DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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30 May 2011

The rich experience of knitting

We had a busy week here last week, which ended with a blogging workshop at the neighbourhood centre on Saturday morning. It was very satisfying teaching eager people how to set up and write a blog.  We used the Flexischool computers so everyone had their own computer and those three hours flew by and resulted in a few more people with their own blogs. I might just do it again. :- )

When I got back home again around 2pm Hanno wasn't feeling well. So I got him cosied up on the sofa watching pre-recorded television and later we had leftovers for dinner in front of the TV. I started a new knitting project, so I was quite contend sitting there clicking away.  Yesterday was spent doing a bit of writing - an author's bio for the book and a few odds and ends, then the rest of the day was knitting and talking to the family on the phone.  Kerry, Sunny and Jamie are visiting us on Wednesday. We'll all be going out for lunch, then HANNO AND I WILL LOOK AFTER JAMIE while Kerry and Sunny have some time together at dinner and the movies. :- ) They will all here stay overnight. I wish Wednesday would hurry up and arrive.

I've been knitting away quite happily with the Ecoyarns that Vivian bartered with me. My absolute favourite is this organic cotton which is so soft and cuddly, and the colours are just beautiful.  I rolled a natural and a deep pink skein into balls the other day and started knitting a cowl scarf that I'll probably put into my shop. I like the cowl scarves to wear to work. I hate having a cold neck in winter so one of these scarves is a better option at work because it doesn't hang down and get tangled in whatever I'm doing. I'm really pleased with the way it's knitting up and I just know how wonderful it will be.  So I've said I'll "probably" put it in the shop because I might keep it myself.

Knitting is a wonderful way to relax - it's like a meditation. That repetitive action of the needles and yarn, twirling, looping and methodically slipping the needles through; it quietens the mind and brings a gentle kind  of peace to me.  I definitely needed to relax after last week's busyness, this was the perfect way to do it.  I hope you are all looking after your own physical and mental health by taking time to relax whenever you can. It's important. Modern life can be stressful and you need to have several simple and easy ways to unwind and relax.


A little while ago, I bought this gorgeous book with the points many of you give me by buying your books through my Amazon store. Thank you for doing that; I can usually buy one book every month.  I have sworn off buying books and this is a way I still have access to books I want to read and give as gifts.  This book is called "Little Luxury Knits" by Alison Crowther-Smith and it has many beautiful knitting projects in it. I've not yet decided whether I will keep it myself or if I will use it as a prize. I really like these three patterns - the fingerless mittens, the bed socks and the shawl - they're all gorgeous and all within the capabilities of a newish knitter.


These kinds of books inspire new knitters and make many of us passionate about this craft. There is nothing quite like taking some beautiful balls of wool or cotton, and by clicking and sliding your needless, and winding, looping and relaxing, there you have it - something unique and wonderful, and hand made.


Look at these two above and below - bed socks and a shawl. They're simple and beautiful.


If you're just taking up the needles now, or are just thinking you might be interested, I encourage you to dive right into knitting. It's a soothing and all-embracing craft that not only makes you feel good, with the addition of time and effort, it will give you beautiful garments and items for your home.


I urge you to use good quality yarns and needles. If you can afford it, spending that bit extra on materials you really love and enjoy working with will add to the rich experience of knitting and pay off in a better product that will last many years. I have recently discovered Clover bamboo needles from Japan and even with these soft organic yarns I'm using now, they never snag and glide effortlessly over and under whatever yarn I'm using. They cost ten dollars but I know I'll be knitting with them for many years to come. That is wise economy.

What are you knitting now? If you care to share your current knitting project with me, I'd love to see it. Just leave  a link and I'll pop over to visit, and I'm guessing many others will too.

I hope you all make the most of the week ahead. I'll have another busy one here but I'm looking forward to what it brings and the memories I'll be able to store away at the end of it. Thank you for visiting me here and thank you so much for the comments you leave. I do not have enough time to answer all your comments, or emails, but I do read every one of them and many of them make me smile. I know that I am fortunate to have you here with me and with each comment I discover a little bit more about you.  I like that!

