Sunday, January 22, 2012

2011 was the Year of Knitting

 I really am a terrible blogger. Somehow I've managed to completely fail to mention all the knitting I've been doing.

When we moved to Melbourne, I started working as a consultant and was fortunate enough to have a terrific mentor who has been coaching me along the way and providing fabulous professional support. She's also a seamstress, knitter, quilter, textile designer, and lover of vintage. She loves knitting and when she found out that I couldn't knit she decided to teach me. It was ideal for me as I was finding it difficult to sew with fibromyalgia and my usual "couch in front of the TV" embroidery was proving too much for my hands. Knitting was a good fit.

My First Scarf
My first project was a scarf. My mentor gave me a pair of needles and four balls of yarn. The first couple of rows were a bit dodgy as I was learning tension and the art of ending the row with as many stitches as you started. Eventually though the scarf was just a long rectangle in stocking stitch which I finished in early 2011. It's nothing fancy, but it certainly got plenty of wear during my first Melbourne winter!

Once I got the hang of the basics, I was off and definitely bitten by the knitting bug. It was great to have projects that I could pick up and put down whenever I liked. I started having multiple projects on the go, some that I needed to pay attention to in order to follow the pattern and others that I could do without looking.

Red Knitted Slippers
My first project that involved something other than a straight rectangle was a pair of knitted slippers. These slippers are two pieces - a sole and an upper - worked in moss stitch using bamboo/cotton yarn. This was my first attempt at following a pattern than involved increasing and decreasing. I think they turned out pretty well. They were a little large for me, so I threaded some plaited natural yarn around the top as a drawstring to help keep them on my feet. They're nice and warm and look very cute :)

Escheresque's Birthday Rib Scarf
I soon figured out that I could knit all manner of things, not just for myself, but for friends and family. The first piece of "knitting for someone else", was a scarf I made for my good friend Escheresque. It was a rib pattern, worked in a lovely muted green yarn made of soy protein of all things. The rib pattern had some mathematical significance. Escheresque has a love of mathematics and the scarf was X* stitches long and the rib pattern alternated Y/Z*. Unfortunately I was so happy I finished it (rather belatedly as a birthday present), that I posted it before I took any photos. I will have to ask Escheresque to take some photos for me.
*Where X = Escheresque's age and Y/Z = Escheresque's birthday day and month

Mum's Birthday Infinity Scarf
This was one of those projects where I spotted the yarn first and immediately thought "Mum would love those colours". I'd remembered my Mum  had commented that she liked scarves in winter, but as a teacher found they often came undone and got caught on things while she was working with the kids. I'd seen a couple of infinity scarves around Melbourne and knew they were simply a scarf that is joined at the ends to form a big loop. The infinity scarf I made for Mum's birthday was a straight stocking stitch worked in a wool/acrylic blend yarn that had lovely purple, blue, green graduated tones. I bought a brooch made from a large button to go with it. I also made a little instruction sheet for Mum showing some of the different ways the infinity scarf can be worn.

Dr Krystal's Birthday Beanie with Flower Brooch
My fabulous birthday twin, Dr Krystal, was the recipient of my first attempt at head wear. The beanie was made from Patons Wilderness yarn (Wool/Acrylic/Viscose) in a muted mauve/purple colour. The pattern was the one that came on the yarn label. It's a simple stocking stitch beanie with a wide rib turned up edge. I felt it looked a bit plain, so I decide to make a brooch to go with it. I knitted a strip in the same yarn, pulled it into circular ruffle/flower, and sewed a button in the centre. The back was a circle of felt sewed onto the back of the flower with a brooch finding sewed to the felt. Added to the beanie, it definitely lifted the overall look. The last finishing touch was to sew a label to the inside of the beanie. I found a couple of packets of labels at Spotlight in their discount bin. The one I picked for the beanie says "Especially for you by me". The project was completed at the end of 2011 and gifted in January 2012 :)

So that was 2011 - The Year of Knitting! There will continue to be more knitting in 2012. After having made a series of gifts for friends and family, I'm currently back to knitting some things for myself. This year I plan to tackle knitting garments and venture into the sweater and cardigan territory. Maybe even dabble in some vintage knitting patterns. Most of all, I plan to actually blog about them as they are completed.

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