Knitting, WIP Wednesday

Woollen Spun Fun

I posted last week about some dream knitting that I was hoping to embark on in the form of Joji’s ‘The Easy One’ knit from Brooklyn Tweed Loft. I did get round to starting it and today I joined under the arms so I am now part way into the long stockinette body.

Truth be told I’m really enjoying this knit. Joji’s pattern is written beautifully and it is simple enough for even my sleep deprived brain to cope with. The yarn is perfection… lofty and soft it’s just the most amazing experience to knit with but this leads me to an over riding dilemma. I adore this yarn but I recently had my attention drawn to the fact that Brooklyn Tweed were less than ethical in their methods and have in fact copied another small yarn producers work. I found this very sad… That even in the knitting community this is going on. I will profess to not knowing all of the facts as I’ve not phoned them and spoken to them personally about it, I am however resolved to buy from smaller companies on a more personal basis and with that in mind I purchased a jumper quantity of yarn from Garthenor on a recent trip to Yarningham last weekend…. Ops!

Back to the relevant information on this WIP, I’m in stockinette city now. I’m thinking about adding a little texture to the jumper further down but for the moment I’ve got a little while of knit all to do, which I don’t really mind. It’s odd, it doesn’t feel like its growing but I know that it is… I’ve put progress keepers on!

Knitting

WIP Wednesday – What’s on the needles?

In a bid to kickstart more regular posts I’m going to start a bi-weekly WIP segment… Bit of motivation and I love watching and reading about other peoples WIP’s, yarn choices and modifications. So kicking off with Brioche!!…

Double Denim Marl

So as part of the pattern selection I’m putting together at the moment I’m knitting up some samples and after knitting sooo many Bobble Marley hats my marling mojo is in full swing. I also wanted something a little quicker than just 4ply, so using a 5mm needle and a collection of Coop Knits Sock Yeah that I’d lined up for a broke the that wasn’t working for the project I intended it too.

Using grey, blues and greens I’ve colour graded the shawl with a mixture of one and two colour Brioche. I’ve even made tassels!! Bloody love a tassel… Don’t know why I don’t own anything with tassels on! So far this has been a quick enough knit, I’ve enjoyed watching my progress and getting from one colour change to the next. Still undecided as to whether or not I’m going to add a scalloped edge to the shawl but that might be a little more than my tired brain can handle at the moment. I’m currently working with this incredible teal colour that I use love! Sock Yeah yarn is lightly marled as it is, if you look closely there is such depth to this yarn that makes it a real pleasure to watch run through your fingers… I just love it. I’m hoping to have this one finished in the next week or so, if I can keep the motivation up!

White Horse Jumper

I keep wanting to write sweater… it’s not, its a jumper I’ve taken on the ‘sweater’ Americanism (nothing wrong with that). This project has been on my needles for quite some time and I’m now about 5″ into the body… I desperately want to get this finished to wear before the summer gets too warm.

I’m knitting it from 100% BFL from Riverknits in the Gringer Nut colour way that Becci dyed specifically for me for this project… such a talented woman! I’ve tried it on… It fits so far (always a bonus, especially as I started it whilst pregnant and my decision making processes were slightly impaired by hormones and sleep deprivation)

Thinking that I might make it cropped as I really love the way it looks with cropped sleeves and a slightly shorted body – I’m making a medium size so that it fits and flatters my new postpartum body.

Toe Up Monkeys

I’ve wanted to knit a pair of these for a long time, they’ve been in my queue for quite some time… I’m knitting these using a sock blank purchased from Amy of Stranded Dyeworks. This is her Koi colour way and I think it works perfectly for this pattern.

I’ve not yet knitted a toe up sock with a heel flap and gusset but a friend recommended the sock maticians formula for toe up socks. I’ve got to the point where I need to turn the heel but I haven’t yet had a chance to sit and read through the pattern so I know what I’m doing without distractions (very difficult with a new baby).

Some people like to unravel their sock blanks and block then residing them before knitting with them, I love knitting strait from the blank but it does mean that I need to block anything I knit from them fairly aggressively after finishing, it effects my gauge very slightly but not enough to bother me. I’ve used 2 of Amy’s sock blanks before… They’re somewhat of an addiction! Great dye saturation and the colours she picks I really like. Not my usual colour choice ‘Koi’ is oranges, pinks, whites topped off with black speckles, so much fun to knit with and I’m really looking forward to wearing these.