ADDITION: I made a mistake in the pattern I left in the comments, so to stop anyone knitting it without seeing the correction, here it is again:
This is my (made up) pattern for the pink cowl scarf: cast on 50 stiches, then knit one row on plain (knit) and one row of purl, which is ordinary stocking stitch. Do four rows of stocking stitch, then two rows of knit - that will give you that little ridge line.
So, to summarise:
Cast on 50 stitches.
Row 1: knit
Row 2: purl
Row 3: knit
Row 4: purl
Row 5: knit
Row 6: knit

Then repeat until the scarf is long enough to wind around your neck + a bit of hang.

Cast off, neatly sew the two edges together and bind in any threads. If you want to be a bit fancier, make the scarf slightly longer and twist it once before you sew the ends together. You will end up with something like these.

50 comments:

  1. I am so jealous of your lovely knitting. I can knit.........squares! I don't understand the patterns enough to try anything other than squares for blankets and scarves! No, tell a lie I did knit some baby hats that were squares initially but then you drew in the sides to become the crown. I wish I could knit beautiful things like you do :-)
    Vicky x

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  2. I love my bamboo needles. They are easy to use and have such a pleasant feel. I am glad you tried them.

    I learned to knit as a college student, but for many years I did not knit. It seemed to be a waste of time or maybe an undeserved luxury in my busy life. Because of your encouragement, I picked up the needles again. What a blessing! It is a useful craft that soothes the spirit. Thank you so much for the permission to enjoy the restful part of homemaking.

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  3. Vicky dear, you can already knit something like my pink cowl scarf in the photo. This is my (made up) pattern: cast on 50 stiches, then knit one row on plain (knit) and one row of purl, which is ordinary stocking stitch. Do four rows of stocking stitch, then three rows of knit - that will give you that little ridge line.
    So, to summarise:
    Cast on 50 stitches.
    Row 1: knit
    Row 2: purl
    Row 3: knit
    Row 4: purl
    Row 5: knit
    Row 6: knit
    Row 7: knit
    And repeat that until the scarf is long enough to wind around your neck + a bit of hang.

    Cast off, neatly sew the two edges together and bind in any threads. If you want to be a bit fancier, make the scarf slightly longer and twist it once before you sew the ends together. You will end up with something like these:
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rlz=1G1GGLQ_ENZZ278&q=cowl+scarf&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&biw=1137&bih=622

    When you've finished, please let me know and send me a link to it. I know you can do it.

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  4. I wish I had the confidence in myself that you have in me! I will give it a go, they sound like they would make lovely presents for my Aunties x x x

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  5. Hi Rhonda - your knitting is so beautiful - love the pink. You are right about knitting unwinding you (forgive the pun). I've knitted for as far back as I can remember, but had quite a few years where I never picked up needles. Now with my new lifestyle here & the hard work involved, having something like knitting to relax with in the evening is almost like meditation. I'm currently working on a beaut little puff sleeved cardigan for my great niece in the sweetest shade of pink you ever saw. Then I must create something for her wee brother to take with me to the UK later this year - Christmas presents sorted - tick, tick.
    Happy knitting
    ps I love bamboo needles - they somehow don't make your wrists ache like the metal ones.

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  6. Hi Rhonda,
    I do hope Hanno picks up and feels better very soon, he's going to need all his energy for little jamie! You will love looking after the little darling, bet you spend some time gazing at him as he sleeps....
    Vickixx

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  7. Oh - that wool looks so yummy. I am knitting a winter cardigan for Alice, but the wool I bought is not as nice as I thought it would be (I bought in online here in NZ), so I'll definitely be going to the ecoyarns next time.
    Do you know how to crochet? I've been trying to teach myself, but I'm not getting very far with it - I think I'm going to have to ask someone to show me. I want to learn how to do little crochet hems around baby things.
    Have a lovely day on Wednesday!

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  8. I just realised I made a mistake in that pattern - there is no row 7. Start again after row 6.

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  9. After a very busy weekend I was just about to go to retire for the evening when you blog arrived, wonderful! I wonder if you know how many people you make smile when they see the notification of your next blog. Thank you for all your hard work.

