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

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.

Knitting, Knitting Accessories

Leather Knitting Bags

So what’s so special about leather? Is it the smell, the texture, the way that it ages and softens so beautifully…? Or is it all of those qualities that make it a truly unique material to use and work with?

Leather has always been special to me. Good quality leather glows from within and ages so beautifully.

The Photograph below was a recent commission showing the incredible natural scaring that can appear in leather.

So when I was recently asked to make a leather project bag for a friends birthday I jumped at the chance. I made her a two skein project bag with her company logo embossed in gold on the front. It was a really special project for me and one that I really enjoyed making. After seeing the project bag again after a a few months use I was amazed at how beautifully the leather has softened. So there was only one thing for it… I made up more and set up a little Etsy shop so that other could enjoy these too.

If you’re looking for something a little bit different to the normal project bag then pop on over to our Etsy shop and have a look, I have three different sizes available to pre order a the moment and if you would like something specific then please get in touch and I can make you something to fill your specifications.

Happy knitting

Nu x

FO Friday, Knitting, Socks

FO Happy Feet Friday!

So last week I introduced some of the mountain of sock I have on my needles.

Today I am pleased to announce I’ve made headway into clearing the backlog!

We have an FO!! (Finished Object)

I’ve finished my Squirrel Socks! My first pair of finished socks in months and I couldn’t be happier with them! I’m even considering knitting a lot more socks of 2mm needles, I really like the density and finish of the final fabric. I’ve been a 2.25mm girl for a long time but these might have converted me just a little!

For those of you in the dark, I’ve named these squirrel socks (not because I have attached a large fluffy tail to the heel) because of the yarn name… Earlier in the year one of my favourite dyers Riverknits the amazing floating dye studio, released a colour way passed on the Giant Indian Red Squirrel… It has fast become one of my favourite colour ways. I also used new needles too… Addi Sock wonder needles. They are the best mini needles I’ve found, especially for use with my slightly larger hands. Great needles these socks flew by! I’ll definitely be using them again soon.

These are going to be an autumnal pregnancy staple with leather boots I can feel it already!

Thank you for sharing in my FO happiness, I’ll write again soon and hopefully have more to share!

Nu xx

P.S. I used a really simple basic pattern for these socks they weren’t hard to make at all, for more information you can find stitch counts on my Ravelry project page

Knitting, Socks

WIP Island… Socks

I am working on a fair few projects at the moment… Each one has a story to it and they’re all steadily progressing but I think it’s time to impose some deadlines on myself so I actually start clearing the backlog. Not because I mind having things languishing on my needles but because most of them are projects that I really want to wear. As Autumn is now upon us in the UK (In the middle of August!) It really is a good excuse to wrap up warm in some fabulous knitwear. So in the spirit of sorting the WIP’s out I thought it would start with my collection of unfinished socks.

Squirrel Socks 

Yes you read right…. Squirrel Socks! Dyed by the fabulous RiverKnits UK this colour way is just me! It’s her Indian Red Squirrel on BFL sock and wow…. I didn’t know it was possible to fit that many gorgeous tones and colours into one skein of yarn! I’m hoping that i’ll have a little left over too so I can knit bump a wee pair of socks as well. I also purchased these fabulous needles from Becci’s onling shop too and they have completely changed my opinion about mini needles and Addi! So for all these positive and wonderful reasons I just can’t wait for these to warm my toes… They’re not far off being finished.

Poor things… Half finished socks still on the needles always look so misshapen and sad don’t they! (Best get them finished quick!)

Ziggy Zip Zeberdy

So I need to own up… I think I currently have 5 pairs of socks on my needles (different needles of course). With plans for many more socks to be knit I need to start clearing the backlog. I am planning on spending the latter half of my pregnancy in comfy boots and hand knit socks to keep me warm and so I had really best start finishing them!

These were paused for a few months as I completely fell out of love with them I’m ashamed to say. The yarn I’m using to knit with is a bit of a disappointment and as a result I’ve had to contact the dyer (Still awaiting a response). I’ve worked with their yarn in the past and so this was a real surprise for me to find that it was unevenly dyed and covered in bare patches. Every other yarn I bought from them I’ve loved and so I’m really hoping that this issue can be resolved amicably… Until I hear back though these socks are in a bit of a limbo.

Loughrea Socks

If you aren’t already a member of the Everyday Knitter Facebook group I highly recommend it! Fun, friendly & enabling, the group is populated by knitters from all over the world and run by Louise Tilbrook the sock queen! Once a month challenges are set within the group to knit something using different techniques… August is Cables and so I picked these socks & purchased the pattern. I got off to a bit of a false start but I can honestly say that I really had forgotten how much I love knitting cables from a chart! these socks are knitting themselves!

Hand Dyed and Happy

I’m using my very first hand dyed yarn for these puppies… Blue and ecru colours with speckles of coral and coral heels and toes… They’re only going to be shorties as I died tiny amounts but they’ll be super toasty none the less.

January

These were supposed to be the first entry in my Box’O’Sox Kal submission…. They’ve just not happened that way and they’re still on the needles… Every now and again I grab them as I’m running out the door and put a coupe of round on them in the car whilst waiting for an appointment or for the rain to stop! I will get round to finishing them as they’re Wollmeise yarn and it’s some of my favourite for softness… Until then these ancient 2AAT grannies can wait for just a little longer!

Notes:

If you are interested in any of the yarns used or would like more detailed notes and information on these projects you will find that the title of each is linked to my Ravelry page.

 

Thank you for reading, I hope to have some of these finished by the next time I write!

Nu xx