Monday, August 22, 2016

Knitting: A History

Once upon a time, there was a woman who loved to knit. She was pretty good at it, having been knitting since she was four years old, but she still wouldn't have described herself as a great knitter. Enthusiastic, yes. She was a member of a knitting group, read every knitting book and magazine within her reach (and she lived near the Chapel St Borders, so that was a lot of reading) and was slowly but surely building up her stash.

One afternoon she had a great time finishing up a few projects. Pride in jobs well done swelled within her, and she longed to tell someone how happy she was with her work. There was her boyfriend, he was supportive, even if he did lose that Doctor Who scarf she had knitted him; but no, he probably wouldn't quite get it.

Then the woman remembered: the internet! Surely out there, someone might be interested in her knitting too! So she started a blog about her knitting. As she had a lot of spare time on her hands she got a lot of knitting done, and it all went into her blog. Over time her knitting improved, her ideas grew, her skills increased: all fodder for her blog.

The boyfriend was removed, a husband appeared. Jobs changed, knitting continued. A move to another country, new knitting stores to explore. The return home (knitting on the plane), an unexpected (but very welcome) pregnancy meant the knitting turned to baby clothes. A sharp twist of fate and a knitting competition won meant a major change in the woman's perception of her hobby. It was a craft, and one she was obviously good at.

The woman started up a business, finishing other knitter's work, and knitting pink baby clothes for a second baby. Two under two doesn't leave a lot of free knitting time, but they have to sleep sometime. Over the next few years, as her children got older and her business got more and more clients the woman felt her own knitting slipping away from her. Her blogging became less frequent, more desperate plans when it did happen, until eventually it stopped. She stopped knitting for herself entirely. No time.

Clients work took up all of her knitting time, what little of it there was. The woman didn't mind, she loved her business. The customers were all lovely and there's a lot of satisfaction in a job well done. The rest of her time was her family, who had their own little set of troubles that took up more time than anyone had. Bad sleep, constant stress made the woman doubt her own sanity sometimes, but without the calming influence of her own knitting.

Life went on in this fashion for a while. Then one day the woman was at a market and bought some yarn. It was cria alpaca, handspun, soft and springy, and in a mottled green that sings to the soul. The woman decided to knit a cowl. There was only 50g, not enough for anything much, but a small cowl might be nice.

So, for the first time in a long time, knitting just for her happened. The woman didn't push herself to finish the cowl in two days (which she could have done, it was a really easy pattern) but took her time, pacing herself, getting the rhythm back, slowly getting her speed back. Muscle memory is a very useful trait. After a week, the woman had a finished cowl. She was pleased, bordering on excited. She wanted to tell someone how happy she was with her work. There was her husband, he was very supportive, always wearing anything she knitted him and encouraging her; but no, he didn't seem quite right for this (plus, he had a new video game).

Then the woman remembered: the internet! Surely out there, someone might be interested in her knitting too! So she returned to her blog about her knitting and realised something.

It was ten years since her first post. So long ago, but the feeling hadn't changed. The need to scream "Look at this! I can create with my hands and I'm rather happy about it!" was back and the woman fervently hoped that it would never go away. She wasn't going to force it, or make lists, or declarations, but she might try to carve out a bit of time to herself. Just for knitting for herself. The way it had started.

Here's to another ten years.

* A big thank you to Melindy for my new knitting mascot. He's perfect!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Octover: Trinity

It's the end of October, and nothing I planned to get done happened. NOTHING.

Normally, I would be rather upset about this. "I'm hopeless, I never finish anything, I can't get it all done wah wah wah...". I'm not devastated, however, because I have jobs. Many jobs. Many big jobs *snigger*.

The following is what work I have on:

1. Knit a beanie for Morris & Sons.
2. Tidy up and replace the food in Irabina's Hungry Caterpiller set with amigurumi.
3. Knit neck and armbands on a HUGE vest then seam up.
4. Button bands, sew up and embroidery on two baby cardigans.
5. Finish knitting a customer's jacket for them because "I just can't face it anymore" (any true knitter can understand this feeling).
6. Crochet a set of four placemats for Morris & Sons.
7. Knit up two Christmas stockings for Morris & Sons.
8. Sew up a blanket made of teeny tiny triangles and sew all the ends in for a customer.
9. Knit up a cowl for Morris & Sons.

The best part is that so many diverse projects means I'll never get bored! Let's start with the beanie: "Cast on 112 stitches and knit 2 x 2 rib for 60 rows."


Maybe a little bored.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Octover 2: The Quickening

My knitting life collapsed somewhat.

I had plans! SO MANY PLANS! I was going to finish the baby shawl (for the baby who is now here - smeg) and my new cardigan, and maybe, just maybe, the last two Sherlock squares.

I got cocky, kid. I had plenty of time, and a Netflix account. What could possibly stop me?

Hubris, maybe?

Instead I have four pieces of knitting to finish in the next three days and I think I might go crazy. Or possibly die of caffeine overdose.

I love it when it gets like this...

(* Disclaimer: that's a stock photo. My knitting disasters are far more subtle than that.)

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Octover: Winter-een-mas for crafting

First off, today the most perfectly gorgeous little boy turns six. Our Marcus is an adorable pain-in-the-butt, and we love him to pieces. For those of you who didn't know him when he was younger:

Absolutely beautiful. Also about to go into a diabetic coma.

I've been very neglectful of my knitting the last few weeks. I've started some new medication, and the side effect appears to be complete apathy. This is a drawback in a knitter/sewer/craftswoman/parent, and I feel the need to get over it. I wanted to join the Penelope KAL over at Untangling Knots but hit a snag when I saw it was knitted from the top down: I have the main colour (dark grey Zara) but not the contrast (hot pink Bendigo Milky Way) as I need to order it in and thanks to a certain child's birthday/Royal Mebourne Show/school holidays we're stony broke until next week.

The way my mind works is that I feel that if I don't start the KAL the day it starts I won't catch up. It seems rather silly, but it's true, I won't. I pointed this out to Felix and asked if I had too many projects going at the moment to which he managed to not burst out laughing and simply agreed.

So I'm going to spend the next month finishing things off so I can throw myself into new projects (like the cardigan I cast on last week). Felix was pressed for a name and that's how we have "Octover". Pretty clever, isn't it?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Truer words never spoken

Advice sent to me by my mother in law:

(Hey Sue, does this include quilting?)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Adventures in bed

Gutter minds, the lot of you. Truth is, I'm on bed rest. Doctor-mandated bed rest due to bronchitis.

It's a knitter's dream come true!

So I spent yesterday afternoon in bed (followed by hours glued to the internet and ABC news due to our nation's ridiculous political situation) knitting on the baby shawl. I have a very nice little chart I've worked up for how many rows I need to knit every day to get it done before the baby arrives, and due to the need to sew all last week I'm very behind, so bed rest will help me catch up. Once I hit today's quota I'l do that and get back to my Sherlock Square #11.

I'm currently typing while sitting up in bed, so I might get back to the arduous task of knitting and working my way through "Mr Robot".

Sucks to be me.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Welcome to Slackersville, population: me

It's that time of the year again, Royal Melbourne Show season. Did I manage to finish my shawl for the competition? Nope. Did I block my blanket for the competition? Nope.Felix's Fair Isle vest? Nope. Did I start the alpaca scarf for the competition? Hell, nope.

Instead I'm entering one piece of embroidery and going back to work on the shawl and my Sherlock blanket squares. I need to have the shawl finished by the end of the month due to a baby coming, but otherwise I might cut myself some slack.

Only a smidge, mind you.