I've yet to find a more comfortable winter activity than knitting. Just thinking about my wool, cotton and needles gives me a good feeling. And then there's the important choice of where to knit. Even though knitting is so portable when you take the kids to sport or dancing, a little warm chair to knit in is part of winter for me. I have an arm chair set up in the lounge room where I'm surrounded by knitting, needles, wool, patterns, a little jar of markers, a darning needle and small scissors. Bliss.
I've just finished my second shawl. It was very simple knitting, ideal for a beginner who wants to progress beyond scarves and dish cloths. I made both of mine with organic cotton, one in the colour Diligence, a dark grey and the most recent in Patience, a camel light brown. I thought a lot about those two qualities while I was knitting my shawls. I'm also doing up a few dishcloths to show at my library talks. The one on my needles now is Deb's waffle weave, which is in my book and was asked about at one of the talks. I recently knitted a pair of fingerless mittens (in New Zealand pure Merino) for Hanno but when I finished them and gave them to him I noticed I'd knitted one in a greenish grey and one in a bluish grey. Ahem. I guess I'll be doing up another pair. They'll match this time. :- )
Knitting is a wonderfully creative investment of time in the practical activity of making clothing and soft furnishing for your home. Generally the clothes we knit last for many years so it's wise to use the best yarn you can afford. That yarn will be rubbing against skin when it's worn so try to steer clear of the Chinese acrylics and look for more natural alternatives. Real wool breathes, real cotton is cooling. But think about the time you invest in knitting too and make that time enjoyable by using yarns you like the feel of. Use good needles. I'm totally won over by bamboo needles and although I have metal, wood and vintage plastic, I always choose my Japanese bamboo needles now. I've noticed that Japanese needle sizes are alongside the UK and US sizes on various charts now. I think that reflects the incredible influence that Japanese crafts, fabrics and implements have had in the West in recent years.
I am not the best knitter in the world and my projects are rarely, if ever, perfect, but knitting makes me happy so I'll keep clicking those needles. I really enjoy the time I spend making things from wool and cotton. It feels right. It suits me and my life. If you're a beginner, and you're looking for help and encouragement you'll find it at the forum. There is a monthly thread where members show and tell their latest projects. Chel and Judy are there to keep your hands busy and your mind thinking creatively while the rest of us appreciate all you show us.
What's on your needles?
What's on your needles?