The Uses of Knitting

Knitting doesn’t always need to be pragmatic. We love a good soft toy shaped like a hobbit or a keyring shaped like a cat butt. Oh, and all those lacy shawls. The majority of my life was spent not knowing shawls made it out of the Nineteenth Century alive so I’m fairly certain we could do without those if pushed. Part of the joy of knitting in modern times is that we can indulge these faintly ridiculous urges to create superfluous things and it’s a part I love.

Sometimes, however… sometimes you just want to make something simple and useful.

On that note I knitted a couple of dishcloths last week as a way to avoid knitting my socks, despite the fact I am greatly enjoying my socks. Logic! It’s fine though because after a brief fling with this dishcloth cotton the alpaca blend sock yarn in the ugly colourway has squirmed its way back into my Moomin bag to be hauled around with me as much as possible.

Anyway. Dishcloths.

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You see that big dollop of something on one? That is a sign of a well-used object. Well, it’s the sign of an alien invasion at best since I have no idea what we were eating that could cling to a dishcloth so tightly it survives a hot wash in the communal laundry room, but there you go. These dishcloths are happy knitting. They are knitting with purpose. They are also a very cheerful colour and satisfyingly crunchy.

God, I love cotton.

Also, assuming I’m not the only knitter who is late to the podcast party, I thought I would say a bit more about my recent fixation. Knitting podcasts are totally useful and a brilliant idea. Reading whilst knitting is possible but not easy so being able to listen to the audible version of a blog post is a perfect way to sit and spend some quality time on your current WIP.

There are times when you cannot knit, shocking as it may sound. It’s completely impossible to knit with an in-training dog’s leash in one hand, so knitting podcasts can feel like you’re indulging your fibre craft hobby (read: obsession) when actually you’re walking down a path that smells slightly of sun-baked dog poo.

Never Not Knitting is sweet enough and I enjoyed the gentle tones. It was just the thing for an evening walk and the theme tune is funny. However I’m going to try a few older ones because the newer seem to be primarily advertising patterns with the only real content being stories from other people so I’ll check out if that’s true further back too.

The Knitmore Girls is a mother and daughter chatting about knitting. These two fabulous ladies are the ones who made me realise just how interesting and fun a knitting podcast could be. They’re charming and clearly talented. I just love their passion that bleeds all the way through their discussions. I’ll be listening to more of them. Thankfully there are extensive archives!

And since I made my way out of the knitting podcast world and got totally sucked in, there’s one more podcast I should mention as my ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE.

Welcome to Night Vale. Stay away from the dog park.

On a more charitable non-knitting note my friend Ruth linked to this wonderful fundraiser. Now thanks to a mix up at work I have 48 cents left in my account so I’m not much use at the moment but if you want to fund an interesting and innovative way to detect malaria, click on through and check it out.

Thursday Follow

This week has been slow on the knitting front so instead of WIPs I’ll share a couple of my favourite fellow knitting bloggers.

First up there’s Peacefully Knitting, one of two bloggers I enjoy enough to always read their new posts as they arrive in my email inbox no matter where I am at the time. Tina posts beautiful pictures (she’s into Zentangling right now which is fun) and always seems to have something interesting to say.

She’s one of those knitters that inspires me to keep going and get better since her knitting is absolutely gorgeous. Look at her most recent creation here which is simple yet stunning.

The second I’m sharing today is Knit the Hell Out, another seriously talented knitter who always inspires me. I read her posts with excitement every time to see what gorgeous creations she’s going to show off today. Cassy is one of those interesting and varied people who grabs your attention, just what you need in a blogger!

Have a gander at this adorable top she knitted recently. Absolutely lovely.

I’m very lucky to be in a community of people with some very talented individuals. All you have to do is take a look at all the skilled knitters who blog and there’s inspiration right there!

In Which I Discover Podcasts

There are some excellent things that I manage to ignore for years for no good reason. I didn’t discover Dexter until it was already one season from ending, for example, and Buffy already had a little sister by the time I started watching.

My point is that I’m not always the fastest to jump on certain bandwagons and that would be why I have only uncovered the exciting world of knitting podcasts this week. Moving back to Canada now involves frequent walks with our very friendly Golden Retriever whose name is Van after the band Vandaveer.

This is the beast in question.

This is the beast in question.

We – meaning the dog and I – trek out after I finish work every day and wander down the creekside. Now, I like walking. I used to walk two and a half miles to work every day and loved it. Recently Dog and I walked a seven mile round trip purely because it was a nice day and this is Ontario in summer. There are many, many nice days.

The reason I mention this is that there is an exception to my rule. I really hate walking after work. Especially with it being my first week in a not too amazing job. It makes me want to go home and curl up and possibly sleep for a while, not go on a long walk with an excited canine.

Podcasts were the cure.

A thread on Ravelry (LSG in fact which stands for Lazy, Stupid and Godless so post stalk at your own risk) made me want to try podcasts again after failed attempts at finding any good ones a few years ago. Turns out there are many.

First I listened to the Knitmore Girls. They’re a mother/daughter duo who are very cute and interesting. I listened to a few of them last week as well as one Subway Knits and a few Never Not Knitting ones. I have to say that so far Knitmore Girls is my favourite. And I have plenty of back-editions to listen to on my walks!

Now I’m still in the beginning stages of this obsession so I can’t go into much more depth than this. I’ll post in more depth about them at a later date.

What podcasts do you listen to? Seriously, tell me! I want more ear-related fun for my dog walks!

Thursday WIPs (Part 2)

This week has been intense. Starting a new job is always a stretch for the mind so I have spent most of my free time trying to chillax enough to manage the next day. It’s not a difficult position but it’s a lot of information to take in all at once.

All that means is that I haven’t had nearly as much time to knit as I would like.

Still, I’ve been inspired by talking about knitting with the people I work with who are all totally fascinated that two of us (my friend Ashley is a knitter) both knit and crochet when it’s clearly a thing only the Olds do. I brought in my sock to prove them wrong today.

WIPs

 

These are my projects right now.

1. The sock is going well – I’ve just successfully turned the heel. I’ve been writing the pattern out as I go but didn’t write instructions for the gusset so I’ll have to do that on my next sock. I hate how the yarn is playing out on the sole but since the stitch pattern would be uncomfortable underneath I’m just not looking too hard at it.

2. I bought some cotton from The Little Green House which was my first ever LYS and now will be once more. I’m knitting some dishcloths in moss stitch despite hating knitting moss stitch because logic! *jazz hands* Still, moss stitch is pretty once it’s done I suppose.

Hopefully next week I’ll have at least one of the socks done. I don’t work the weekend at the moment – although I have enough plans that it won’t make much difference in the long run. 

A dishcloth or two should be manageable at least.

What’s on your needles/hook this week?

A Late Post! Socks etc

Yesterday I started my new job. All that training apparently got to me since when I finally made it home I ended up falling asleep on the sofa whilst listening to Gregory and the Hawk‘s original demo album and after a nap I am useless.

In other words… I forgot to write a blog entry. Sorry! I am doing my best to stick to a posting schedule which is actually really difficult for me. Hopefully this is a minor glitch in the system.

Tomorrow is my girlfriend’s birthday. She has developed a startling tendency to wear pink a LOT. Thankfully she also looks really good in it so I have knitted her some socks to go with the general attire.

Knittings, cats, walk 008

The yarn is Lang Jawoll, that fancy stuff with the little spool of thread tucked away in the inside to reinforce the heel and toe. I had to rip one of them back – the first one – since I made it too big and she has tiny feet. Hopefully these will be a good fit. They fit me but uncomfortably tight which is a good sign.

As for the pattern, anyone on Ravelry is likely to recognise that one. It’s the gloriously simple yet beautiful Hermione’s Everyday Socks by Erica Lueder. This pattern is perfect for when you want to watch some TV or talk while you’re knitting since it requires minimal thought and is lovely and intuitive. The only thing I changed is the cuff because I don’t like the look of 1×1 ribbing. I made 2×2 instead. I like how bold it looks.

