Although I knit all year long, autumn and winter seem to be the seasons I dive head first into it. I love knitting, not only do I make those things I need around the house and unique gifts for family and friends, knitting keeps me sane. It's like meditation. The repetition, the clicking of the needles, the feel of the yarn between my fingers, and the slowness of it as one by one the stitches form a new creation, all combine to comfort and calm, even on the hectic days.
Since I slowed my life down, and even now as it's trying to speed up again, I've noticed that often, things I need just come to me, right when I need them. I'm not sure why that is. Is it that generosity returns to you, or does opening yourself up to everything allow what you need to find you.? That is a question I'll be thinking about for a long time to come but in the meantime I just accept what I am given and give as much as I can. During the week, while I was at work, bags of knitting patterns, yarn and knitting and crochet needles appeared. A bag of craft items had been donated to us the week before and was sitting there waiting to be put away - we have a learn to knit group that my good friend Bernadette leads. So that had been there, I wanted to look in the bag but didn't have the time, but then a second bag came in - full of yarn and needles. That made me look at exactly what we had and there it was, I discovered my winter knitting project.
In the first bag I came across "The Art of Knitting", a series of booklets for new knitters. They are full of small and easy to knit projects, with clear instructions and good photos. The thing that caught my eye was a reoccuring project that features in every edition - a Shaker-style throw rug. It's made of wool scraps and leftovers from other projects and each edition features a different stitch, colour or decoration. It's like a sampler quilt in that you can be learning a new stitch on the 15cm x 15 cm (6 inch x 6 inch) squares that are all joined together to form the rug. This is the perfect project for me. It's something that is portable, small, easy, yet it will make up into something more complex and very functional. I'm starting on it this week.
If you can find "The Art of KNitting" at the newsagent, it looks like a good investment to me. If you'd like to join in on this project, I'm happy to share the details of what I'm doing with you. I'm not following their instructions, I'm just going with the idea of it and working with whatever stitch I feel like doing. The squares are made sometimes of textured stitches and sometimes garter stitch or stocking stitch. The textured squares still use plain and purl stitches, but in differing ways that make up textured patterns. You can either make many squares using different patterns in different colours, or find a pattern you like and knit it into squares, just changing the colours. We will be making squares, like patches for a patchwork quilt. The size you make is your decision, it could be a knee rug, a baby's crib rub or a larger queen size bed quilt. All you need to do to make it bigger is knit more squares until you have the size you want. I think it would be a nice idea to show our finished rugs, if you have a blog, you can show your progress and the finished rug on your blog. If you don't have a blog, send me a photo of your finished rug and I'll include it in my final rug post at the end of winter.
I'm starting on a ladder pattern square, but if you have a knitting book of stitch samples (or search online), you could choose any pattern you like the look of and knit it to the 15cm or 6 inch square size. I'm using no. 6 (4 mm) needles with 8 ply acrylic yarn. I usually don't knit with acrylic but I have a fair bit of it here that's been given to me and I'd like to use it up. If you want to use pure wool, or a natural pure yarn or blend, go ahead. As long as you end up with squares the right size, you'll be right. I'll be decorating some of my squares with simple embroidery and backing it with polar fleece, but we can talk about that later.
So, do I have anyone willing to knit along with me?