Devil Yarn

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Flushed with Seaweed Scarf success, I thought I’d attempt my other ‘fashion’ yarn scarf. It was supposed to be a light-weight, ornamental scarf – perfect for all that spring weather we’ve been having in amongst snow storms, arctic gales and subzero temperatures.

Turns out it is indeed light-weight (approx two knotted rows were completed), but alas I fear it falls down in the ‘ornamental’ category. It is, in fact, the work of the devil and I would happily throw the whole lot into a nearby skip.

I promise, I did try. I looked for YouTube tutorials. I trawled through enthusiastic American video clips promising – hot on the heels of the seaweed scarf glory – more moments of, “Wow, knitting genius, how have you managed that!?”

Unfortunately, I ended up with this:

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I’m not sure where ‘perseverance’ ends and ‘flogging a dead horse’ begins. I would guess I was well into horse flogging before I had to take a deep breath and put the knotted horror down. What this image doesn’t convey is the endless casting on attempts and knitting the first row…quite a few times.

I’m not sure what kind of devil yarn I managed to discover at Olympia that day, but it is safe to say that it is buried in my clip-it box under a load of superchunky. Laughing at me. The swine.

KnitWit

Seaweed Scarf – Completed

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This is the finished seaweed scarf, hurray!

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KnitWit

Eureka Moments!

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I watched a programme the other night about creative thinking. It was really interesting and showed a small experiment with a random group of strangers. The group was asked to list how many practical uses a brick could have, however wacky the idea. The group was then split into two groups. One group was sat down and just left to stare into space, the other group was given the repetitive and easy task of building objects out of small bricks. After a few minutes the two groups were brought back and asked again to list uses for the brick. The group left to stare into space didn’t come up with any ground-breaking ideas, but interestingly the other group came up with loads.

It really struck me, whilst watching the programme, that I do have moments of genius thinking whilst I sit there with my repetitive and easy piece of knitting. Tricky patterns aside, the rhythmic and repetitive style of knitting allows my mind to wander and I do have moments where tricky problems are solved that have been perculating in my brain for a few days.

I must clarify at this point, that I haven’t gone so far as to find the cure for cancer – but little problems do have a habit of working themselves out during these points of calm. One such problem the other day was suddenly solved when I was starting my latest WIP – a Wingspan scarf.

With the newly purchased packet of stitch markers, I have cracked-on and started this potentially tricky pattern. The final product should look like this:

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To the trained eye you can probably spot the ‘short rows’ on this beast. Frantic YouTube-ing led me to a great clip on how to ‘turn’ the work to create these steps in the pattern. As I was merrily knitting away, complete with my new-found ‘turning’ skills I suddenly had a Eureka! moment. I’d seen this sinister ‘turn’ instruction before! At the time I’d casually closed the book, kicked it away, and pretended I hadn’t seen it. This accompanied by the strange instruction to ‘S1K’ and S1P’ had caused me to block out the potential horror.

Upon this brainwave I was filled with glee – I’d seen the ‘turn’ instruction before in the pattern for the longest ever work-in progress that is the dreaded ELEPHANT! I had previously had a vision of the worlds first headless elephant toy for a child. Not great.

Fear not though readers – together with my newly acquired skill I have now completed the head of the elephant without too much difficulty and this beast is one step closer to completion. Just the ears and the tusks to go…

KnitWit

Seaweed Scarf

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Despite LouBug’s total ‘dissing’ of this Cha Cha Cha yarn, I’m very excited to see how it will turn out.

This yarn is perfect for the lazy knitter. Some of my knitting projects have taken AGES to complete, and yet appear completely unremarkable. This yarn is very easy to knit, takes no time at all and yet looks VERY COMPLICATED. Hurray!

Seasoned knitters aside, mere mortals will exclaim (after the initial response of “why are you wearing seaweed around your neck?”):

“How on earth have you managed to knit that?! You must be a knitting genius!”

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On completion I will be maintaining an air of mystery as to how I have created such a wonder, but will secretly know that the Cha Cha Cha yarn does all the work.

After a brief tutorial (again YouTube), I am away creating my underwater delight. Just knit along the top of the frill, leave a few inches between the next stitch and fluff out as you go. What could be easier?

Progress report soon.

