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Some of you may remember how around December last year I started blathering about being determined to FINALLY learn to knit properly after nearly 30 years of half-heartedly trying. I told myself this year was the one and if I didn’t learn now, it would never happen.

Well I did it! I have knit my first cardigan!

I started slowly… simple hats, phone socks, legwarmers then more complex stitches in cowls, slowly building up techniques that I would need to do a full garment.

Then I jumped in. I wanted to try the Miriam cardigan by Carrie Bostick Hoge (who creates beautiful knit designs. Nothing gnomey about her knits!). All that beautiful garter stitch. I just couldn’t resist!

I started in early March and just finished. It went remarkably smooth.

I knit on the tube, while watching tv, at galleries, in cafes, at conferences (!), you get the picture. I am one of THOSE knitters! I knit and I knit and then I knit some more.

I learned how to decrease, join sleeves and pick up stitches to add the neckband.

What an amazing process! I have so much more appreciation for knit design now that I can see how a lot of it works. Invisible seam stitches and the like are so damn CLEVER! Who came up with this shit?

Shockingly, there were no major mishaps, though a few things went buggy when reading the pattern and the body is a few inches longer than I would have liked – less of a ‘chanel jacket’ length and more of a straight cardi. Next time I do this pattern (in splurge quality wool – maybe a cashmere blend. Something flat and smooth that will show off all those garter stitches more sharply, unlike the fuzzier yarn I used this time) I will make sure it is the right length, as it looks cuter at its intended length.

This is what it should have looked like:

Here is how it ended up:

Not bad, but just that titch too long.

If anyone is interested in the full details or wants links to the pattern and other versions of the sweater check it out in my Ravelry projects.

Anyway…I am pretty damned pleased with myself, and have some great outfits planned with it!

Yay! Next!

I had to post this, as I am extremely proud of it. My first truly beautiful knitted …thing!

Insomnia has been rife and I have been knitting like a fiend. I finished my most challenging project to date – this slip stitch Honey Cowl  – a few weeks ago and, though it is not as perfect as I’d hoped (I have come to the realisation that any flaw mars my knitting projects in my twisted, perfectionist brain. Being type A sucks!), it is the best looking thing yet.

Here she is!

Isn’t she GLORIOUS?

I used Madelinetosh’s DK merino in Iris, which cost a bomb – £15.95 a hank and this baby was about a hank and half – but I have to say the yarn is beautiful to work with. It is super silky and soft and the hand dyed hues are GORGEOUS – Iris is a rich indigo/purple.

…oh and it ‘frogs’ (unravels) easily, which is a huge plus if you are learning, as I am, and have to re-knit things constantly!

This cowl took 2 tries to get started, as I found out many hours in – both times – that I had twisted the thing somewhere early on and had to unravel it all and start again!

The pain. The horror.

Self lynching with yarn definitely gets considered in these types of moments. At least the purple would co-ordinate?

Anyway, macabre-ness aside, here is a close up of the ‘honey’ slip stitch which is a lovely, thick, pseudo-waffle. The colour is a bit off in this shot, but you can see the pretty stitch on the front and back of the cowl:

The only downside to the lovely yarn is that it comes from somewhere in California and, as it is hand dyed, takes a while to re-stock. There are only a couple of places that carry it in the UK, like Loop in Camden, so stock is a bit hit and miss, and getting the colour you want a matter of much planning. I was hoping to get a beautiful green for a friend’s cowl I am planning to knit in the next few weeks, but they don’t have any in stock. Sigh.

Anyway – you can see details of this project and find links to the free pattern  and my other projects on my Ravelry profile here.

If you knit and haven’t yet discovered Ravelry – GO. Now! It is an amazing resource.

So far, my grand plan of learning to knit is coming along well.

I have done a couple hats and even designed my own legwarmer pattern for my mom’s tiny little, French legs and am planning to start a …gulp….cardigan (!) in the next few weeks. Very nervous, but it is starting to be fun!

Sort of.

In a masochistic kind of way.

I have gotten sidetracked once again, and have gone all domestic…from sewing …to felting …I am now in the middle of a knitting frenzy!

I have been knitting steadily since the felting fiasco as I have found it is such a fantastic time filler on the dreaded Tube. Oh, and there is nothing like and audience when you don’t know what you are doing (really, people? Have you never seen anyone knit?? heh).

So, bit by bit, I have been slowly pushing myself out of my comfort zone – variations of squares- to things with more complex patterns.

I started with a secret project for a friend’s bday, which was a modified square, but had to learn Kitchener Stitch to join it. What a fantastic thing – a stitch that joins two edges but is invisible. Who knew? (many people, apparently).

Then did this little iphone ‘snuggle’, which I was right thrilled about, as I made it without a pattern:

Again, a square, but a new stitch pattern – Seed Stitch- that required I pay attention somewhat. Joined with…you got it…Kitchener Stitch!

Then a HAT (which I am, again, very proud of, but have not taken a shot of yet), requiring learning how to decrease stitches.

Then …legwarmers.

Yes. Legwarmers.

Did I mention our house is COLD?

Those required learning to knit on double pointed needles which scared the crap out of me.In the end, they aren’t so bad. A bit scary on the Tube though, with all the pointy bits.

The legwarmers have stretched a bit with wearing, though, and are a little big so I think I may have to re-d0 the ribbing so they stay up. That said, they pass nicely as thick slouchy socks  when tucked into my booties for wearing out of the house.

So…the latest step forward is this pretty Honey Cowl (click link for pattern on the fantastic Ravelry site) which I was worried would require too much concentration with my pea brain (awwwk…shiney), but has thus far been ok.

Here is the start in Madelinetosh’s beautiful merino Tosh DK wool in Iris. It is a bit more purple in real life and sort of shimmers between purple and indigo. Really gorgeous wool.

Not cheap, mind, but it is beautiful to work with and has none of those annoying fuzzy fibres in it (kid mohair, angora) which I despise.

I will try to remember to post when done.

Oh, and on top of this, I forgot to mention we are prepping the house for the Olympics, as we have decided to try and rent the Roost headquarters to some lovely Olympic-ers and get the hell out of Dodge!

Busy, busy, busy.

Let me know if you hear of anyone looking to rent… we are 10 mins on a direct bus route to the Stadium!

I will be posting updated images of the house as we get things all tidied up/finished off for July.

Winston


art, design and interiors obsessed

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