19 January 2012

Summer knitting

Of all the things I do during the course of a normal day, the one thing that is guaranteed to help me relax is knitting.  Who would have thought that winding a long piece of wool or cotton around a couple of bamboo sticks would clear the mind and produce such wonders. And it's such an old craft, unchanged over all our years, and more. I always have some form of knitting on the go. The repetitive nature of it helps me relax, it also helps me think, it's a movable feast so I can easily take it with me when I go out and after all that winding, we have something useful.

If you're new to knitting or you're struggling with a project, we have a group of experienced knitters at the forum who are always willing to help. To start knitting without someone at your side to guide you, simply go to Youtube and search for "how to knit". That is what I do when I want to learn a new stitch. You can stop the recording and go back, many times if you need to. To start knitting, all you need to learn is cast on, cast off, knit and purl. Start by knitting a square dishcloth - cast on 30 - 40 stitches, using knitting or crochet cotton. You'll be able to practise your stitches, work out the tension and still come out at the end of it with something you can use.

Alexander's cotton cardigan.

Late last year, I finally finished the organic cotton cardigan I made for Alexander. I chose cotton because it allows air circulation and in our climate, it can be worn almost all year. The yarn I used is from EcoYarns. It's a really soft on the skin and I feel happy giving it to my grandsons knowing no harmful chemicals are lurking.

I confess, I now have two knitting baskets.

I recently received the beautiful Jo Sharp cotton you see in the photo above from Rachael. She has been reading my blog for a long time and wrote asking if I would like her to send the cotton. She was too busy to use it - she has three children and had just given birth to twin boys!  She had started on a couple of face cloths - and included them as well (beautiful knitting, Rachael!) so I'm going to continue as Rachael started and use this cotton for face cloths. It's Australian cotton and it's really soft and luxurious. I'd never heard of Jo Sharp before - it's frightening how much I don't know - but I'm very pleased I have this here now and I'm looking forward to knitting with it. Thank you Rachael.

I'll be starting on this little hat soon - one for Alexander, one for Jamie.

Summer is knitting time for me. It's usually the time of year when I slow down and sit in front of the TV watching cricket. When you get to slow down after a year of hard work, life is very sweet and about as good as it gets. But even though I take it easy then, I like to stay productive, so I start up a couple of new projects and I try to finish off those I started earlier in the year. The one I still need to finish is Hanno's jumper that I started too long ago to remember and said I would have ready by winter. Gulp. Having finished the front and the back, I only have the two sleeves to go. It should have been within my limited powers to do that over the Christmas-New Year period, but I didn't.

I did finish the little cotton teddy bear though. This is for one of the babies. It's made using Japanese organic cotton which isn't as soft as the Peruvian cotton but it knits up beautifully and I'm sure will last for many years, every with constant machine washing.

The beginnings of a cowl scarf for me using organic cotton. I love knitting with this - it feels beautiful as it slips through my fingers and it knits up wonderfully. I can't wait for winter when I have this wrapped warmly around my neck.

Tricia's work mittens made with organic baby Alpaca - two strands. They're really warm and very light.

I started two new projects over Christmas - a pair of wrist warmers for my sister whose is celebrating her birthday today. Happy birthday Tricia!. Tricia lives in Blackheath in the Blue Mountains, where it's very cold, even in summer. So I thought she'd like some wrist warmers that she can wear around the house while she's doing her housework or gardening.  My other project is a cowl scarf for me in winter. The pattern is on the wonderful Pickles site.

And finally, I just had to show you this little teaser - it's a page from my book with the blue Japanese cotton I used for the teddy bear, and some of my needles. I had to include a tiny bit of knitting in the book. Any book about our lives here would not ring true without some reference to knitting. The book will be publish on 22 February. When I know about overseas sales I'll let you know.

I have no doubt that my northern hemisphere friends are knitting away by the fire, but we down under can continue our knitting on throughout summer too. If you're working on one project or three (or more) like me, I'd love to know what you're knitting.



  1. Oh Rhonda, your projects are lovely! And thanks for the little glimpse of your book. I am so looking forward to it being available in the USA.

