Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Is this the cutest thing I have ever knit?

It can't be too far off.

Sheep Yoke Baby Cardigan from Looking Glass Knits (Rav link)

There's still some work to do - duplicate stitching on the sheep, blocking and weaving in ends. But it is so adorable already. So adorable in fact that I'm going to do another one - and maybe get my knitting maths out to re-size it to teeny tiny baby size.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

How it all started

I was reading Doogarry's blog the other day - more specifically this post, and it got me thinking about how I got started - and re-started - knitting.

Like Doogarry, and I'd say most our our generation, I learnt to knit at primary school. I wasn't particularly good at it. In fact, my brother was significantly better. That was usually the way - I was the book worm, he was the practical, hands-on person. For a long time my creativity was channeled towards the written word, anything artistic or creative tended to be beyond me, and I felt more in control of pen or the keyboard than needles or paintbrushes (we will gloss over the apron I was forced to make in 1st year of secondary school, and my dreadful attempts in compulsory art classes).

I picked up the knitting needles only once in my teenage years. There was a rule in our house that TV could only be watched in the daytime if you were doing something constructive at the same time. I was a football fan, so the household ironing usually got done on a Saturday afternoon as a result. At one stage, there must have been either a lot of football or not a lot of ironing, so I picked up the needles again and made a teddy bear. He's still around somewhere. When DH saw him for the first time he nicknamed him "roadkill teddy". I was in my mid 20s before I knit another stitch.

In 2005 I was living in Vilnius, Lithuania. I was on duty over the Christmas period, so couldn't get home. My parents decided they would visit me instead. I was all set for their arrival - with one difficulty - they were getting in at 3am. Local television (even when I could understand it) wasn't great after 10pm, and after about midnight turned a little "blue". I needed something to occupy me so I wouldn't fall asleep waiting for them. I spotted knitting needles and cheap acrylic in the supermarket and embarked on a scarf. It kept me awake for the evening, and reignited my knitting knowledge. A friend showed me how to cable and knit in the round a few weeks later, and my first 'grown-up' FO was born - a hot water bottle cozy. Alas the scarf never made it... tiny needles and squeaky acrylic, I was never going to finish it.

When I returned to Ireland I discovered This is Knit - sock knitting classes, lace classes, hauling myself into Blackrock when heavily pregnant, and later using my precious hours of 'me-time' to slip back in and replenish my stash. And now, scheduling trips in there when I'm back home, because it wouldn't be a trip home without a visit.

Somewhere along the way, I discovered that while I may be more comfortable with the written word, the stitch-by-stitch nature of knitting means I have discovered some practical creativity. I've learnt things about colour and texture and materials I thought I would never grasp. I've made some incredible friends - some of whom I have yet to actually physically meet.

It has been a very interesting journey.

FOs: Eyelet yoke cardigan and Drops baby cardigan

It's been a productive week.

Three and a half hours spent sitting at the local hospital having blood tests to rule out gestational diabetes meant lots of extra time for knitting. Add that to an enforced deadline of Wednesday night for one of the baby cardigans and you get two FOs within the space of just over a week.

FO 1: Eyelet yoke cardigan (Rav link) (pattern link)
This was a gift for A's teacher. She's due her second around the same time I am, and as school finished on Thursday, and Belgians aren't quite as superstitious as the Irish about giving baby gifts so early, I decided I'd do a little baby cardigan for her. Of course, I only decided this on Saturday evening.
It turned out quite nice. I wasn't 100% happy with it - once again I neglected to calculate the gauge properly (you'd think I'd have learnt by now), so it turned out huge. And there was no indication of dimensions or length in the pattern so there was a bit of guess work required. Overall, though it made a cute cardigan, it's a lovely pattern and I suspect it may make an appearance again. Madame S seemed to like it too.

I found the buttons in the depths of my knitting basket. I'm sure I got them for some specific purpose ages ago, but they seemed made for this little cardigan.

FO 2: Drops baby cardigan (Rav link) (pattern link)
My first attempt at a drops pattern. It felt a bit like the knitting equivalent of riding a bike without stabilisers for the first time! As @bioniclaura told me on twitter... more like guidelines than a pattern. Well, the guidelines worked wonders. I did have to resort to pen and paper to map out the yoke, just to be sure I had it right. I'd grabbed some lovely cotton/milk fibre yarn (Linea Pura Latte from Lana Grossa) as I was running out the door to the hospital on Wednesday, so had to cast on with what I had. The stitch gauge was right, but I'm not sure the row gauge was. Something went wrong with the neckline in any case. But I love it. If the yarn blocks as nicely as I expect it to, I'll be doing a few more of these - I bought quite a bit of the yarn a while ago, but never quite figured out what to do with it.

Next up? A hat to match the drops cardigan (already cast off). And then, when I get a quiet evening, finally plucking up the courage to do that steeking I've been putting off...