DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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16 December 2013

A labour of love

I was hoping to have Johnathan's cotton cardigan finished for Christmas but it is not to be. I foolishly mis-read the pattern twice! and I had to unpick a sleeve when it was almost finished, twice. So now I'm doing a bit of cardigan knitting most days and since the cricket started, it's been what I pick up when I sit down to watch. What a pleasure it is to watch cricket, knit and snooze. Yesterday, when we were looking after Jamie, he and I had a sleep after lunch and at one point, I looked over at Hanno, who was also watching the cricket, and he was sleeping too. Life is slow and gentle here and it doesn't matter if we doze off. There was a time when I couldn't sleep in the day time, even if I wanted to, but now all I have to do is to sit down for a few minutes.


When I first started knitting I only knitted during winter. Now it's an all-year pleasure. I particularly enjoy summer knitting because of the cricket and it allows me to plan what we need for the colder months to come. But no matter when I knit, it's a labour of love to sit quietly and wind cotton or wool around sticks and to create something unique for those I love.



I am lucky to have Eco Yarns as one of my sponsors and Vivian's organic cotton is the yarn I love to knit with the most. I'm using it for Johnathan's cardigan and finished a Miss Marple scarf for my friend Kathleen in late October. She travelled to the US to visit her family in November and said the scarf was ideal to wear with almost all her outfits. It's not hot or scratchy like some wools can be. A free pattern for the Miss Marple scarf is available on Ravelry. If you visit Eco Yarns, be sure to check out Vivian's blog, she often writes about the project she is working on.



Some people wonder about the logic and reason of knitting. They say it's slow, expensive and wonder why anyone would spend time on something you can buy in the shops. I guess people knit for different reasons, I knit because I love the slow progress of one stitch at a time. It's almost like a meditation. It slows me down and shows me, unreservedly, that beauty and value can be created slowly and mindfully. I also love giving things away and there is nothing better than giving a beautiful baby something warm, soft and organic.

This was my photography assistant yesterday.

I know it can be expensive to knit up a jacket or shawl and if you look at an acrylic jacket in the department store, you might wonder why you'd choose home knitting. Well, what you'll create will be from your heart, it will be unique and the quality will be far superior to the cheap imports. When you touch hand-knitted jumpers or socks, it's not line after line of rigid perfect knitting, it's a celebration of home production and individuality. If you can't afford to buy new wool, look around your thrift shops and see if there are any pure wool jumpers or cardigans there. If you can get hold of one that is bigger than the size you want, you'll be able to unravel it and use that wool. Wool is very long lasting and forgiving. It can be unravelled and re-knitted many times - each time producing a one of a kind garment. You can do that with the wool you buy too. If you decide you don't like something you've knitted, undo it, wind it up into balls and rework the yarn in a pattern you love.


If you've never thought about knitting, maybe it's time to give it a go. You can learn how to knit by watching the many beginners videos on You Tube. You'll start off with "casting on", then learn plain, purl and cast off. Most knitting is a combination of those four processes. You'll probably start off feeling a bit clumsy but it gets easier the more you knit. Start with something easy like a scarf or fingerless mittens but be prepared to love the slowness of it as well as the things you make.

What's on your needles right now? What's your next project?

I think I can see myself knitting this for one of the babies in my life

39 comments:

  1. I'm just learning to knit. Have made three hats and a scarf. Have just cast on stitches for a hat for my son. I'm going by one that he has had for about 3 or 4 years. The shape looks really good on him and I have been looking for another in case this one gets lost along the way, but sadly (as so often happens) that particular shape just isn't showing up at any of the places I have looked. So this will work well. It is easy, knitted in one flat piece seamed at side and top and messed around a bit at the top to shape it so we will see how it goes.

    Such fun----I love it. Not at all boring as I had always thought, repetitive yes, but in a soothing way.

