Knitting Without Mistakes

Elizabeth Zimmermann wrote the book “Knitting Without Tears” as a guide for knitters to learn when and where to take short cuts. Extremely witty and full of useful tips, it is a fantastic read, not just as a book of information, but as a book of encouragement.

I should have read this book on Friday before I began the task of joining two pieces of my yoga wrap together…

This simple garment comprises of two sleeves and a back. No shaping, some patterning and some rib – nothing hard. That said, I had misread the instructions and found myself re-doing the trellis pattern four times! Once I got it, I was on the home stretch. I knit across the back and then well into the 2nd sleeve before I realised I would run out of yarn. Drats!

So I unravelled the 2nd sleeve and some of the back. Rather than re-knit the sleeve in the current direction and risk running out of yarn again, I decided to knit from the band up and join the two pieces together. Makes perfect sense… until I got to the grafting!

I watched some YouTube videos and set to work. The 1×1 rib on the edge stitches looks a bit messy, but I continued… 2 hours later, I’m still going and whilst the middle section looked fine, those 1×1 rib edges are just not right (tight with a clear ditch). By the time I finish, I decide to that I wasn’t satisfied and so pulled the last 18 stitches out.

I tried everything I could think of – grafting with a wool needle, grafting by knitting, and crochet grafting. How could these stitches defeat me! This is where I needed Elizabeth Zimmermann to tell me in her reasonable voice to put my knitting down and have a cup of tea!

Instead, I pulled the stitches out again and tried making up my own version. Surely if I just glare at the stitches for long enough they will do what I want!! After searching through my books and more YouTube videos, I come to the realisation that the only way to do it is with a two step grafting technique. By now it’s too late and the tears are coming!

Why does a piece of knitting bring out such emotion? For me, my perfectionist streak comes out. I know that finishing can make or break a garment. It can ruin a neat piece of knitting by rushing to finish those dreaded seams. As I am making this garment for myself, I knew that I would be looking at those stitches and feeling disappointment every time I went to wear it.

For now my yoga wrap is sitting unfinished in a project bag. I’ll get to it again soon, after I drink some tea, read some Elizabeth Zimmermann and make peace with my knitting.

IMG_20160802_143400

Advertisements

Weaving

I’ve been looking at woven wall hangings on Pinterest for far too long! I thought that if I purchased a weaving frame (via Loom & Spindle) then I could have a go at it myself.

I studied weave for 12 weeks or so in the first year of my textile degree, so one would think that it should come back to me quite quickly.

Warping the frame was very easy and with the help of various YouTube videos, I was on my way. Tabby weave and rya knots followed by some tapestry triangles. I’m not sure how to finish the piece yet, but I am loving mixing the colours and the simplicity of cotton stitches. Creating geometric shapes is so enjoyable and relaxing.

Wall Hanging

I’ve been lusting after the colourful woven wall hangings that have been turning up on social media. The problem is that many are simple weaves with the focus on the fringing, the yarn and colour. As much as I love these, I always feel like I should try to do a version, but with knitting or crochet?

After mucking around with free form crochet, I was able to create some interesting texture by using a smaller crochet hook and thinking of each crochet row as a string of pixels. Once I added the little piece to some tree twigs and added the fringe, it is complete. I’m happy with the results and would like to make some more in other yarns and colours. These could make great little presents…

IMG_20151021_173127

IMG_20151117_100432

Crochet Cowl – Version 2

As I had such good feedback via Instagram and Facebook to my brown and blue cowl, I wanted to make another version of it, but simplifying the number of yarns used.

For this version of the Crochet Cowl, I used Rustic 8 ply (100% wool, shade 985 Sienna) from Bendigo Woollen Mills and Silky Merino DK 8 ply (90% wool/10% silk, shade 0111 Brick) from Adorn Yarns (available at The Wool Baa). I really like the combination of tweed being matt with small flecks and the wool/silk blend being shiny. These colours sit really well together.

I still have a few cms to go before it is finished, but it’s a great project to travel with and it stays interesting as every few rows the stitch changes. Probably a good second project for someone who has just started to crochet. There is enough stitches to practice and perfect as you go across each row with enough variation to not get bored.

Crochet Cowl

Crochet Cowl

I have just finished up at a job, so was looking for a small project that would get my design juices flowing and also be relaxing and therapeutic. I went through my yarn stash (three plastic tubs worth) and found I had leftovers from my previous university projects that were small amounts – not enough to make anything with but together they could make a small accessory. So this cowl was the perfect way to use up these leftovers.

Going row by row (I worked flat and then seamed), I used a combination of hand dyed and purchased yarns – Shepherd Colour 4 Me 8ply (rust and indigo), Patons Dreamtime 8ply (indigo), Adorn Silky Merino DK (140 Denim) and Grignasco Tango (204 Chocolate). I kept the stitches simple to let the yarn do the talking.

This piece is all about the texture and letting the blue break up the brown without either colour dominating. I now need to give it a hand wash and block to allow the stitches to settle. Then I can start to wear it!

Crochet Cowl

Crochet Cowl

Crochet Cowl