Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Carrying On

Hello and welcome!
It's May already! I'm not quite sure how that happened but here we are. Now we have hit the fifth month of the year I have decided I'm not going to try & "catch up" with things, I'm just going to "do" at whatever pace needs be & go with the flow a bit more. I'm not very good at "going with the flow"...
Maybe there's something in the Spring air that makes me step out of my comfort zone, but it most often seems to be this time of year when I try something completely different. Spring of 2010 I borrowed some quilting books from a friend & started playing with patchwork blocks, the following April saw me buying my first crochet hook, a book on amigurumi, & a few balls of yarn, so really it was inevitable that as Spring came round again something new would appear on the horizon. This time I am blaming  was spurred on by some beautiful colors of less-than-half-price yarn that jumped out at me when I was in the craft shop for something else entirely. Have you done that? Stood in the shop with the bargain in your hand frantically thinking "what can I make with this & how much will I need?" It's ok, I won't tell anyone, it'll be our little secret ;-) In the end I decided this gorgeously soft yarn had to be made into clothing & I would give in to the little voice inside calling out "Knit! Knit!"
I have often been asked if I knit as well as crochet & over the last year or so I have seen some really lovely knitted projects online. This had led to a little voice inside saying "Go on, why not give it a try?" which had been growing louder over the last few months. I did have a couple of pairs of knitting needles tucked away upstairs & we all know there is plenty of yarn in this house! So what was stopping me? Well...
For me knitting is inextricably linked to my Nan. She raised me, made wonderful homecooked meals, and she knitted. She kept my cousins & me in cardigans all our growing years and I remember many, many trips to the shop with her to buy yarn to start a new project or buttons to finish one off. I don't remember exactly what age I was when I was finally allowed to pick a pattern and yarn & try knitting my own jumper, with a lot of help from Nan of course! She cast on for me, picked up dropped stitches, fixed it when I brought it to her only knowing that something just wasn't quite right,she did all the shaping rows, cast off, and finally sewed it all together. How I loved that yellow jumper! At some point I had started a new jumper, a cream colored Aran covered in cables but for some reason I stopped knitting & Nan found someone to finish it for us. Now looking back on this she must have thought I stood a good chance of finishing it or I would never have been allowed to begin such a project. Although perfectly proficient at cables I only ever remember her knitting a handful of such projects & she certainly didn't want to get left with my big jumper! Maybe she just found plainer knitting more relaxing? I wish now that I had sat down & talked with her about her knitting, and I can't think why on earth we didn't, but she passed away almost three years ago now. For a long time any suggestions that I try knitting again were met with a definite No. Knitting was Nan's thing. But in recent months I began to feel that it would possibly be a nice thing to try, to be able to carry on a craft that she loved.
So Easter week I found a basic cardigan pattern that I liked online, looked out an old pair of her needles, found some instructions on how to cast on & began. I discovered that knitting is like riding a bike! In no time at all it felt like a totally natural and relaxing thing to be doing and after one evening I had this...
At the shop I had given in to four colors of lovely soft merino; this red, a lime green, a dusky pink, & a cream and I decided to play with a stripe pattern as I worked my way up the back of the cardigan. I really wasn't too sure about the stripes but apart from worrying over that I was having fun. After a few days, and with some more reference to my trusty Needlecrafts book, the back was finished...
I was working my way up the second front, still not totally convinced by the stripes (but egged on by the family) when I remembered that I hadn't checked the tension! Whoops! So out with the tape measure &, big surprise, it was out. Well that decided the fate of the stripes - out it all came! Now if not stripes what could I come up with for those four colors? Never one to pick the easy route (!) I found myself increasingly drawn to Fair Isle patterns. I know, after spending one week knitting - am I mad or what?! I looked at a variety of patterns online, consulting the knitting chapter in my big needlecrafts book some more, and finally requesting some books on Fair Isle from the regional online library catalogue. Two of these are now in my possession (the 200 Fair Isle Designs by Mary Jane Mucklestone seems especially good so far!) & I have started on a new back for my cardigan. I think my Nan would have had a chuckle over my madness at attempting this so soon, and I have had more than a few moments where I have wished I could just call her up & ask her something, but overall??? I am absolutely loving it! Would you like to see where I have gotten to now? OK then, just for you...
 Do you like my natty point protector? Yes it is an eraser, I might cut it down a bit & get another one out of the other end... now for a closer look at the knitting... 
 This is what the back looks like...
I think I'm doing ok, the floats (those bits of yarn that run horizontally across the back) are nice & stretchy & I think from what I've read that the unevenness in some of the stitches when viewed from the front will even out once I've secured all those ends (!) & washed & blocked the finished cardigan... I'm definitely much happier with this than with the stripes, this time round I can actually see myself wearing it (which is, kinda, pretty much, the whole point! duh!) Also if any of you long time knitters out there have any hints or tips for me they would be very welcome!
Thank you for stopping by today, I hope you have a lovely week whatever you are up to :-)


  1. awesome! You are brave to attempt such a fancy pattern! Can't wait to see the finished article!

    1. Thanks Dvorah! Oh yes you will probably see me in it a lot when it's done, the yarn is so snuggly :-) Love those little birdies you are working on (can't remember where I saw them now) have a great week,
      Helen xx

  2. Yoohoo! I'm still alive, lol! Sorry I've been awol for ages :-)
    OMG! I am gobsmacked woman! I've been knitting for 32 years on and off (mainly on) and I still don't dare do fairisle, lol! Sorry no tips from me but looking at that you can give me some :-)
    Amazing achievement and so pretty too, well done you! Applause!
    Lori xxxxxxx

    1. Yay for being alive! lol ;-) I know you are flat out busy, just love seeing all your new goodies! Awww, thank you, you should give it a go - if I can do it anyone can ;-) That book says "you learnt to knit with one strand you can learn to knit with two" (it also says start with a small project but I'd already started this lol) Have a great week,
      Helen xxxx

  3. That is amazing!!! Absolutely gorgeous and so clever! Love it.

    1. Awww, thanks Steph! Have a great week,
      Helen xox

  4. Brilliant knitting, I can knit but only basic stuff so seeing you knitting a fairisle pattern is inspiring. Keep up the great work, I look forward to seeing more :)

    1. Thank you Maxine! I think if I can do it anyone can, I figured the worst that could happen was it wouldn't work & I would just pull it out & try something else... There are a lot of how to videos on youtube if your local library can't help you out with a good book? I would love to see how you get on if you try some fair isle! Have a great week,


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