    Victoria
    Indiana USA

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  2. I have a knit in the round....my first try......slouchy beanie on the needles, with 3 more to go, for grandchildren in the States. They'll be late for Christmas day, but they're used to that, and always look forward to their 12th night gifts. I also have a knitted toy that will go to Knit4Brisbane's Needy, they're having a summer challenge to make little Pookies...tiny pocket softies for big and little kids. I love having a couple of projects on the go so I can pick up something uncomplicated and knit and talk at the same time, or an item I have to concentrate on as I sit quietly in a shady spot with just the dog and chooks for company. I think hand knitting is so lovely too because people know you took the time to make something just for them, not just dashed into a store and bought something.

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  3. Never learn to knit...I still have my baby blanket my grandma knitted for me.

    Coffee is on

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  4. Right now I'm knitting a Lacey shawl for me, but it's so dedicate and soft I may yet decide its a baby's shawl. I learnt to knit and read patterns from the net and the satisfaction of finishing something and having it look like the thing you wanted to make is unbelievable, in fact the first thing I made was the waffle dishcloth pattern I got from your blog many years ago. Thanks for giving me the bug

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    1. You're welcome, Angela. It's a lovely thing to share.

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  5. Rhonda the little cardigan is lovely & will be well worth the wait, I learnt to knit when I was 8 & remember the delight when a new garment emerged. Since then many many items have been completed, my babies had lots of lovely things -- my son (a winter babe) wore a little suit home from the hospital - wrapped in a shawl. Now my grandbabes are here -- they both had layettes to wear home from hospital & my needles are always busy (even if my eyes are sometimes closed). I have also made the dish cloths, there is something so grounding about them. I crochet, patchwork & x-stitch, but knitting is my 1st love, - keep encouraging people to learn -- as all knitters know -'it is so lovely to just sit & knit'. Deb M

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  6. Good morning Rhonda from overcast Toowoomba. I only sat still long enough when I was young for mum to teach me basic stitches but is amazing what you can do with just those two basic ones isn't it? I am sure you are thoroughly enjoying the cricket!

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  7. Hi Rhonda,

    your knitting looks so beautiful, lucky baby! I love to knit, and hope to be able to knit more complicated patterns one day. My partner is an amazing knitter and has knitted me several pairs of socks. I can tell those who wonder why you would go to the expense and trouble that there's nothing like the comfort of homemade socks, they are much more durable and easy to repair than bought wool socks, and I feel loved and cozy every time I put them on.

    I'm currently building up a supply of waffle dishcloths and face washers, and would love to do some 1940's style cardigans next. Don't tell anyone, but when I saw the teddies made by the man who knits at Starbucks, I wanted to knit one too - for myself!

    Have a wonderful day,

    Madeleine.X

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    1. LOL That's wonderful Madeline. Why don't you make yourself a teddy. I think that would be a lovely project.

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  8. I'm glad you mention finding wool in the op shop. As I read this I'm knitting an Aislinn cardigan for myself from some Patons Bluebell I bought from Lifeljne. It is a better quality than the Bluebell they produce now.

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  9. Just finished knitting a shawl and now in the process of knitting a cowl both are for grandaughters. made in the last two weeks 5 small caps for charity.
    I also crochet and just finished a dish mat last evening. And in my spare time I quilt - this year it's table runners for the daughters.
    I find all these things very relaxing, but crochet the most - if I nod off I don't mess up as many stitches as if I knit and sleep at the same time :-)

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    1. You've been busy, Patty. It's good to know there are other snoozing crafters out there. Merry Christmas! XX

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  10. Oh, Rhonda Jean...that charcoal gray tied scarf you are knitting is gorgeous! You are one clever girl!! I only know how to crochet but would love to learn to knit. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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    1. Learn on that pattern, Kate. It's really simple. That isn't a tie, the rib knitting forms a slip through section.

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  11. I'm about to pick up my knitting right now Rhonda! It's a hot day here so I want to sit for a while. I'm madly knitting a jacket for my impending grandchild. Her due date is today! I'm nearly there, only one sleeve to go but it's hard to find time while my younger children are still needing my help so often. You are so right that knitting is a labour of love! There would be nothing personal about me buying something off a rack. I love creating a garment for my grandchild, all the while thinking about my daughter and the soon-to-be-met newest member of our family. *sigh*

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    1. I'll be thinking of you as you wait for that precious baby to arrive. Good luck with the knitting, Linda.

