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24 October 2008

Stitch by stitch

Knitting has been my saving grace these past couple of days and nights. At first I couldn't concentrate on my knitting, or read a book, but with the pain easing slightly, I've taken up the needles again. I'm also reading a very interesting book, but more about that in another post. I started another Ascot scarf, for which I'm using a soft Australian 100% merino wool. The needles I'm using on this project are a pair of vintage pale aqua needles made of a very pliable soft plastic, with amber tops. They are warm in the hand and easily slide under thick wool.

I find that knitting is very similar to simple living. It's a mindful process that slows you down. It allows you to make productive that time you use to rest, and even though rest on it's own is a wonderful thing, there are many times I want to rest but still have something material come from that time. As I sit here, slowly making one stitch after another - like one small step - I know that each of those stitches is added to the overall fabric of what I'm making, just like each small step builds into a simple life.

I knitted the Ascot scarf above to wear this past winter. It's made of Lion brand organic cotton and is really soft and cuddly next to my neck. I made it wide so it's doubled over when worn to provide extra warmth. I secure it with my mum's vintage black and silver brooch/pin.

This is the rest of my recent knitting. I have a stack of cotton washcloths there that I'm adding to all the time and the red item is the beginning of a red cotton bag.

If you haven't tried knitting yet, I urge you to give it a go. You will be able to create some lovely unique things for yourself and your family and also to give as gifts for your friends. It's a truly useful skill to have and will fit into your simple life in a variety of ways. When I knit a gift I always keep the label of the yarn I use and attach that to the gift. That way the person who receives the gift knows exactly what it is made with and how to care for it.

Take care everyone.


  1. I love your blog, but I especially love your knitting posts. You say about knitting what I feel but didn't know how to express.

    I think the number one thing I love best about knitting is that it's a time killer, but not a time waster. Waiting is a difficult thing for me. Sure I could take a book to the doctor's office or other place I might spend time waiting, but I have nothing to show for at the end of that wait. With knitting, I do! :-)

  2. I love the look of those dish cloths! It's always so rewarding to use something you can re-use rahter than throw away plus they look so much prettier!

  3. Knitting is something that I would love to learn. Do you have any suggestions where I should start? I hope your knee is getting better. I check your blog everyday and just love it.

  4. Beautiful knitting! I am amazed at all your talent in so many things! I hope your knee improves, and the pain subsides.

  5. I have fairly recently taught myself to knit. We have these fantastic guides at work that are laminated and offer help to many things such as knitting, there's a coffee guide, a periodic table, just to name a few. I picked the knitting guide up one day and sat there until I figured it out, it was actually quite easy for me. I am not doing anything spectacular yet, just some simple (and I mean SIMPLE) dishcloths. I do a few rows every night before I go to sleep.

  6. i love knitting, too ... and i've just learned! just finishing up my second scarf in stockinette stitch. my new plans are : circular needles, scarf in moss stitch, and dishclothes. in any order. i'm just learning as i go from a friend, and from some helpful library books. i love how meditative it is ... but find that i can't watch a movie and do it at the same time. i marvel at knitters who can do this, as my eyes must be on the knitting, hence i miss lots of the film. i find that knitting really helps my anxiety and i love seeing something real and useful emerge from two tiny needles. it's incredible, and very satisfying. beautiful post. i love that chocolate brown yarn! good suggestion to do the dishcloths in cotton. will bamboo needles work well with that?

  7. Perfect timing thank you Rhonda.
    I haven't knitted for a long while and am not about to start again anytime soon though I am trying to deal with a feeling of having bitten off more than I can chew, your words about each small step contributing to the simpler life are very timely for me. Thank you for something that has calmed my racing mind a little.

  8. So very glad to hear that your pain is subsiding some. I love your knitting projects! Hope you will post the red bag when you are finished. I started a purple sweater 25 years ago as my first project- never finished it so I guess I cannot say it is my last project too! Do think it would be fun to pick up if I could remember how to!

    Blessings- Mary :)

  9. I'm trying...oh how I am trying! hahaha I am hoping with practice I can be half as good as you are. I have only ventured to a simple knit stitch wash cloth but they feel wonderful. I am using a 100% cotton yard and it is wonderful against the face.

  10. Hi Rhonda,

    Sorry to hear you have been out of action. My shift work means I don't catch up here every day so I just found out. Very painful, I get it myself sometimes, but I have found that glucosamine helps and one of my neighbours swears by green-lipped mussels for the same complaint.

