I have a knitted FO!!

Had to type that title carefully…

Some of you may remember that last year, mostly from reading other blogs and drooling over the beautiful creations, I finally decided to pick up my knitting needles again. Well actually I had to buy a set, because I had given all of mine away in a random act of tidying up, but you know what I mean.

So far, I have started four projects, and finished one. Doesn’t sound too promising, does it? But, actually it is fine. Two of the unfinished ones (scarves) are almost completed, just a row or two to go and then working in the ends. I wish I had done that as I went along, but I just forgot.

The fourth project is one I have only just started – a blanket for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. I found out about the project from Kick Arse Crochet (what a great name!) a little while ago. Thanks to her mentioning it on her blog there will be a few blankets heading their way as my mother has already made two, a friend’s mother is mid-knit and I have bought enough cheap (they specify it needs to be acrylic) yarn to make maybe three. Battersea is a very worthwhile cause, although it would obviously be good if there was no need for it to exist because every animal had a loving home. I like to think that a dog will look so adorable on their nice new blanket that it might help get them a new family. Even if they just chew it to shreds, I don’t mind really! There is a downloadable pattern for the blanket and cat toys, plus a list of other items they can use here. Again, thanks to Beth at Kick Arse Crochet for her original posting of this.

Anyway, the finished object is not for me, but a gift for my mum, which is why I have actually completed it. Only a scarf, and a simple free pattern which I found on Ravelry, but I enjoyed making it. Good job too because I had to start it three times. Due to still not having mastered the art of tinking (I really need to watch those YouTube clips again), every time I made a mistake, I was stuffed. I think it is the ’yarn forward’ that throws me. I kept ending up with significantly less stitches than I should have. So I just gave up, unravelled it and started again! Third time lucky. Also I got a much neater (or less hole-y) cast on edge the third time – I remembered about doing it with your thumb instead of a knitting needle. I couldn’t actually remember how, though…After many fumbled attempts I got it. I guess knitting is nothing like riding a bicycle. I have since found out when I mentioned the ‘thumb method’ to my mother and sister that we each do it differently!

And, although I had ditched my needles, for some reason I kept a bag of this yarn. Probably because it is Rowan, wool and cotton mix, and cost a bit at the time. But now, I have a nice lightweight scarf, pretty much for free! And also another project in the queue as my sister would like one too…




I have cast on! And then some….

Oh look, the ultimate accessory. A cat to match my scarf…

I posted a couple of weeks ago that I wanted to try knitting again. My mum and sister immediately leapt into action. Well, they leapt into their local haberdashery shop and bought me some yarn and a couple of project books. My sister has already placed an order for some beautiful, delicate long slipper sock thingies. Might take a while to get to that level!!

The yarn they chose is a super-chunky one – not right for the aforementioned socky things, so I am off the hook there for a now. After a bit of deliberation I decided to make something really simple and straightforward. I am pretty ring-rusty and didn’t want to fail dismally and lose interest or enthusiasm.

I found a (free) pattern at LoveKnitting for a rib scarf that was suitable for super-chunky yarn. I had already armed myself with a cheap set of needles from Amazon: I know there are much better quality ones available but I saw no point in spending lots of money given that I might only make one or two things. And actually I like these slippy metal needles – they are comfortingly familiar.

The scarf is going well. I have only spent a few hours and it is already nearly 3 feet long. The stitch is simple, so it doesn’t require too much brain power, and I think it suits the variegated yarn pretty well.

Looks like I have rediscovered another hobby!




The Knitty Gritty

I don’t know if this is a good or a bad thing, but looking at other blogs has made me really want to take up knitting again. Not majorly, no great projects will EVER be produced, but just as something to do when watching a film maybe, or on a train journey. Why unsure if it is good or bad? Well good because I used to really enjoy knitting (and sewing too), and because I generally need to be doing ‘something’ and cannot always paper craft until I fall asleep, and because you get a useful end product, hopefully. Bad? Because I have a roomful of paper craft stuff which I need to use up…

Still, I counted and apparently there are way more reasons to knit than to not. Whoohoo! So, payday present to self this month was going to be a small little starter kit. I used to have needles of all sizes, cables, circular, bamboo, you name it; plus row counters, bobbins, pins, large needles, the works, but I gave them all away in 1990 something. That is how long it is since I have knitted.

Today I thought ‘well knitting is so popular again, there must be plenty of companies doing a cute little starter kit, needles included, at a reasonable price, just to see if I enjoy it or am deluding myself’. You’d think. After an hour of internet searching I had come across plenty of ‘kits’, but they don’t give you all the basic information. Some of the pictures were so bad you could barely see the item. Some didn’t include needles, and didn’t tell you what size you would need, so you couldn’t even buy them at the same time. I don’t want to have to wait for the parcel to be delivered only to then have to wait again to get an order for needles. Others stated they were knitting kits, but then mentioned crochet too, and my brain cannot cope with crochet. Another site I found was more helpful and told you everything extra you would need to complete a project, but for a cable cushion cover it didn’t mention that you would require a cable needle. Maybe knitting had changed and you don’t need one now? I don’t know. But I was unconvinced. It feels like the ‘tiramisu’ situation in ‘Sleepless in Seattle‘. It’s all moved on and I have some catching up to do.

Finally I came across one site that seemed to do exactly what I wanted. For well under £10 I could have yarn and a downloadable pattern for a small project; it gave you an idea of difficulty and specific skills required, and a list of the needle sizes and any extra items. Super. Trouble is, they ship from the US, so it takes a couple of weeks to get here. I am an impatient shopper and having made my mind up, I want it as quickly as possible. Also, really, UK, can we not just try to be a bit more customer friendly, a bit more helpful? Take a lesson here?

This is what I have to work with. I haven’t knitted for years but used to knit a lot – would probably call myself an ‘experienced beginner’. I can remember how to cast on and off, decrease, increase, knit, purl, cable etc. I was ok at simple lacy patterns but nothing too complicated. I was also fine with swapping colours. I do have to confess to still keeping one WIP for all this time – a sweater based on the Bayeux Tapestry!  Forgive me, it was the 1980s and picture knits were compulsory…I have 1/3 of it completed but gave away the remaining yarn. Genius.

My major problem is that I cannot ‘un-knit’ if I make a mistake. I used to have to get my mum to do this for me! So no complicated patterns. And no crochet elements.

I don’t want to go mad and blow loads of money. I thought about cushion covers as I love the look of them but I have far too many cushions as it is and knitted styles don‘t currently fit in with my home or that of anyone I would be likely to gift it to, should it turn out ok. So then I was looking at either a chunky scarf, those things that are like mittens but with the ends chopped off (wrist warmers, maybe?), or a simple cowl. I cannot remember if I can knit in the round or not, so I suspect I never tried – that might be enough of a challenge for now!

I will probably end up buying from the US company, but if anyone knows where I can get a similar kind of small restart project in the UK, or has any suggestions of items to consider please let me know! I am yearning for yarn…