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  12. Rhonda do you know a pattern that is easy for a person trying to learn to knit? I have tried and can't seem to get the back of it. I love to crochet and would love to knit

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    1. Start by doing some dishcloths. My favourite pattern is the waffle weave. It's from Deb at Homespun Living. You can find the pattern here http://homespunliving.blogspot.com.au/2007/11/waffle-knit-dishcloth-pattern.html

      Keep doing the dishcloths until you're confident. If you make a mistake it doesn't matter - it's a dishcloth, but it will give you things you can use and teach you this beautiful craft while you're concentrating on the dishcloths. Good luck!

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  13. I had bookmarked that easy pullover pattern awhile back and forgot about it until seeing your link today! I've got a few projects going - finishing a baby blanket and working on a little vest and a little doll blanket. Trying not to cast on anything else until those are finished :)
    -Jaime

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    1. I love that little vest, Jaime. If you start yours, let me know and I'll start one then too. (I hope.)

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  14. I've just finished a knitted jacket for myself, using some bright orange yarn that was given to me by a friend's mother (lovely lady), as she has fibro-myalgia and can no longer knit. I'm not usually an orange person, but wearing the bright colour in the middle of winter will just cheer me up no end when I'm cold and otherwise miserable.

    Knitting is maybe making a comeback, though. There is a pop-up store in my local shopping centre selling calendars, ready for the new year, and one of them had a page for each month, with a pattern for knitted meerkats on each page! Meerkats are obviously "in" at the moment, so maybe knitting will soon be "in" too.

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  15. I've just finished (after 5 months of knitting) a cardigan for DD2. I picked up a 1950's knitting booklet in the op shop and DD2 saw the cardigan in it and asked for it. The first time ever one of my children has asked me to knit something. ...lol. It's in Bendigo Woollen Mills 8 ply Luxury and cost me less than $30. I finished it yesterday and it looks wonderful on her. Having looked in the shops at different times I would much rather be wearing a home knitted garment. Yes they cost a bit more and yes you have to make it but at least you are a one off, the carbon footprint is low, the mediation factor is enormous and they are something you keep on wearing....vbg.

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    1. I always wonder too, Calidore, what chemicals are in those acrylic yarns from China.

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  16. I'm knitting poppies for the 5,000 poppy project for the centenary of the Anzacs. I've been focusing on doing 3 for the men in our family who fought in the war. It is such an easy pattern if anyone wants to give it a go. I'm a total novice, haven't picked up a pair of needles in over 25 years!!! You can just google 5000 poppies and the blog with free pattern and info about the tribute will come up.

    I'd love to get good enough to do a tea cosy and 2014 is the year for learning to crochet!! I want a 'granny' square blankie :)

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  17. I made MissMarple scarf years ago and it is still one of my favorites' to wear. I loved the knit, interesting.
    Your jumper is adorable!

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  18. Currently I'm knitting a sweater for myself, and I'm about to start a hat for a friend of mine. I had made good progress on the sweater and then decided it was going to be to big. Last night I frogged it all and started over. Oh well, better to start over than regret having a sweater that doesn't fit...

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  19. All I have ever knitted is dishcloths, but I do like it. I would love to learn more, but in this season of life with two little kids, it just isn't an option. Especially because they play and "help" me with everything!

    Your Jamie sure is a handsome young boy! I imagine he is such fun and it looks like you and Hanno enjoy having him around. Such a blessing for him to know the both of you!

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  20. I am a sewist, but hopeless at knitting! I have always admired those who can though. My mum and aunties all did; I just did not inherit the kitting gene! How lovely your projects are..

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  21. Napping during the day is my guilty pleasure! I have, although, removed any guilt feelings about the day time nap!