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  10. I'm an intermediate knitter, still have a lot to learn, but I love to knit and so therefore I keep at it. My favorite needles are the Harmony wooden needles from Knit Picks catalog.

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  11. Hi Rhonda, you inspired me to start knitting 6 months ago. I asked my grandma to show me how and then bought a reference book to help. I've pumped out a few lopsided dish clothes and now I'm about to start my first project: a hot water bottle cover. I've bought some beautiful multicoloured aussie wool and I'm waiting to get started. I've even done the tension squares (twice LOL). It will be in-the-round, but I made a beginners mistake and purchased 6mm 80cm long rather than 40cm wrong. Yes, you can imagine the thinking that went into working out that mistake! LOL

    Anyway, the reason I know that I love knitting is that I'm always saying to myself "just one more line" when I need to be putting it away!

    Thank you for this gift.

    I hope the book is finishing up nicely. I can't wait to buy my copy.

    Regards, C

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  12. Morning Rhonda, at the moment I am knitting a jumper for my Dad, I have one full sleeve to go and then the neckline. After that I want to knit my daughter an oversized vest and I have just finished the cutest little knitted dolly for my great neice, for ther 4th birthday. Also trying to finish off quilts - there's not enough time at home to get it all done :)
    Thanks for another lovely post, Kathy (Tas)

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  13. Rachel, I was taught to crochet by a friend and my sister. I had a terrible time with it because I always felt lopsided with only one needle (hook), but now it seems to be falling into place and I hope to do some serious crochet work soon.

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  14. I love knitting. I can only knit a scarf but the process is so relaxing.Keep up the beautiful work.
    Rhonda , as you were helping people at the centre with blogging,was wondering if I could ask a question. I have set up a blog, but can't work out how to put the little tabs at the top with 'about us' etc. I am on blogger too and I am sure it is simple but my computer brain isn't working very well.
    Any hints (just tell me where to go and what section ) - only if you have time.
    kim

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  15. Rhonda, your knitting is so lovely and even - I am quite envious. My grandson came to me a couple of weeks ago with a knitting pattern for a beanie and scarf he had torn out of a magazine and asked "can you make me this with your sticks grandma?" How can you resist that? Not sure how much he is going to wear them here in the tropics.... Pretty soon yours will be doing that too - they grow up so quickly, enjoy your time on Wednesday.

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  16. Have you discovered www.ravelry.com - it's my lifeline! It's a wonderful knitter & crocheter's community full of patterns, projects, people and forums and it's perfect for new or seasoned knitters.
    I've been knitting up a storm lately but I've nothing to show you as I haven't been blogging lately. But when I do I am happy to link :)
    And I whole heartedly agree with you about using the right tools and yarns - it makes it a much better experience. I can't always afford the best yarn for big projects, but I like to indulge for small things like shawlettes and cowls.
    Happy knitting :)
    l
    x

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  17. I always enjoy reading your posts and I'm sure you'll have a lovely time minding Jamie while his parents have some uninterrupted partner time.
    My knitting tension gives me tension but I do crochet again now.
    I found this blog a few weeks ago and it has helped me immmensely with my crochet, though some of the videos can be quite long.
    http://crochet-mania.blogspot.com/
    This is the link for my practice dishcloth I crocheted for the dishcloth swap and I've already posted it in an 'On my mind' comment previously
    http://robsews.blogspot.com/2011/05/on-my-mindswaps.html

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  18. Hi Rhonda, your blogging workshop sounds just like what I need....I'm trying to set up a blog, but am stuck at putting a photo across the top like you have. I think I have the rest figured out, but to see it being done and talked through the steps would be so much easier. I could come for your next workshop, but not sure I can wait. Anyway, will keep at it.

    I'm knitting scarves at the moment, from some handspun alpaca yarn my soon to be d-i-l gave me, her mum spun it and because it's a bit rough, I can only do scarves on big needles...they'll go to the neighbourhood centre for homeless people.

    Wednesday will be such a special day...enjoy.

