Friday, March 25, 2011

Knit Bits

When I was young, I was very close to my mother's mother. She was a minister's wife and the most comforting and genteel lady. Her apartment was an oasis of calm in a life that was rarely calm - while my parents were wonderfully loving, their semi-hippie lifestyle (minus the drugs) and my mother's lack of interest in the homemaking department as well as living in some pretty rough places (partly their ministry, partly the result of being poor money managers) made home a pretty chaotic place. Grandma's place was the opposite - clean, quite and filled with comfort.

I will always associate my wonderful grandmother with the lovely things that she knit. She was northern Irish and along with her softly accented voice, Ireland had given her a skill with knitting. This was the late 70's/early 80's and my grandmother was the queen of the legwarmers. I had them to go with every outfit. She also specialized in cozy mittens and, what we loved most, her toasty bedsocks.

When I was about 9, she taught me to knit. I never progressed very far. I remember making a blanket for my Barbie doll and I believe that there were endless attempts at scarves never finished but I did learn to knit, to cast on and off and to purl. Then, when I was 11, she died and the knitting left my life, too.

When I was in my late teens, I was cleaning out at mom's house and found my grandmother's knitting needle case. I was curious and got out some yarn. I was pleased to discover that I could still remember the basic stitches. At that point, a love affair was born. I may dabble in scrapbooking or quilting but truly, I am a knitter at heart and when I knit, I feel closer to this special women.

One on the drawbacks of being largely self-taught is that there are certain techniques that I avoid since I wasn't sure I could figure them out on my own. One such technique was knitting with different colours. Last winter, I decided it was time to learn and I took a course at the knitting shop in town. To my surprise, it was incredibly easy. In the two classes, I managed to make a fairly decent pair of mittens, although they were a bit large since I tend to knit loosely. The teacher suggested that I begin knitting with a pair of needles smaller than the pattern size. The mitten pattern came with a matching hat pattern that I decided recently to make.

As you can see from the photos below, while the technique was mastered, the size, not so much. What was supposed to be a hat for me resulted in a hat that fits Baby Bean fairly well. Let's hope it matches his coat next winter!

Knitting dishcloths is probably a silly use of my time given that I could buy a pack at the dollar store but I am finding these are really fun. I have a short attention span and it's fun to make something that I can use and make it in an hour or so. These two patterns (left and right) came from Ravelry (if you are a knitter and haven't been on Ravelry, YOU MUST GO NOW!!!)
This was a pattern I grabbed to start some Easter cloths. There's a woman who does wonderful collections of patterns for different seasons and celebrations and she has a super cute set of Easter cloths but her patterns are not free and I am not sure I can justify spending money on patterns right now when they are available for free. This worked up very quickly.
This was another dishcloth that I did just for something to do. This was another wonderful free pattern.
For Baby Bean, I have been working on a blanket. I made him this blanket before he was born and he has used it for every nap and at night since he was born (I know, you aren't supposed to use any blankets but when you have a little guy who doesn't sleep, you will try anything and a blanket always seemed to help). Since he starts daycare in three weeks, I wanted to send him with one like he has at home to bring him some comfort. I finished this two days ago and I am quite happy with it. It's knit in Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo, which works up with a nice softness and weight. The pattern is in the booklet Baby Bamboo Too.

A friend showed me the pattern for this super-cute reversible duck/bunny and I have gotten it started. I hope to finish one for Pk and one for Baby Bean for Easter. So far, it's a bit fussy but very cute.And finally, the perfect project to use up little bits and bobs of yarn - these super cute Easter eggs. I have no idea what I will use them for but Pk loves them and they give me a chance to play with lots of different yarns. I am truly addicted!
I'm off to knit. Have a lovely evening!


  1. Thanks, Jessica! That's high praise from you, who has such a talent for thoughtful blogging!

  2. I'm totally impressed, having no talent or patience for such crafty things. It's too many things to keep track of and get tangled, and I'm a bit of a spaz. I'm a whiz on etsy, though...

  3. Hello, Kittenpie, you are the queen of the glorious stained glass, remember? You are totally impressive!
    Must say, though, I also love etsy.

  4. Oh, I so want to knit! I love those items youve made! Gorgeous! I want to knit all sorts of things, but I find myself impatient, haha. I can't sit at it for very long before I'm off to the next project. I did learn to do the knit, cast on and off, and made my daughter a purse, though. I really want to try making that duck! So cute!