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  22. I've always loved this style of scarf. I found a free pattern on one of the yarn supplier websites, but it was difficult to follow. This one looks a little easier. Maybe if I start after Christmas, I can have one ready for next winter. ;)

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  23. I am a rather sporadic knitter. But, the end product is vastly better than something mass produced. Perhaps I should work a few rows this evening. I've been rather stuck in my books lately wanting only to read in the evenings, but knitting is so relaxing, too.

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  24. I am knitting some dishcloths right now. I just finished crocheting some toys for my nephew's Christmas present. It was an orange cyclops!

    I love the methodical way of knitting, how you start from nothing and then create something useful. It always amazes me.

    My knitting is going slowly at the moment. I used to knit while watching t.v. in the evening. Now we don't have t.v. and I am reading instead so it makes knitting difficult to do. I guess I need to get more audio books so I can knit and listen to my books! There are so many patterns I want to do. To many patterns not enough time!

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  25. That scarf is gorgeous, and I love the knitting ninja link!

    It made me think of my youngest son who spent several of his teen years doing martial arts, "being a ninja" - and knitting and sewing his own clothes!

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  26. Wendy B has left a new comment on your post "A labour of love":

    I have just picked up my needles again after many months of life changing challenges and depression and surprisingly it has helped immensely..May I ask what yard you used for the scarf?, it is truly lovely. I have also started reading blogs again, and coming here to read is a little like coming home, if you don't mind me using that term.

    Wendy, I'm sorry but I deleted your comment by mistake. I had to retrieve it from my emails. I'm pleased to read you're getting back on track again. Knitting has a way of helping soothe us. I feel it too. The scarf is Eco Yarns organic cotton in colour 22, Diligence. Take care and happy knitting!
    http://ecoyarns.com.au/collections/frontpage/products/ecoorganic-cotton-8ply

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  27. I love hand-knit, wool socks. I swear, they are the only socks that keep my feet warm in the winter. Last night my husband's feet were cold, so I tossed him a pair of pink/purple socks and he loved them. NOW he understands why I will spend hours knitting a pair of socks. I noticed he put them on again tonight, hummm. My son adores little hand-knit or crochet toys - and I have made lots of "baby monsters" this month - he glues the eyes on and gives them away to friends. Dishclothes make great gifts - or knit the same pattern, but use white and pair it with a bar of home-made soap for a nice facecloth "spa" style gift. One thing about hand made presents - I have many friends/family who have far more money than I do and they could buy whatever they want at the stores - but they can't buy something made with love. When I give them a gift, they know I spent that extra time making it just for them. And for friends who are in the same income bracket as me - we all tend to make our gifts and appreciate them! Jams/jellies, fudge, soap, candles, table runners, cloth napkins, Christmas ornaments... they all make lovely presents and you don't have to break the bank to give them either. That baby sweater is going to be treasured - well worth re-doing the sleeves so they are correct. Cheers! Evelyn

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  28. Rhonda, I so agree with you that giving a handmade gift is such pure joy! I am currently crocheting a baby blanket for my niece/nephew due April. Even better? It is my first ever blanket and means so much that my first project goes to someone really loved and wanted.

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  29. Rhonda, I read a study that said people who were knitting showed the same brain waves and other healthy signs as people who were meditating. I tried knitting two years ago and was making slow progress but you're inspiring me to try again.

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  30. I've got a dishcloth on my needles at the moment! I'm planning on making a few of those, and a few flannels as a housewarming gift for some friends. I just finished a scarf made from wool/soya and it's absolutely beautiful! It's my first try at cable work and I posted it to my Grandma as a Christmas gift. She knits, crochets and sews and taught my mother, who then taught me! Too bad I just can't sew. Hope you're having a wonderful christmas!

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  31. Rhonda,
    I think I've been reading your lovely blog for over 6 years now! I love to stop by and see what you've been doing. I think some of the reasons I return is that not only is your blog visually appealing, but the tone is gentle and kind. I've gleaned many positive attitudes from your writings and have recommended it to others who love their homes. Thank you for all you do for your internet friends around the world.

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