Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Wednesday's Workbox (16th May)

I've been busy with two different knitting projects recently. I had some white double knitting yarn left over from when I made a couple of wee "Easter" chicks as gifts for people, and instead of adding it to the crochet blanket that I am also working on, I decided to use it to make something for myself! I don't often knit things for myself - but at the moment, I am working on two different things! The other one is the frilled "sea lettuce" scarf that I started using some leftover yarn a few weeks ago. I knew there would not be enough of that yarn to finish the whole scarf, but I wanted to start it off anyways, to see how it turned out.  When Papa Bear very sweetly bought me some yarn at the seaside town we visited on our wedding anniversary, he picked out a really pretty white and pastel variegated yarn for me to use to make a whole scarf - and so I am currently working on that too!   It's so easy once you have the pattern "set" that I can do that without looking at it - so that's my "TV" knitting, that I can do when Papa Bear is watching a movie or the football (now finished for the summer close season) and the other project is for when I want to concentrate a little harder.

I'm prioritising this other project, because I shall want to wear this before I do the scarf (hopefully - though our weather is very unseasonally cool just now so I wouldn't be at all sorry to have a new scarf to wear also!) .  It is a long sweater (or what we call in England) which is designed to be worn with a blouse or shirt underneath - but which is light enough to wear on cooler summer days.  Here is a picture of it knitted so far ...

Apologies as usual for the poor quality of the picture!  I hope you can see enough there to pick out the different techniques I'm using to create the details.  There is a pretty frill around the bottom and sleeves of the sweater, and two different pattern repeats - one with "popcorn" bobbles and one with an openwork lace design.  It looks much more complicated than it actually is, and becuase it is knitted in double knitting yarn instead of the 4-ply that I normally use, it is growing very quickly!  I hope to have it done within 3 or 4 weeks.  I can usually spend an hour or so at least knitting every evening, but sometimes there isn't time or I am too tired, so it usually takes longer than I had anticipated to get something done!  This is the largest project I have worked on for a while.  I normally have a crochet blanket to work on, but I tend to go backwards and forwards with that, picking it up when I have nothing else to work on, and then leaving off it again when I do.  But since the cubs have been older, I have not knitted so much for them.   Knitwear for adults is usually a lot more expensive to make by hand, than it is to buy - although in the case of this long sweater, that is not the case.  This takes 5 100 g balls of double knitting yarn which came to a grand total of £7.50 (Papa Bear bought me four more in addition to the one I already had).  That is considerably cheaper than the same sweater would cost to buy ready-made, even from a discount store, and possibly even a charity (thrift) shop too!  Of course the other great advantage of making it myself is that I can adjust it exactly to fit me - and I get to choose the colour!  As I plan to wear this mainly with a couple of long tiered denim skirts that I have, I thought the white yarn was ideal for this design - and Papa Bear agrees!  He is pleased that I am making something for myself for a change - but I've promised that the next thing I knit will be for him!  I'd like to try making him some socks for when he goes fishing - in the colours of his football team!  He thinks that sounds like a very good idea!

I love to knit - it is so rewarding!  It is interesting and creative, relaxing, entertaining - and you get something useful and beautiful at the end!  If you haven't ever tried knitting before, please do consider teaching yourself.  It really isn't difficult.  Here is a step-by-step guide with pictures, or you may prefer a video, like this one.  As an experienced knitter, personally I wouldn't use a video to begin with.  Everyone knits slightly differently for each other - just as we all hold pencils and write differently - and it is probably easier if you develop your own technique without seeing other people first.  For example there are many different ways to cast on - find a way that suits you best at least to start with, and then after you are comfortable with this, you can look at other techniques to see if there is one which is neater, or quicker, that you actually prefer.  If you have at least become familiar with the basics in a way that feels comfortable for you, then you will probably find it easier to pick up the more technical stuff, rather than trying to copy someone else's individual technique right from the start.  There is no "right" or "wrong" way to knit - as long as the finished result looks neat and holds together, you are doing it right.  What matters is that you enjoy it!  Just remember, practise makes perfect - and even the most skilled knitters make mistakes and have to start over - I did, with this sweater!

Happy knitting everyone.