    I am currently in the midst of crocheting a bunch of cotton dishcloths to send with my oldest daughter when she moves to her own little apartment.

    And, as it is winter here, I AM crocheting by the wood stove most evenings!

    Have a lovely day. :o)

  2. Wonderful knitting. I love the little teddybear !!
    No knitting here, but crochet. I'm making a blanket for the guestroom with granny blocks ; ) It's cold here, so it's nice and warm near the heater ; )
    Have a wonderful day. Hugs from The Netherlands.

  3. I knew you were down under as soon as I saw that you knit in the summer. Here, I knit in the winter. After many false starts, I learned the winter of '99 when I was laid up with a broken back. My mom got me a 'how to knit' book. Whenever I'd get tangled up, she'd take it back to the yarn store. The lady there would fix it, Mom would bring it back home, and I'd work along until my next mess up. I didn't actually meet the yarn store lady for a few months, but I wouldn't have mastered it without her help. ~Molly

  4. I have only been knitting for a few years now but I got my inspiration from you and got on you tube and sat until I learned both stitches. I have been making finger-less gloves, and I am now working on a scarf. I like having a few projects going at once a smaller item and one a little bigger:)

    Blessings to you,


  5. What lucky grandbabies to have you knitting such beautiful things for them! I'm focused a lot on baby knitting these days, too--I just finished some little mittens and now I'm working on a bib and some longies (which will hopefully be finished before winter's over or baby outgrows them!)

    I enjoyed seeing all your projects. Thanks for sharing them.


  6. I started knitting dish cloths a week ago after your blog inspired me to do so. I had some leftover cotton, so I have been relaxing with some knitting during the warm days. I am also making a gilet out of a yarn which knits up like fairisle without all the hard work. If I have any left over I want to make some socks because I have seen it knitted up as socks and it looks so beautiful. Cotton is so lovely to knit with in the warm weather. I never would knit in the summer because I didn't like the feel of the wool on hot days but now I use cotton!

  7. Oh, I love knitting! I just finished knitting a sweater for myself, and I'm thinking about knitting some wrist warmers from the same yarn. But right now, I'm crocheting a tote bag for my books. :)

  8. Your book page looks beautiful, Rhonda!
    Have a wonderful day, Madeleine

  9. Hi Rhonda even though l have been reading your blog for many years this is the first time I have left a comment. I love knitting and I have to confess that I haven't finished my husbands jumper that was started over a year and a half ago the problem is I see all these beautiful patterns on the net and I just want to knit them all, one day I will finish it,maybe for his birthday I have untill August ...at the moment I have one jumper to sew up, two in progress and need to finish the other sock in a pair I'm doing. Have a good day.
    Cheers Julie

  10. Lovely knitting post. That teddy is adorable. My toddler has a hand knit teddy that he sleeps with every night. Nothing says love and comfort to me like a hand knit teddy.

    I'm currently working on a cabled cardigan for my little boy, a simple garter stitch blanket for the baby (33 weeks pregnant) and a crochet ripple cot blanket too. :)

  11. What a treat of a post! I adore knitting and being from the other hemisphere it sure is high time for some heavy duty snow mittens for children, double layered for sure! So it's thick woolens for me right now. And a bit thinner black woolen lady gloves with beautiful girly ribbons in red or white. And the third thing on the needles are woolen socks, you can never have too many (or even enough) socks with deep snow and two boys outside.

    Your blog has touched me very deeply especially recently, and I bet you'd be surprised at what small things have made me think a lot. Like when you were talking of being more independent you said you had given up coffee. I drink coffee very seldom, only if I get headaches because of some blood pressure issue, but that one short little line in your post made me think of other ways to tackle this problem, to change my ways and not to look for a solution in addictive things like coffee. I love your blog and I look up to you. Just to let you know.

  12. I'm just beginning to take knitting seriously and I'm loving it! It is such a portable craft and I can do it in the car if I go somewhere with hubby!

    I'm looking forward to seeing your book! I reckon it would make a good present too!

  13. OMG! That cowl! I can see myself wearing that to work.

    (It's be so quick to knit, too.)

