It’s raining mitts

I have about a million things I probably should be knitting – or doing, depending on your perspective, but I’ve been applying for jobs and I have an interview on Friday, so that’s something. I have a jacket to finish that I started up when I was on holiday in Chile this August. There’s not that much to go…actually, I lie, I have to finish one of the fronts, knit the sleeves, knit the collar and then sew the whole thing together and I will, I will, but working out where I was before I got on a plane seems like too much of a headache right now.

And there’s all the magnificent inspiration I got from the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace last weekend (and the wish I had a never ending pot of money so I could buy all the yarn that I fell in love with…and the wish I could sew so that I could do something with all that amazing fabric) but that’s a whoooole other post. Partly because the photos are still on my camera.

So I wanted something super easy and super quick that I could knit up with some of the leftover yarn I had from my hooded cardigan. I started one of the new Deramores hats:

                                             Image

(Pattern avaliable here)

But uh, it turned out that I didn’t have enough yarn, despite thinking that I had enough yarn. So, halfway through the hat, I had to rip the hat apart D:

So, mitts, then.

I used Kate Turnbull’s Basic Fingerless Mitts pattern on Ravelry (add me, by the way, I’m faeriejaqi), for simplicity and also because I wanted something I could knit flat. I have knitted in the round, and I will knit more in the round because sewing up is my nemesis, but I didn’t want to have to work out what circular needles I actually have, and hey, my straights were sitting right there. My next mitts challenge will be in the round. Probably. And I know what everyone I know will be getting for Christmas. Sorry.

I knitted myself a pair first:

Image

Simple, and toasty! Kept my hands warm this cold rainy Sunday out for lunch in London, anyway. Having seen them, my mum decided she wanted a pair, so I pilfered her left over hank of Rowan Colourspun Chunky to make her a pair. Any excuse to knit with some Rowan yarn!

Image

ImageImage

I think she likes them.

So now I’m kinda hooked on mitts. I want to do more complicated ones! I want to do them in the round! I want cables, and stitch patterns and I think I might just have to experiment. Do you have a favourite mitten pattern?

An introduction — of sorts

I’ve always been crafty – or at least wished I was. When I was younger, attempts at any sort of crafting tended to turn out into a PVA mangled mess, wonky sewing, and broken machine needles. I can’t really “art” – I can copy somewhat decently, but coming up with my own ideas and designs always seemed harder, and again, ended up wonkyand looking nothing like I’d intended. All my grand ideas (I can always see something in my head) never looked like that in reality.

My grandma tried to teach me to knit when I was young. Considering she passed away when I was six, and I’m left handed, and was incredibly cack-handed back then, this was probably not a Good Idea. I don’t remember much about it, but I remember that I definitely could not do it. I put knitting to the back of my head as something I was never going to be able to achieve, like ice skating (that’s really not going to happen. Trust me.) Once, at university, in a fit of crafty desire, and a surfeit of time borne of a bout of depression, I bought a massive cross stitch pattern of Kirk and Spock. I’ve never finished it, although I don’t think I’ve done too badly for someone who had no idea what she was really doing other than making little crosses in the fabric. It’s still around somewhere.

Moving into the classroom dug out some craftyness – I found I quite enjoyed decorating the classroom, and creating things to stick up, and that continued into my teaching practice. And then I found myself battling myself, my anxieties, depression and my general idea of failure once again.

I returned to knitting. And I failed. Mum and I bought some Rowan yarn in a John Lewis sale, and I started trying to learn to knit and purl under her guidance. I just could not get it. The stitches made no sense to me. Why was that piece of wool going that way? Where was that one meant to go? WHAT ARE THESE NEEDLES?

Later, job in hand, confidence boosted somewhat, although no desire to ever be teaching my own class again, I was determined to be able to do something I could feel proud of. I had this yarn, so I went back again. Third time lucky -it worked! The stitches made sense! Suddenly I had a row, and another, and I was working in stocking stitch. I moved to my Rowan yarn, and started the stripy scarf, a simple case of large blocks of two colours. I dropped stitches – I handed the knitting to my mum, unable to work out how to pick them up (I learned when she went on holiday, leaving my knitting to me and me alone – who else would pick up the dropped stitch?) In general though, it went incredibly smoothly, and I ended up with this:

Image

I haven’t really stopped since then – 9 months ago – and I’ve learnt to knit on DPNs and circular needles, work cables, do a hood, pick up stitches (…something to develop more) and knitted garments for me, friends and the most adorable baby in the world. You’ll see pictures of her soon. I haven’t managed lace yet, or socks. That’s next on the agenda. Knitting for me now is something therupetic that can get me through when everything else is falling apart around me. I’ve recently ended up back at square one again, and although I might have given up on that, I haven’t given up on knitting, and I’m going to improve, and design, and generally just…find my way.

Oh, and I cook. I love to cook. I cook mostly following the principles of Slimming World, so you’ll find Slimming World friendly stuff here – and not so Slimming World friendly when I just can’t avoid baking cake. I also like to make gluten free stuff for one of my best friends whenever I see her, and my most recent GF accomplishment was Pizza Hut Style GF Pizza. SO GOOD.

So, that’s me. I’ll doubtless share more as time goes on, but for now, enjoy the amalgam of knitting, cooking, me trying (and failing?) to be more crafty, and whatever else floats my boat. I’m looking forward to meeting you!