    How good that you have something productive to do when you are forced to sit still. My experience with knitting was over about 40 years ago, and try as I might, and I did for quite a long time, I couldn't ever do it without watching every stitch, so it is a very boring pastime when you have to do that. Maybe I will try again when and if I ever retire from work. ;)

    Nice to see you back on deck and I hope your pain is over soon.


  11. I just started knitting and crocheting and I love it!! I don't have much time to work on my projects but I fit in a few rows whenever I can. So far I've made myself a hat, which I love, and am now working on hats for my boys.

    Love the dish cloths - am going to give that a go as well!

  12. That's what I love about knitting ;-) We have too much in common Rhonda! I hate doing nothing, don't ever sit just to watch tv, it drives me crackers. But when I knit I can still be drinking a cup of tea and chatting to friends/family, or even watching tv (something that I don't ever do unless I'm knitting!). I like to be productive even when I'm standing still and knitting allows me to do that.

  13. Rhonda, so great to hear the knee is letting you rest a little. Constant pain is very wearing indeed. That cute little scarf is really nice, and the bag looks most intrigueing.

    We had another frost last night Rhonda, but it looks as if my seedlings might have survived - we covered everything with towels and blankets to shield my babies.

    Lisa x

  14. such timing on this one. I was all signed up to take a knitting class tomorrow on making a hat. unfortunately it was cancelled. I'm not giving up though, I'll get a hat made eventually. Right now, I am working on a scarf - one that I will actually wear. I like you dish cloths.

  15. Dear Rhonda Jean,
    Glad to hear your knee is improving, Would you please tell me what is the pattern for the scarf, and bag when your finished it,
    Love your blog , check it every day
    With Smiles
    Kathryn in the Loft

  16. Thanks for the remindering on the kitting Rhonda. I had put mine in a basket on the bench and left it to collect dust. On Monday when we start our school lessons I will take it with me, as I can work on projects like dishcloths while I listen to the children read to me.
    Bec xxx

  17. Years ago my sister-in-law tried to teach me to knit...she grew frustrated and threw the needles into the air, exclaiming "I give up!" A while back I really wanted to learn and began to try to teach myself. Still not proficient by any means, but I love it when I produce a scarf or something simple! Maybe I'll try dish cloths next!

  18. Hi Rhonda
    Glad you are recovering. I do like the red bag you are knitting, would love the pattern if that is possible.

    Pippa x

  19. I enjoy knitting as it's something you can do in a spare five minutes, but I have to confess, since I have learned how to crochet and - better still - taught myself how to read a crochet pattern AND understand it, I prefer to crochet. LOVE your dishclothes (on my list!) and the little scarf looks so warm to snuggle into.

  20. I hope you feel better soon Rhonda. I have knit many a scarf and it does engender a Zen-like feeling, doesn't it? Maybe I'll try a dishcloth soon, LOL

    Good thoughts winding your way about a healed knee.

    My best,

    Anna Marie of the Bread

  21. I have considered learning to knit but I haven't quite gotten there yet! I crochet, I have for many years and I find it to be very relaxing as well as creative. It's one of my favorite hobbies and I enjoy making things for my loved ones. I think any creative outlet is good for the soul. I'm glad you are beginning to feel better, I have knee problems and I do sympathise with you.

  22. i love that feeling of being productive while rest. very lovely the words for me to wake up to this morning, rhonda. and i am so glad to hear you are beginning to feel some relief.


  23. You've knitted such lovely things. I especially like your ascot scarf.

  24. I, too, have just taking up knitting, and I really enjoy creating something from such a relaxing process! Many people think I'm strange when I say I knit - probably because they think it's something only grannies do - how wrong they are! My granny certainly doesn't ;) I'm the only knitter in my family, and proud of the skill.

  25. the red knit bag looks amazing! I wish I could knit like you but all I can seem to manage is scarfes~!

  26. Oh where do you sorce your Lion brand yarn?

    I love to knit. I very rarely just sit. I am going on my first cruise in the morning and I packed some wool to knit socks and some quilt squares I am embrodering. My friends think I am nuts but I plan to relax and enjoy my time and this is what I do. Just hope taht no one confiscates my sharp things like double ended needles and scissors.

    Iam glad to hear that your pain is more manageable now and that you can use this time to spend with your needle friends. In fact on Wednesday night I knitted through a large portion of a school meeting. I don't need to watch every stitch and when I make a mistake I can feel it. Must go back and fix the mistakes.

  27. NOTHING is as relaxing to me as when I knit. It's my therapy, it's my relaxation, it's my calming habit.



  28. Love your ascot! I'd like to make one for myself as winter is setting in and I'd rather have that around my neck instead of a scarf. Less bulk. Did you use a pattern?