Knitting

Instant Hatification – Stranded for Stranded

I watch a great podcast by Amy Florence – of Stranded Dyeworks. Amy is a very talented knitter and her podcast is really informative. Recently she’s been knitting Dipyrmid hats, this is a colour work hat knitted in the round from the bottom up using two colours. I love Amy’s examples of the hats, she uses her colour ways in different variegated and a semisolid yarn. I have a hank of Amy’s DK super wash merino in my treasured stash in the colourway ‘Naive Watercolour’ I’m pairing it with a bright blue hank of John Arbon’s organically farmed Falkland merino number ‘KBN37’. I’m hoping it’s going to work… There’s something that doesn’t quite add up with the pairing at the moment but we will see what starts to happen with my colour work starts… between then and now I have 4″ of ribbing!!

Ive put together a hank of grey KBN03 and Amy’s Mettlesome too if I like the first hat although I may end up mixing and matching… grey with the Naive Watercolour… decisions decisions! I’ve not knitted a colourwork hat or indeed any hat really without changing the needle size between the main hat and the ribbing… normally I go down a needle size for ribbing, this pattern doesn’t. I’m definitely putting in a lifeline and going up a needle size for the colourwork… We’ll see ow it goes. I’m knitting this for a prezzie… If it doesn’t work it’ll be mine (unless I can be bothered to rip it back) I’m my own worst enemy, I rarely swatch.

Needles – 3.25 mm Lykke 3.5″ small needles and then changing to 3.5mm for the colourwork as I know I knit a tighter gauge with colourwork and I want the hat to have some slouch to it.

This will be my first attempt using slippery yarn for colourwork… It might go terribly badly and end up being a blocked colour cable hat… but you never know! Thinking I may also need to use the longer 5″ needle tips to make sure that I’m getting the floats long enough.

Knitting, WIP Wednesday

Experimenting With Colour, Shape and Texture

Sometimes I get so wrapped up in my knitting that I forget that knitting is my freedom and my meditation. I’ts an easy thing to forget… especially when you’re already stressed and wound up.

I started a project months ago after seeing an episode of Skeindeer knits where Elli had completed and interesting shaped shawl. Something about that shawl sparked my imagination and a need to experiment. I have a small collection of Wollmeise yarn that I purchased about 5 years ago when you cold only get grab bags in an update from them (Unless you were super quick and knew exactly what you wanted). So, using a 150g skein of my favourite green Wollmeise and a 100g sock black from Stranded dye works I set about experimenting with colour and shape.

I really enjoyed playing with different textures within the colours I had chosen and finding out what patterns really made the colours sing. I am purposefully not writing a pattern for this shawl so that I really can just play with it and knit what I want to into it. It’s a brilliant way of freeing my very cluttered mind at the moment! Knitting meditation!

Hoping to have it finished fairly soon!

Nu xx

Knitting

Where It All Began

I haven’t yet shared the story of how I came to be a knitter… Well it all started with a reenactment fair, a very unhappy relationship, realising that I might not be as academically minded as I would like and one ‘Happy Hooker’.

I can remember the exact point that it started… The desire to create. I had of course been introduced to plastic yarn, tight stitches and sticky metal needles sometime in my teens and found it a surprisingly stressful experience and not one I wished to continue with.

Walking round TORM (The Original Reenactors Market) in Coventry I stumbled across an incredible scarf that a woman had made up as a show sample. It was a simple (to her, but pure magic to me) treble crochet stitch scarf in a block pattern but done with colourful fingering weight silk and a fine hook… Wow! At that point in my life I had no creativity and very little colour whatsoever, I was at university doing a degree that would provide me with a future (or so I thought) but it didn’t speak to my soul like this little scarf had done!

I remember buying some bits and pieces from this lady and as part of that package there was a little 4mm wooden crochet hook and a skein of natural hand dyed blue yarn… It didn’t take long for a friends girlfriend to sit my down in the pub (I just happened to have the hook and newly wound ball with me at this point) and show me how to create a foundation chain and some basic stitches. That was it… I couldn’t stop!

It was a creative addiction that consumed me, something colourful and positive in my life to feed my imagination and drive me forward.