KnitWit

Knitting for Others

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One thing that always fascinates me is how much knitters have in common. Some of you might boggle at this statement, but we are all doing the same hobby, so why shouldn’t we have things in common? Then I ask you to picture your typical knitter. Does s/he have blue hair or a blue rinse? Does s/he have a dozen cats or a dozen piercings? Old? Young? Male? Female? Punk rocker or rocking chair? Can you even picture a single knitter and find another one just like him/her?

Take me and KnitWit. Physically we are different (I am obviously the one that looks like a supermodel); she has an online business, I am a teacher; she makes egg cosies, I make lace shawls; she uses yarn that could double as rope, I use yarn that could double as sewing thread; she learned in her thirties, I learned to knit aged eight. Unsurprisingly, our projects and stashes reflect this and despite being sisters we are definitely inhabiting different poles on planet knit.

The same is true for all of us and the more you look, the less we knitters have in common.

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Until you look at our track record for helping others.

Charity knitting, money-raising events or simply making a blanket for a friend’s new baby, even us self-appointed “selfish knitters” have all knit something to help others. Big or small, public or personal, group or individual; knitters seem to be drawn to doing things for others. It seems to be hardwired into our woolly DNA. It is also a bit of a chicken and the egg moment, are knitters naturally generous or does knitting draw out the natural generosity in us all? Could we make the world a kinder place by making knitting compulsory for everyone?

Knitted Village – Charity Venture Alexandra Palace 2012

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This generosity, this kindness in us, isn’t just about knitting for others. How many of us have taught someone else? How many of us have dug deep into our precious stashes to furnish new knitters with materials or to donate to charity knits? You hear about tales on Ravelry about people needing just 5 meters of a particular yarn in a particular dye lot. And you know that before the sun has set on that post that everyone reading it would have carefully checked their stash and those finding the right yarn would be happily sending it halfway around the world to a complete stranger. And you also know that they will do this anonymously and with no thought of reward and for no reason other than they understand the howling level of frustration on being in that position.

I think there should be a new collective term for knitters (although I don’t know what we are currently called). I think we should be known as “a kindness of knitters”.

So, what moments of knitterly kindness have you received? I can definitely count my nana teaching me at 8, 14 and 18 as an example of saintly kindness! As well as the lovely ladies at my knit group who both introduced me to, and helped me on, my first socks.

LouBug

Cable Cowl

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I planned on making a Gruyere, leek and potato pie. This fell by the woolly wayside and I ended up with a knitted cowl instead! Fear not readers, domestic duties didn’t completely crash and burn. No KnitWit offspring were harmed in the making of this neck-warmer. No minors weren’t left to chew left-over super chunky – a hastily defrosted spag bol saved the day.

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As promised, it was super-speedy and really straight forward to knit. Through no fault of the pattern (by Paulina Chin – Ravelry), mine has taken on the dual function of neck warmer and neck brace. I guess, technically, the super chunky wool I used should have been on 20mm (rather than 10mm) needles and so has left the wool rather stiff. Hey ho – it still looks great!

I have great plans for the left-over wool, that involves the purchase of two broom handles (more on that another time, mwaha ha ha ha!).

KnitWit

Blue, Blue, Electric Blue…

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That is the colour of … my next scarf!

After my brief forray into the world of super-chunky wool, resulting in the birth of two chunky cable hats, I am back. This time I think a scarf is in order. It avoids the ever-present issue of “Hat Hair”, that is never far from my mind on a cold day when I weigh up “Frozen Cranium” against “Vanity”.

This vanity is, of course, comically misplaced. I mostly cruise around with a half-scrubbed array of snot/handprints/old food clinging to me – but one must draw the line at crushed hair. I do have some standards.

Under the tutelage of LouBug, I have gone down the Ravelry route. A quick search for “Chunky Cable Scarf” in their patterns section chucked up a mere 337 matches. After filtering free/knitting/photo/super-bulky I had only 40 left to browse.

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Being a giant knitting baby, I opted for the “super speedy” option from Paulina Chin. It looks great in the photo, and I do already have several (whisper) shop bought long chunky scarves. This cowl will make an interesting alternative. Plus, if it looks hideous I won’t have spent months making it :-).

If the pattern is to be believed, I’ll have this baby knitted up before you can say, “Oh, is that the end of ‘The Good Wife’ already?! Oh, and look – I have a new cowl!”

Wish me luck!

KnitWit

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