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  19. Kim, the tabs are called Pages. So go to "design" and "add gadget", then just add "pages". When they're added, you modify them to suit and you edit them in the "posting" section. I hope that is of some help.

    Nanette, send me an email explaining what the problem is. We might be able to work it out.

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  20. I've been knitting for 27 years. I love it. And you're quite correct, it is so satisfying and calming. i'm currently finishing some socks, but recently finished this scarf: http://web.mac.com/alisonwise/iWeb/Ad%20Meliora%20Vertamur/Home/41A2FB47-96F5-43F2-8896-88E92ABA0078.html

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  21. Like you Rhonda I find knitting very meditative. As I'm a bit hyper it's an excellent way to slow down.

    This post reminds me that I have a pattern to share with you that you may like, I'll be in touch.

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  22. Oh I so love those socks, I can feel how warm my feet would be in them! I have just knittd a scarf for my daughter and are currently knitting some wrist warmers for her using Julie from little cotton rabbits, pattern xxBrenda

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  23. Thanks so much Rhonda for your blogging set up advice, it saved me lots of time. Still ironing out some glitches, but it is turning out quite well.
    thanks Kim

    http://thelittleblackcowblog.blogspot.com

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  24. Great idea and so simple. How much yarn would it usually take?

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  25. The knitting is wonderful, but when I read your first line about teaching a blogger workshop, that really got me excited. If you ever just need a new topic to cover, that would be an amazing one. Probably better in person, but if anyone could convey through the cloud, you could. I've attempted to start a little one for a new neice-in-law coming into the family soon. It's just some recipes, tips, and tales. Set up steps would be great, and etiquette too. Like whether it would be proper to copy your recipe for sweetened condensed milk and then reference your site for more goodies. BTW, I'm doing the vinegar make-a-long, even though it will be going on a road trip with me. xxoo
    BStitches

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  26. another inspiration for me to learn to knit! just need a willing teacher...

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  27. we don't have a lot of money to spend on yarn either but it is so much more satisfying to work with quality yarn.
    during this pregnancy all I have wanted to do is knit.
    thank you for sharing.

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  28. Good evening Rhonda

    Just read your post now it was very calming.

    I think I need to emerse myself in some crotchet now. I jsut watched the 4 corners episode on live cattel trade to Indonesia and am feeling overwhelmed with grief for the suffering of these animals.

    Already written my letter to the Prime Minister.

    Enjoy your baby sitting of little Jamie. Sweet little soul.

    xjill

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  29. I wish I was better at knitting. I'm always jealous of people's knitting projects but I just find it so hard! I think I'll just have stick with crochet for now... I understand what you mean about the soothing nature of knitting though. I'm the same with crochet, it's so lovely and meditative once you're in a good rhythm.

    Katie x

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  30. I am working on a ball-band dishcloth. I started one about a week ago and then made the mistake of watching a television show finale while working on it and messed up a few rows. So, I just finished it off and will use it for something, but have started a new one. I too find that knitting helps my sanity, especially with three little boys to take care of. Even a few rows a day restores my sense of balance and focus.

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  31. The photographs of the socks and shawl makes me feel like taking up knitting again! They look beautiful.

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  32. Rhonda, would you mind sharing how one goes about getting the EDGES of their knitting neat and uniform - I often end up with big loops on the end of some rows, and have no idea how that is happening!! It was thanks to you, I learned how to do the first row neatly (by knitting into the back of the cast on row) so I have great hopes of learning from you again :)

    Thankyou

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  33. Hope Hanno is better now :-) Your scarf is looking great :-)
    Love the colour of the yarn! I'm still trying to teach our eldest how to knit (she's 9) and is slowly getting the hang of it. It took me a while to learn as a child! Big needles and chunky yarn seem to help her.
    With love,
    Lusi x

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  34. Okay, okay I need to get back into my beginning knitting again.....besides that dishcloth I did is the best of the lot so I definately need to make more of them.....lets start simple, and keep it easy.....and after a morning like this with lots of frost still on the ground I need to be doing those hand exercises to keep my hands working

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  35. I now know what I will be doing with a skein of wool that I won - a cowl scarf is the go! I will crochet though. ;o)
    Thank you for the inspiration and enjoy that first time of looking after your new little grandson!!! :oD

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  36. You have such a lovely blog which I read all the time. I also wish that I lived to closer to you do your blogging workshop. I would live to share what I am knitting but don't seem to able to post a link. Any suggestions.