  29. I'd really like to learn to knit. I just love hand knit items! But I'm not good at learning things out of a book ~ "hands on" learning works better for me. My daughter knits (but lives far away...)
    I'm enjoying your pictures of those beautiful scarves and dish cloths!

  30. Your knitting is lovely. It's wonderful inspiration to see someone elses stitching. My mother-in-law was from England and taught me to knit. I have years of her Stitchcraft pattern magazines. I haven't knitted for awhile but read a wonderful tip somewhere on a blog. A great source for pure wool is second hand clothing stores. Sweaters can be picked apart and reknitted.
    Pure wool is very expensive, I thought this was a great idea.
    DianeH, Ontario Canada

  31. What a perfect combination, knitting and simple living. My passion is knitting, but as I get older, I am also trying to live leaner. I just found your blog recently, and I love it!!!
    Knit on!

  32. Your work is beautiful. Knitting is definately on my list of things to learn. I do crochet though, which is alot of fun too:)

    Have a nice day:)


  33. I love your posts on knitting! It's my favorite hobby and so far has been pretty inexpensive for me. I love "homespun livings" dishcloth pattern and I'm very interested in your red basket there. Do you have a pattern? Is it a "free" pattern? I'd love to make one to hold my dishcloths.
    You are such great inspiration and I appreciate your blog so much. DH and I are trying to live a "simple" life and I learn everyday from bloggers like you.....Thank You!

    Marilyn in New Mexico

  34. You have inspired me to take up knitting! With the help of an expert knitter friend I am slowly making my way through my first waffle-weave dishcloth and I just love watching it appear on my needles.

    It does really help to have something to do with my hands but that allows me time for quiet reflection. Knitting fits in perfectly with my goal of slowing down and simplifying while appreciating each moment of everyday.

    Thank you so much for your post--I think I will try an ascot for my mother, next!

  35. I am calling all my blogging buddies in asking for a big favor! Would you drop by my blog and read my contentment therapy blog and about a giveaway. Would you consider joining me in this 30 day therapy (a Mr. Linky link is at very bottom of the blog) and leaving a note on your blog to inform others about it - or email friends- I would love for this to be great time for lots of us. I don't have a huge following on my blog but would like to get the word out. Please let me know what you think and any suggestions too! Thanks so much!

    blessings to you! mary :)

  36. I don't knit (yet!) but I do crochet - I have some lovely bamboo cotton I am turning into a baby rug for this little one. It is SO relaxing!

    I am going to get some knitting lessons from my nana, and start on some of those lovely dishclothes - they would make nice gifts!

    Thank you for the inspiration - it always feels like we are welcomed into your home when I read your posts, they are so warm and writted with such care!

    Look after yourself, and hope your knee is better soon!


  37. Sorry to hear you are in pain - I hope it passes soon!

    Here is a smile for you, I hope. I have been diligently knitting dishcloths as part of my Christmas giving this year and today I found several that I made last year but tucked away in a "safe place". :-) So now I can use my stash of crafter cotton to make at least 2 more knitted shopping bags as gifts for my family. I feel so very frugal today! I went through my stash of weaving yarn and have found at least 2 projects I can warp up on my table loom...

    Tomorrow is a get together of my office friends to make home made Christmas cards.

    Feel better soon!

  38. I completely agree with you on the restorative powers of knitting. While I do not experience any pain I do have a mind that races and I find that knitting is the one activity that causes me to slow down and concern myself with just the present.

    I am a big fan of knitting washcloths and recommend them to anyone learning to knit as they are a short project that can be used any time of the year.

    I love the look of the bag you are knitting and am intrigued as to the pattern.

  39. Rhonda, I'm not much of a knitter (slowly improving), I'm better at crocheting, but I think the pleasure is quite the same... slowly making things with your own hands. I especially enjoy making baby things now, because baby projects can usually be completed faster than adult things, which gives me a sense of accomplishment. :-)

    Oh, and I'm a heavy user of Lots of helpful tips and tutorials!

  40. I love knitting. At this point, I can really only make scarves but this winter, I swear I'm going to give a hat or a pair of socks a go! Thanks for the inspiration.

  41. Rhonda - you inspired me to learn to knit, and I thank you for that. I'm getting so much out of it, way more than a few knitted items!

    Thank you.

    Hope your knee is more comfortable, and the pain is easing.
    Diana x

  42. Just catching up on the posts here, great post today and what a useful tip to include a fibre label with hand knitted gifts. I've just started knitting again, not very quickly but I'll get there. It is one of the most relaxing things to do, whereas tv is too often depressing or infuriating or just boring! Hope your knee is much better now :)


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