At first I thought there would be no way that I would ever transition to knitting. It looked so bloody complicated and at this point there were no YouTube videos or Ravelry… Just me and books! But slowly and surely I started to experiment. I was living in Oxford at the time and there was a lovely ladies clothing shop with a yarn section at the back in Jericho… So from here I bought my first set of knitting needles (Brittany Birch Needles) and some chunky yarn, I made a pair of two colour fingerless mittens… really badly sewn together with a thumb hole half way up but I didn’t care they were mine and I’d made them… I’d actually knitted them!

I now cannot imagine my life without knitting… It’s got me though some serious lows in my life and has remained the constant love. I do turn to crochet from time to time and for a while I worked with a shoemaker and designed some increadible one of a kind pieces.

Even though my roots are in crochet…. I am a Knitter!

Nu xx

Knitting, WIP Wednesday

Pebbles & Leather

I am really fond of this pattern, it started about 6 years ago and is yet another one of those patterns that I never had the chance to write down. I love the bobble pebble texture of these mittens and how they fit, so this is my motivation to get them finished and the pattern written up at long last… Ready in time for winter hopefully! The pattern will be available in fingerless and as a full mitten (when I get round to writing it up).

The yarn is integral to these mittens, they’re fabulous mini skeins from Riverknits. You can spend hours playing with different colour combinations (and I have!)… I love these tones and shades and how they work together. They’re really special.

Knitting

A Stash of Ones Own – Clara Parks

For over a year now I’ve been exhibiting my leather work in a gallery in Chipping Campden (my home town in the centre of the Cotswolds). It’s a little over an hours drive away from where I currently live and so I have two hours a day driving when I commute in to do my day stewarding. Recently I’ve been stressed… I’ve been winding myself up about some ridiculous things that I can’t control (other people and their actions surrounding the birth of our first baby… hopefully happening in January) and so whilst driving for that large chunk of time I get more and more wound up about things that I really cant control… Not good.

Today I decided to try and change this habit of behaviour that is clearly not healthy for me or the baby! So I started listening to Pom Cast… The Podcast from Pom Pom Quarterly. I’ve learnt a lot in the process of driving to Campden now, I’ve learnt that the sound system in my car isn’t really podcast friendly, I’ve also learnt that as a knitter I am in the company of some incredibly talented and very wise, beautifully unique women.

Part way thought the podcast there is a reading by Clara Parks, the author of the recently released book ‘A Stash of Ones Own’. It was wonderful to hear her strong and incredibly empowering thoughts behind how and why as knitters we build our stash’s and feel guilt about doing this. As women we are conditioned to feel guilty for carving out time for ourselves, it’s classed as an indulgence and not a necessity for our own health and wellbeing… We are just expected to continue as carers for our husbands, children and in later life sometimes parents whilst running and maintaining our own homes as well as the jobs that we do to bring in financial support. How, in this crazy haze can we possibly find time for ourselves? How could we be so selfish to possibly think about sitting down and adding a couple of rows to the jumper we’ve been knitting since time immemorial… But actually to me its more of a question how can we not set aside this vital time for just ME.

Knitting is my therapy, without it I am adrift in a crazy, anxious and stressful world. So the question is… How can I possibly be the best version of me that it is possible to be without it? Knitting is my recharge time, it’s what enables me to tackle the mountains of washing up… To breathe deep whilst wrestling heavy shopping bags and then getting hit in the face because the front door has bounced off a pair of trainers left behind the door… It gives me the room I need to bite my tongue, to smile (what might look like a grimace but I hope it looks convincing) and take on the chin the latest order of business and other people’s opinions about the baby, my pregnancy, our house, my job and what I ‘Should’ be making etc… Yes a hot bath with lavender oil helps but I’ve not yet mastered the art of knitting in the bath and so I find myself thinking about the projects that I want to knit and searching though endless Ravelry pages to see if someone has already designed the shawl I want to start writing the pattern for.

As women we have a difficult role still and it’s becoming more and more important in the crazy world to make sure that we are looking after ourselves and out for each other. I don’t feel guilty for knitting just one more round… At the moment I earn my own money and I can afford to buy the yarn that I want to (this balance will shift when I have bean but I have enough of a stash at the moment to hopefully keep me going for a little while!). There is always more that we can do, clean, sort… But I am very keenly aware that my mental health governs the mood of my household and my own physical wellbeing and so in order for everyone to be happy and healthy… let me have my hour… or two hours with my knitting… I’m not even particularly fussed where I knit or what the rest of the house is doing at the time… But my knitting is my own and for that reason I am incredibly thankful that I am a knitter.