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  37. Hey there, it's casey from cincinnati, ohio. I recently found your blog about 3 weeks ago and you have inspired me to learn the art of knitting and i have recently mastered the knit stitch, and am working on my first cast off, and my next dishcloth will be the purl stitch, so thank you.. you have also inspired me to write my own blog. It is called the small things. check it out if you like and leave a comment if you have the time . thanks again.

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  38. I have always envied the people who can knit - I have never quite mastered that talent...Love the pink you have chosen...

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  39. Hi Rhonda! I LOVE your knitting and I've just started wearing your beautiful fingerless gloves again (I'm going to make a lot of people envious here sorry!!) I really like the cowl design- I'm going to try this. Love the chunky ones with buttons on the link photos you provided. I hope Hanno is feeling better by now. I saw Sunny and Jamie yesterday and Jamie is smiling- O my goodness you will not believe how cute he is when you see him tomorrow! :-) Have a wonderful time with them. Lots of love from us Xoxo

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  40. Knitting has been such a big part of my life ever since I was six years old and learnt at my grandmas knee...............it has got me through some difficult times in my life and lovely knits have been made to celebrate the good times too.

    At the moment I have just started knitting "Little Hen Jacket" for my baby grandson.


    Love your knitting, it looks so cosy and the colour is beautiful.

    lily x

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  41. Thankyou Rhonda for your comment on my blog. My very first comment. I now have a new post on my blog showing some of the knitting I'm up to. I hope you can visit. Regards Kate

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  42. Hello, Rhonda Jean. I hope Hanno is feeling better very soon. Your knitting is lovely and looks to be off to a great start. I love knitting too but same it for winter hand work. We're into hot, humid weather now - the beginning of our summer. Gardening is the main activity of the season. How wonderful that you and Hanno will be spending some fun time with your grandson. All the best to you both, Jo-Anne in Canada

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  43. I am working on knitting hats for Japan with Ginny at Small Things. http://insteadforgottenways.blogspot.com/

    I love the yarn you are working with and could not agree more about the quiet joy in making something with your own hands.

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  44. Your project looks lovely so far Rhonda! That pink is a beautiful colour.
    I got into knitting and it is one of my favorite ways to relax at the end of the day. I crochet as well, but knitting is my favorite.
    Mmm, those bamboo needles look nice...I have needles of all kinds, most high quality, from garage sales and thrift stores. Wood is probably my favorite. Hope you will post more pictures once you've finished!
    The Girl in the Pink Dress

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  45. Hi Rhonda, could you please give a few more details about your Japanese knitting needles. My google search got me a bit confused. I'd be happy to buy some via your website if you wanted to set something up like that :)

    cheers, C

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  46. Candice, I bought two pairs of straight Japanese needles. One pair is Clover brand, the others are Japanese but I forget which brand they are. They came in a green cellophane packet. Both pairs are beautiful needles and slip effortlessly through my cotton and wool. I paid $10 for one pair and $10.50 for the other and I bought both in NSW - one at Bowral and one at Springwood.

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  47. Hi Rhonda,

    I love to knit too, but lately I've lost a bit of that knitting mojo. I currently have socks on crazy tiny #1 circulars that are taking for-ev-ver to finish! Thanks for the motivating inspiration :~)

    eat.knit.love !!!

    Sue

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  48. I'm loving seeing your knitting and your new knitting book. I've been knitting a lot this winter so far and also just discovered Clover needles in the last week or two, love them. I'm knitting myself a cardigan for the first time ever, and am almost half-way through. You can see it here
    http://womanofnotes.blogspot.com/2011/06/knitting-comfort.html
    at A Woman of Notes.
    Might try your cowl pattern next!

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  49. Thanks Rhonda for the extra knitting needle advice :)
    ps. Jamie is soooo cute. He has the most divine skin!

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