My least favourite thing to do when knitting, for no reason whatsoever, is kitchener stitch. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it once I start. It’s quick enough and I can do it without thinking too much. Still every time I get to the end of a sock I stare at that ungrafted toe and sigh.
Last time I actually put the last few stitches on some scrap yarn and started the next sock instead. How does this make sense? Now I have to kitchener two toes at the same time. Three, in fact, since I have since knitted another sock – although at least that is worsted and has fewer stitches to do.
I also hate sewing things together but that at least can be avoided by knitting sweaters etc in the round.
I have some wonderful friends. Some of them are vaguely aware that I like things to do with yarn despite me being so quiet and subtle about it (ahem). It was my birthday last month and this lovely hand-made yarn bowl arrived from Spain two days ago.
The lovely person who sent it (my friend Frankie) lives in the UK – we went to university together and bonded over X-Men. So she ordered if from the UK to be sent to Canada from Spain. This is quite the international yarn bowl.
Since this is my first yarn bowl I was excited to use it. Turns out they’re incredibly handy as well as being cute, especially when you have cats who like to lie in awkward positions and get tangled up in the yarn (I’m looking at you, Sean). I am definitely a convert.
These days I have time to browse Pinterest and see what interesting creations people have made. One of my favourite things about it is how people share their experiences and ideas about making knitting/crochet easier.
One such way is Ysolda’s method for counting stitches. The idea of lacing a piece of contrasting yarn through every ten stitches is so simple and yet so efficient. I really struggle with counting rows of stockinette and have no use for row counters when I doubt every time I’ve clicked it so this will be something I’ll be taking up.
There are other kinds of inspiration to be found. I love the idea of mixed media lately and have been thinking about it a lot, including a transatlantic collaboration that’s in its infancy with my good friend Sophie. Some of that is brought about by things I’m seeing on pinterest, like these artists who stitch over photographs. Such a lovely idea.
At the moment I really struggle with the idea of creating things that cannot be useful. It’s one of the reasons I knit so many hats and socks. However, things like this make me realise how effective art can be for its own sake and makes me want to create for no reason at all.
It’s been more than a decade since someone suggested I try out NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. Every year since then I have sat down with my laptop on my knees and poured out a fifty thousand word story from somewhere inside my soul.
The last few years have been different. I have been growing in confidence and though I always win (minus one year), now I really feel as thought I’m writing something with substance. Usually I shut the novel on December 1st without finishing the story and never look at it again, pleased to have written so many words in so little time. I don’t think about the content.
The last two years I have basically written the same story but from scratch each time. This year I’m going to do the same; it’s a story that is itching to get out of me and I am going to have to go to drastic measures to ensure I follow it to its conclusion this time.
Yes, that’s right. I’m going to outline it.
I’m not much of a planner. I pick up projects, knitting included, and don’t think about the consequences. It has given me oceans of false starts but also worked out well on occasion. This year I need to change the way I face it or I will end up writing the same fifty thousand words over and over with no resolution and no chance of it turning into a book rather than a large and ignored Word file.
Writing is a lot like knitting. It is satisfying to watch a project grow, whether written or knitted, stitch by stitch and word by word. Unfortunately I am not great at getting to the equivalent of the cast-off edge in my writing. Somehow I am going to change that this year.
Is anyone else writing a speed novel this November?
Thanks to helping out Martina at The Little Green House I’ve finally been able to increase my stash after quite a few months of languishing. Oh, it feels so good to have new yarn to fondle.
First up I got a bunch of fluffy blue Berroco alpaca yarn that I was going to make into the fabulous Brandywine Shawl. It didn’t work out; the yarn is too fuzzy where I need a nice distinct stitch pattern. So that yarn is waiting to be made into something else instead.
To replace it I got some autumn orange Cascade 220. It works perfectly. I’m near the end of it and it’s looking absolutely gorgeous (if I may say so myself).
I adore this pattern. It’s fun to knit, mostly intuitive, and it looks like the sections are overlapping which makes me extremely happy. It was a pattern I purchased nearly a year ago when I got some extra dosh and I’ve been trying to find the yarn and time for it since then. Here it is!
Since I took that picture on my crappy Blackberry camera I’ve knitted another few inches.
Last up I got a couple of skeins of Cascade Heritage Silk yarns, one in a solid blue and one that’s variegated with a blue that matches up to the first. It’s going to be a pair of socks though as I have two skeins it may well end up being some mittens too. The mitts I made for my partner over a year ago were Heritage Silk and she still wears them all the time. This yarn holds up well. Turns out silk is seriously hardy.
What’s your most recent stash enhancement acquisition?
You might not think that a call-centre environment would be the place to find too much creativity. However, the monotonous work and the fact that your hands are free most of the time (yay headsets!) means that a mini knitting group has flourished at my workplace.
Out of nine people in my department, five people are knitters/crocheters. When we started I used to sit with my knitting happily stitching away and it has spread. There’s something about seeing someone else knit that makes everyone with the ability want to join in and it’s a lot of fun to sit in a group with our needles and hooks in hand, chatting away about our projects.
It’s like a knitting group that’s occasionally interrupted by customers. I’m also getting paid whilst knitting which is not quite like being paid to knit but good enough!
I know whenever I see anyone knitting it makes me want to join in. Scratch that – even seeing some nice knitted object makes me want to knit. Thankfully I’m rarely without a project on hand. I think it’s safe to say I’ve got a chronic case of the knitting bug and it’s infectious (just watch my coworkers!).
Remember those mitts that got an unintentional coffee bath? They are looking good these days. The coffee may have stained but thankfully the colour suits it.
It took three washes in my unscented Soak and most of a day before these mitts smelled anything resembling good. Twelve hours doused in sugary, milky coffee does not lend itself to pleasant odours.
They were a modified version of the Sojourn mitts which is one of my favourite patterns. It’s simple and fun and taught me how to make a nice balanced and even thumb gusset. I finished my first pair in that pattern back in 2011 and still use them all the time.
I didn’t have enough yarn to make the full pattern this time so they’re much smaller and not nearly as pretty. Besides, the yarn I used (Malabrigo Sport in Jupiter, I believe) was too thick and they’re slightly too large for my tiny wrists. I still love these mitts though because they’re perfect for work.
And you can’t even tell they had a coffee bath. Result!
A nerd with needles. // New posts Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday.