Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Bitten by the knitting bug

  I learnt to knit as a little girl. I grew up with my nanna, and if she was sitting, she was knitting. She taught me how to, and I would diligently start a project………….and then get bored with it, and put knitting aside for a year or so, until I started the next unfinished project.

  As an adult, I got heavily into sewing (no surprises there). Every so often i’d mention that my kids needed jumpers, or pants, or beanies, or scarves, or toys, and like magic a package of handknits would appear in a few weeks.

  Until her retina detached. She soldiered on with deteriorating eyesight for a few years, but now, ten years since her eye problems began, she’s given up. I think it’s been about two years since she knit anything, and after eight (I think) eye surgeries and waiting for the next one who can blame her? But I did start thinking that I really needed to start knitting. After all, i’ve already requested that my claim on her houseful of yarn, needles and patterns be put in her will. And I managed to teach my girls to knit, and they’ve already produced more than me.

  So I cast on for a dishcloth (from The Knitter’s Year, Debbie Bliss) about six months ago, in cotton. It crept along at an absolute snail’s pace, and I remembered why i’d always deserted knitting-it’s so slow. Halfway through I decided it was time to ditch throwing, and learn picking, or Continental knitting. It was quite fun to have that challenge again, of feeling all thumbs and getting tangled constantly-it’s been a while since I learnt something completely new. But once mastered, it was much faster. I lost the pattern a bit while travelling, and some up the top is in ribbing rather than moss stitch, but for a dishcloth that’s fine.


  Next up, I cast on for a beanie for myself. With my big hair I can’t wear standard beanies, and I tend to look like a wharfie in most of them. This one is from an unremembered book but is called the Simple Squishy Slouchy Hat, in Paton’s Totem wool from an op-shop. I realised with this one that I was wrapping the purls the wrong way, so the first few stocking stitch stripes look herringboned. Other that that it all went easily-I made it longer than the pattern called for to fit the hair.


  The husband has nabbed it now though, so i’m still hat-less. OK, so you can’t see the beanie well in this picture, but don’t we live in a gorgeous place? Him riding the kids’ horse, with our goats in the background……………


The first main goal is to make myself socks-I have a funky sock fetish plus feet like a corpse. They’re always cold. So circular knitting needs to be mastered. I made myself a K2, P2 ribbed headband to teach myself the Magic Loop technique, but it ended up too messy for my perfectionist tendencies (mostly because of the fluffy, loosely stranded yarn). So I pulled that apart and am now knitting a beanie for Shorty, to my own pattern, brim-up using two-colour helix knitting with Magic Loop. I figure why learn one new skill with each project when I can tackle fifteen?

  Already, I have plans and supplies for a jumper for my girls and cabled armwarmers for myself (my hands get as cold as my feet, and I LOVE cables). I’m officially obsessed in a way I never have been with crochet-I think it’s something that appeals to the mathematical, pattern-loving side of my brain. And when I work out how to turn a heel nicely, i’m sending a pair to my Nanna. She’ll find it amusing to be on the receiving end for a change.