  14. I also love to knit Rhonda. Are you on Ravelry? So exciting that your book will be available soon. I can't wait!

  15. I craft everyday. I was taught to crochet at 6 years old by one of my school teachers, i then went on to teach my mum as well. When i was having my oldest son i worked with designers at Panda yarns and made the prototype items to test patterns and there is even photos of some of my work that has been used in their pattern books. Now i have my own online business. I make hats and accessories for babies and toddlers. I dont use patterns and every thing i make is my own design. Lots of my hats etc are purchased by photographers and are used a props in their baby portraits, i have lots of cute pictures that the photographers send me to have a look at and a lot of the photographers allow me to use their photo's to promote and sell my products.

  16. Isn't it wonderful to have little grandbabies to knit for?

    It's summer in South Africa, so all my knitting is taking place in 34 degree weather - sjoe !

    At the end of 2011 I knit up a whole lot of cotton facecloths to give to friends with a pretty soap for Christmas.

    I'm now knitting a lace shawl with a 2ply yarn. A 20 row pattern that fortunately has every 2nd row as purl, making it a little easier than having to 'check the pattern' all the time. I'm knitting it for my son's girlfriend for her birthday in April.

  17. There is some fun looking knitting there! Rhonda when I'm struggling to finish knitting something I set myself a small achievable goal -- say ten rows a day -- on the item put aside. It's amazing how much gets done with a few of those days and sometimes the interest is reinvigorated and it's finished quick smart.

  18. Yes Chez, I'm on Ravelry but I don't do much there except look.

  19. As you know I don't knit but I crochet. In the summer I prefer to do small projects like face/dish cloths, scarves for presents, cushion covers etc. In the winter I start on blankets.
    Atm I am sewing in the end on 6 dishcloths I have made.
    I then need to start on a cushion cover for my friends birthday in March. I also have a new crocheted bag that will house crochet projects to finish.
    I usually have a couple of projects on the go.

  20. Congratulations on your book! Your Teddy Bear is adorable. I love to knit, too. Great way to relax and pass the time. I always have a project to take with me while I wait for appointments.

    happy knitting :)

  21. I haven't mastered the art of knitting yet. I bought a knitting kit that included a booklet and DVD of instructions, some needles, and other paraphanalia. One day, I'll sit down and check it out. I did take one knitting class at a local craft store and enjoyed it very much but didn't get far on the project.

    I am currently crocheting a scarf for me and a hot pad for the top of our toaster oven.

    I find crocheting very relaxing also and once I learn to knit, I'm sure that will be just as relaxing!


  23. I have been using Jo Sharp's wool and cotton yarn for about a year now. Its a wonderful product that I love to use. So far I have knitted a knee blanket, scarf, and I about to finish the 2 cardigans - I only have to sew them up but we have had a spell of hot weather so will get to them soon. Love your blog and read it most days.Looking forward to seeing your book when it comes out - well done that that big project. Josie

  24. Rhonda, do you have a pattern for Tricia's mittens? or point me in the direction where I can find one? I have just moved to Katoomba and yes quite cool even in summer!

  25. I have tension problems with knitting and as I first tried it when I was a teenager I think I put myself off it. Knowing it's only practice that will sort it out doesn't make it any easier to try again though. I do crochet and currently have a dishcloth(or facecloth?) in cotton yarn on the hook. I should try a knitted dishcloth and there is a "potato crisp pattern" knitted scarf I'd like to try soon as I figure it will be easier to hide any mishaps in a 'twisty' scarf.

  26. Your teddy bear is super sweet, I'm a newbie knitter and loving it :-)

  27. Funny you should mention soft cotton for face cloths. I was looking at my cheap import face-washers recently, and after many years of use they are wearing very thin.

    This time I didn't want to buy a product made cheaply from overseas, I wanted something soft. I love the HomeSpun Living blog with the waffle dishcloth pattern. It makes a great face cloth if you use the 8 ply. Only I didn't know what to make it from that was soft and made in Australia.

    Now I have Jo Sharp cotton to look out for. Will check out eco yarns too. :)

  28. Hello Rhonda! Just popping in to say a big HELLO, and, as I've said, oh, about 100 times now, I CAN'T WAIT FOR YOUR BOOK! I can't think of when I have looked forward to a new release with such delicious anticipation! If we can't get it in the USA, well, of course, I'll happily move back to Aust. to get one there. Hugs and blessings!