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These are not socks I would wear myself. Usually I don’t even like knitting with pink. Of course anyone who read my recent post will know why I made these. There were some really interesting comments on that – weirdly they didn’t get emailed to me to approve so they all went up a few days late, sorry about that! I was really interested in what everyone had to say.

That’s one of the great things about the knitting world. All you sparkly interesting knitters/crocheters/spinners out there with unique thoughts on topics!

Thursday WIP

The last few weeks have given me a chance to be a lady of leisure. I have got a job now but I don’t start until Monday so I’ve been taking the chance to knit as much as possible.

I’m one of those knitters who needs to be watching something while they knit. As a result I’ve managed to watch in the last three weeks (just in knitting time, not including movie visits):

  • All of Wonderfalls. I love Caroline Dhavernas.
  • The recent remake of Carrie. It didn’t suck.
  • The Little Mermaid!
  • Three eps (and counting) of True Detective.
  • Jaws which apparently I’d never seen.
  • Children of Men which I’ve seen many times and love.

Lately I’ve finished a pair of pink socks that I’ll be posting about on Monday, but since then I’ve started knitting a new pair from some alpaca sock yarn given to me in a swap. I wasn’t sure how to manage the colours since I don’t often knit with high contrast variegated yarn but it turns out it set my muse aflame.

It's really, really busy. Look at it.

It’s really, really busy. Look at it.

As a result I’ve started writing my own pattern for them. I had to figure out a way to break down the business of the yarn a little and I couldn’t find a pattern that suited me so I made one up. I’m pleased with it so far.

The pattern is simple but not boring to knit.

The pattern is simple but not boring to knit.

I could tell as soon as I got through the ribbing that I wasn’t going to like it in stockinette. I had to think quickly about what to do. I looked on Knitting Fool which is my go-to thing for stitch patterns but none of them really did much for me. In the end I took inspiration from Ant’s Nest and did something similar but less likely to make me associate it with ants.

Because I really hate ants.

 

With the contrasting yarn for the heel.

With the contrasting yarn for the heel.

The yarn is Paca Peds, an alpaca-based fingering weight (sock) yarn that comes with a 25g mini-skein of yarn for the heel and toe which I didn’t notice at first. I’m about to start the heel so I’m excited to see how it turns out. I think it will help to break up the irregular colours of the yarn too.

Now to watch episode  four of True Detective and get some more of these socks done before I have to start life as a working person again on Monday.

Knitting for Love

Someone once told me the story about their aunty giving them a new pair of socks every birthday. They told it with that particular tone that is usually accompanied by eye-rolling, insinuating that I should know exactly how boring that gift is.

I asked them if they thought their aunty knitted their socks. The response was non-committal; they didn’t know.

It strikes me that receiving repeated knitted gifts would seem… I don’t know. Boring. Lazy. Predictable, maybe. But if a knitter sits down and decides to knit you something, you know what that knitter is showing? That you are worth her time. That you are someone she thinks about enough to start planning your present weeks or even months in advance. When a knitter gives you socks, she is expressing affection and dedication and a wish for your feet to be warm.

There is a term in knitterly circles: knit-worthy. It’s the label granted to giftees who show proper appreciation and understanding of their hand-knitted presents. If you are not knit-worthy it means that you have somehow shown a lack of gratitude or care for your gift. There are people in my life who are knit-worthy and there are many who are not.

Does this make us selfish? I read on Ravelry once that someone’s partner thought a knitted gift was just that: it was taking the opportunity to do something the knitter enjoyed without thought for the recipient. I don’t think that’s true. I don’t always knit for people I love; I also get them things they asked for or just things I think they would like. But I also knit for them. Not because it is an excuse to knit (okay, slightly that) but also because I love that person and want to take the time to express it properly.

Sometimes I worry the people I knit for don’t understand that and think I’m boring or lazy or selfish. Then I remember that anyone I decide to knit for already knows me well enough to get it.

It also means that I struggle to knit for people I don’t know well. It stresses me out a lot and feels wrong.

What do you think about knitting for love? Do you think it’s selfish or just the opposite?