit the fabric of their being. How can I even contemplate making rows upon rows of stitches when my fellow countrymen are without even the basics.
It will take years for the city too recover and it will never quite be the same again, the people will be changed forever by the experience.
For the rest of the country we can only watch and pray, doing what little we can to ease their pain knowing that it is not enough, that nothing could ever actually be enough.