  29. Love the Teddy bear! I'm not so sable in knitting, to be honest, but I'm knitting a scarf for me, in a lovely color and with a very beautiful yarn. I'll show it on my blog once finished. Take care, Clara.

  30. Your projects all look wonderful Rhonda. Love the teddy bear, and the cardigan and the colour of your cowl , and all of it really. I've just finished a little dress for my nephew's first baby, and I'm now working on some crocheting just because I needed to learn how to finish the dress and thought it would be good to keep it going until I had it mastered. I still think I prefer knitting though.

  31. Miss Robyn, I didn't use a pattern. Just cast on 30 - 40 stitches, depending on your wrist size and wool, knit in rib at both ends and just stocking stitch in between. Make them as long as you like. I made Tricia's so they almost come up to her elbow and can be worn under or over clothing. When you finish knitting, stitch up the side, leaving a hole for the thumb.

  32. Your knitting is beautiful, Rhonda. I learned simple knitting at school, but never paid much attention to it. I've been following your blog for about a year now and because of you I re-discovered knitting. Now I can't wait for my knitting stuff to arrive and start my first creation which will be a pure cotton dish cloth. Sometime later this year I want to try to make a hat with a plait pattern and a matching scarf and gloves. I'm going to use pure and undyed baby alpaca wool in ivory.

    Greetings from Uschi in Austria :-)

  33. There is always a pair of socks in my 'go to meetings/boring stuff/waiting room' bag and I have two projects on the go. One is a jumper for hubby in my own homespun. I have still to spin up the white for that. The other is a chunky winter cardigan for myself. Knitting/spinning is something I've done ever since I was little. Sometimes I do heaps and other times it falls by the wayside. It's in an 'up' phase at present :)

    viv in nz

  34. Hi Rhonda,
    Enjoy the cotton, I'm really glad to pass it on to be used as it should be. Please put up a picture of what you knit with it (when you get time) - I would love to see!

    Cant wait for the book to come out - it looks wonderful. Love your blog as usual.

    Take care

  35. I recently started knitting and made myself a couple of hats and scarfs. Really LOVE the place Ravelry.com!!

  36. The skill of knitting is one that has escaped me. Is there a simple book that you would recommend to start?

  37. Beautiful knitting Rhonda, what lucky grandchildren you have. I'm here in the french alps where it's very cold and snowy, knitting away and patiently waiting for you book to become available in Europe.

  38. Hello Rhonda!
    Your knitting projects look gorgeous! Love the work gloves idea- those are going on a to-do list.
    Currently I'm making 3 sets of dishcloths to practice different stitches in knitting, crochet, and tunisian crochet. When I get the hang of them I'm going to move on to bigger things. You might be interested in amigurumi, hand knitted or crocheted toys. They are so ingenious, there is even a crocheted tea set, and a turtle with babies...the possibilities are endless.
    Oh, I was looking back on your posts and one big point I always missed with bread making was my pan sizes. None of my books ever told me this detail was important, so I had too big pans for too small dough, and the loaves always collapsed a little when they went into the oven and didn't get to that massive size I would see in your pictures. Hope that helps someone out there. Hope you are having a restful weekend.
    The Girl in the Pink Dress

  39. That little bear is adorable Rhonda!
    Love the sneak peak into your book, too.


  40. Hello Rhonda - Thank you for the link to Pickles from last week. I looked through all the patterns and bookmarked the cowl pattern. I bought the yarn for it today in a sale.

    Cricket is an ideal sport for knitters - but these 4 day tests are getting monotonous. have a lovely weekend,

    Michelle and Zebby Cat

  41. I am knitting a little green frog for my niece's birthday, as I read this. It is all from leftover yarn and I hope she loves it as much as the one I made my younger son!

  42. Hi Rhonda, I'm knitting two pairs of socks and learning to do colourwork by knitting a hat. Small projects are perfect for summer, I think! Enjoy your knitting time :-) Anna


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