Monday, February 27, 2006

Proud mother

The mittens are finished. The different thumb lengths are not deliberate - E has two thumbs of a similar size. She can always use the extra space for storing secrets.
I knitted most of the second one at a wonderful weekend workshop with my choir. Most of the time I wore my first knitting project, my purple Colinette jumper, and much comment was passed about the wondrous colours.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The thumb

More wool has arrived, from HandpaintedYarns
Beautiful, but not quite as beautiful to my mind as the Colinette. Luckily the vacuum bags also arrived today so I was able to store my growing stash in more safety from moths.
I knitted up a swatch of the superbulky (in my coffee break, you understand) and found there are nine stitches and 14 rows to 10 cm on 9mm needles which are the biggest I have, but possibly not big enough for that wool. By mistake I had ordered some lace wool, so I'm sending it to Jean my step mother who is a lace maker among other things.
I've started E's mittens, in Colinette Prism. Amazed myself by managing to figure out what the pattern meant, and actually knitting a thumb! I had to pick up cast off stitches from the base of the thumb afterwards which I didn't manage very well, and consequently there is a little hole there. I can't face going back though so thought I'd try darning across it when I've finished.

Monday, February 20, 2006


More wool has arrived. How beautiful is this? It's Colinette's One Zero, in Jewell. I'm knitting a swatch to check the gauge. Then planning to look for a simple cardigan pattern.
In the meantime I'll be tackling E's hat and gloves, in Colinette Prism which is half cotton, half wool

Knitting and relationships

Finished making up the pink jumper last night. Today I'm hoping to wash the first jumper I made which I've worn almost non stop for a month. My friend Ruth who loves woolly jumpers and can't (yet) knit has asked me to knit her a jumper. This means I get to knit up more beautiful Colinette wool, at her expense, which is great.
I've reviewed my knitting habits after T said he was feeling cut off from me by the clicking needles. It's true that I have been knitting all evening, every evening we've been at home since Christmas, and that as a beginner I have to concentrate very hard on the work. So I'm going to ration my knitting to only half the evening until I get good enough to be able to look at him and chat occasionally.
I wonder if this is a problem for other people. T's mother did a lot of knitting and T thinks that as a child he felt she was sometimes unavailable to him because of it. Can't be an unusual scenario I guess...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Latest jumper

This is my third jumper to this pattern and in this wool (different colours of course). My excuse is that we're short of warm jumpers, and I'm a beginner gaining confidence.
I've noticed that people seem to write about their pets on their knitting blogs so I thought I'd let you see Jimmy with his squeaky newspaper.
This is a brand new toy, bought today to replace his very favourite.
It was another squeaky toy which he'd treated incredibly gently, almost with reverence, for more than a year but chewed a hole in on Saturday when in a state of great excitement over a visitor.

Out as a knitter

My step mother Jean is a textile maestro (maestra?) - she's an expert knitter, spinner, felter, tapestry weaver etc etc, and does most of her own beautiful designs. As far as she knew, I'd never knitted a stitch and I'd decided to wait, rather than tell her the moment I'd got my first pair of needles. So I was quite excited to be able to send her the picture of Rose's new jumper (below).
This morning I got a lovely, and very excited, message from her. I know there's masses she can teach me, and I'm really looking forward to learning from her. Trouble is they live 250 miles away in north Wales. But now I know train journeys can pass quickly when you're knitting, so perhaps I'll go more often...
My new knitting habit is turning out to be quite expensive. Yesterday I ordered nearly £90 of wool from The post seems to be so slow though - by the time it arrives I'll have had time to save up for it! I'm also waiting for some yarn from Colinette - two hanks of Prism to make mitts and a hat for my younger daughter Ellen, and six of One Zero in jewel. Don't know what I'm going to do with that. I'd like to try a simple jacket but haven't been able to find the right pattern yet. I also want to make one of Woolly Wormhead's berets.
I got a book about crochet last week and have learnt to do a chain and double crochet stitch, so I'm looking for nice simple crochet patterns too.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Tried knitting on the tube for the first time, en route to my ex-boss's birthday party in west London. At first I felt very self conscious, especially as there was a group of young people speaking an eastern European language sitting opposite me who were very obviously discussing what I was doing. I'm not a fast knitter, and can't yet look away from my work, so was imagining people thinking what a clutz I am. But then I thought it was a good thing if they guessed I was a beginner - if you only ever see knitters whose needles move at the speed of sound, it's a bit intimidating. So soon I relaxed and was able to concentrate. The half hour journey passed in no time.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

My daughter Rose will be 21 next month. This is the first garment her mum has ever made for her, poor thing, but better late than never. (She's a student in chilly York so needs it more than ever).
I learnt to knit as a child, was hopelessly clumsy and impatient, and gave it up for 40 years. For the last couple of years I've been feeling a yearning to do something creative with my hands, and just after Christmas 2005 I decided to give knitting another go. Then I found the Colinette web site and realised it was going to be exciting. I also found which has really helpful little demonstration videos, and I bought a couple of how-to-knit books too.
I started off knitting squares - garter stitch, then stocking stitch. Made lots of mistakes and tangles but slowly they got better. Then I bought some cut price but very scratchy yarn ("storm") from Textere and knitted a bag in garter stitch.
Next came my first Colinette order - six hanks of Graffiti wool, together with the Graffiti pattern book. I couldn't believe how beautiful the colours were, but I knew my first jumper had to be in"florentina" (and not only because I love Florence). I picked the only pattern with just one page of instructions, figuring it should be the easiest.
Knitting the jumper was really enjoyable - I just couldn't stop gazing at this beautiful fabric appearing in front of me - and took less than a week. The tricky bit was making it up. One of my knitting books went on about something called blocking, but I couldn't be bothered with that so I steam ironed it (gasps of horror) which the book also suggested. The side seams went OK but I had no idea how to get the sleeves into the holes. I undid and redid them three times, and now they look OK. But the steam ironing definitely took the spring out of the wool. I still love the jumper, because of the beautiful colours, and because it's the warmest thing I own, and because it's the first thing I've knitted.
I then bought some more Colinette wool, this time from Loop which is a wonderful knitting shop near my home, and knitted a scarf forTrevor (my husband). It has stripes - not colour stripes but stripes made by switching from knit/purl to purl/knit for a few rows. I found it quite a struggle to remember where I was with my stripe pattern, but it came out OK.
The next garment was Rose's jumper which I finished this morning. It's the same pattern as I used for my own, but in "blue parrot". And it's much better than mine - which is very encouraging as it shows I'm improving. It's going up to York on Monday, tucked into a big box which also contains a computer monitor she needs.