Monday, 14 October 2013

Jumping the queue, is it allowed?

So after progressing with my knitting passion for over seven years Himself has decreed he would like something making, specifically socks. When he first made his request I was a little dubious. This was chiefly because we had negotiated once before on the subject of knitted garments. In that case he had requested a jumper only to balk at the cost of pure wool when compared to the mass-produced, easily and cheaply acquired garments that surround us on the high street, declaring it was way too expensive, that he’d be scared to wash it and other expostulations along those lines. Sadly I stopped searching for delicious yarns and put away my patterns.

There was something different about this latest request. Firstly, he spotted the pattern in a knitting book I was browsing hungrily being absolutely in the mood to craft a pair of socks, (well, an interesting lace pair anyway). At the time I was completing a cardigan, the one from my previous post, in fact. I don’t know about you but I always yearn for a little project when I am in the midst of a big one and vice versa. Secondly this time he approached the whole thing with a level of practicality worth crediting, “I wouldn’t mind those socks, and you’ve got loads of grey wool, haven’t you?” This is true, I have a large cone of a gorgeous 4-ply, grey, slightly marled, acrylic yarn that I picked up some time ago that has been waiting hopefully in my stash to become socks. This therefore removed the main expense factor, I purchased the contrasting colour for the pattern and we were ready to go.

Sadly nothing ever runs smoothly. “I’ve got the yarn I need now, great! I’ll easily have your socks done for Christmas”, I enthused. Himself had other ideas, “Oh no, I didn’t know I’d have to wait for ages”, he mumbled sadly. Therein lies the problem. At this time of year I inevitably start to plan Christmas presents for friends and family, and this year is no exception; matching Father and Son hats and a shawl/scarf currently await my attention, not to mention the gorgeous baby llama cardigan that I have had the wool for since summer but which unfortunately remains untouched.

So the question, do I allow Himself to jump the queue? Admittedly he didn’t know there was a queue. Also, not all the people on my present list know they are on it so in theory it wouldn’t hurt to re-jig my list slightly. Mainly, I am so delighted to find some enthusiasm from someone so close to me about my hobby that I know I will accede to his request. Only last year I began a jumper eight weeks before Christmas when another close family member remarked off-handedly, “Ooo nice pattern...” I gamely rose to the challenge, re-jigging ensued and the jumper was finished and is popular. So this is why you find me knitting extra-large, plain grey socks (the pattern begins on the leg), two at a time for efficiency, clacking away while grumbling about the lack of lace. Secretly loving creating something for my favourite person and hoping he will love them, I’ll keep you posted.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Building Block

It's been a while. That's because I've been involved in the knitting equivalent of reading a good Thriller; that is one minute the plot and characters are progressing merrily and the next minute the tension starts to build and twists and turns head towards a significant ending. At a certain point in the cardigan I have been working on for a while I realised I was "doing the last bits", (this occurred a couple of days ago). Suddenly rising in me is a feeling of urgency where before there was none and something in my mind demands, "you must finish this cardigan quickly there is no time to lose!" This is confusing. Time is no shorter than when I started the cardigan. Aside from the fact I have my next project lined up I have no deadline. The season which would have suited this garment best has passed  and I know there will be plenty of Summers where it can experience its debut. Still, the prevailing feeling that I must hurtle towards the conclusion continued, until tonight I completed it, phew!

Apart from one thing of course, blocking. As part of the process of "coming down" from the anxiety of missing an invisible deadline here is the blocking in progress, the refresher on how to wet block from a fabulous you tube vid by KnitPicks. Between blogging and blocking have I time to consider my next project, socks for Himself? ..... Yeah!! ;-)

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Just one more line...

Last night Himself asked me if he could watch his less than relaxing TV series on DVD, I gladly agreed and took myself off upstairs with, unsurprisingly, my knitting. Now by the time I was ready to start it occurred to me that it was a) gone 9.30pm, b) that I was really tired and therefore c) I wouldn't get much done before I was too tired. Still, with weary eyes and a rather persistent cat yowling and stomping on me I persisted, for this fits into my essential mentality.

That mentality is this: all time, no matter how long or short, is knitting time. I am known to always have multiple projects on the go. Certainly an element of that is to have a small project for short car journeys where I am to be a passenger, a bigger one for snuggling on the sofa, and definitely a project on circular needles for travelling by train as folks do tend to take umbrage to being periodically poked with a knitting needle, albeit the blunt end!

As it turned out I managed two rows before sleep was inevitable. This knitting session was at least ended by me sliding my hard won stitches down my needles and placing the project safely on the floor. In the past Himself has occasionally become an accidental stabbing victim on getting into bed and encountering my knitting poised half way through a stitch where I have dropped into sleep letting it slip onto the mattress beside me! Luckily he is a wise fellow who understands the time each piece represents and carefully puts it to one side for me.

So, considering only two rows were completed was it worth starting? Should you perhaps wait until you have a wonderful free afternoon stretching ahead of you before grabbing your half finished jumper or beginning sock two? I would say not. I find more and more with the demands life puts on my time that I want to pluck every bit of knitting time from my day, a couple of moments of relaxation that totally belong to me. I can't say I complete anything any quicker by utilising these snatched moments of time, but it's a stealthy part of my hobby, and slightly eccentric too, which I like.

Friday, 6 September 2013

The Fibre of my Being

So, it's about yarn. Well, that's not enough really. It's about threads of all kinds. Fibres of all kinds. Because it is these threads that occupy my time in the main, these balls of cotton and jute, these skeins of alpaca and silk, these delicious hanks of wool just scratchy enough to feel like "the real thing", whatever that may be. 

I like to draw ideas and think about them for ages, then make them. I love encountering three seemingly disparate balls of yarn that long to be a fabulous hat and knit it on the fly. I love to follow patterns of all kinds a create beautiful things that spring from the pages of a book or magazine to become a real, tactile garment or accessory that will be enjoyed for years to come.

In short I love to knit, and crochet, and spin, and a few other fibre-related arts to boot. When I knit I find myself in a deep world full of creativity, mathematics, thoughts and ideas. I have many notebooks on the go and it is a delight to me to find one that has been mislaid for a while and encounter an idea long forgotten, just waiting to be explored. I can't say they all work out; the jumper that would have better suited a child was sadly frogged and the allegedly smooth beautifully shaped shawl that turned out more ruffly than an episode of 'The Tudors' is still waiting in a lonely corner to meet the same fate! But surely
 that is a joyful part of the process? Creating strange and wonderful things that teach valuable lessons while engaging my hands and mind.

This blog will follow my fibre-related exploits, and a few other bits and pieces. I hope you enjoy reading it.