A knitting tour

Wandering around my house over the last few days, I seem to be overrun with wool. I think the arrival of all the Stylecraft has pushed this into overdrive, and everywhere I turn I see more knitting. It seems to have sneaked into my life without my noticing, which is strange given that I must have unpacked it myself when I moved into the house. So I thought I’d give you a knitting tour!

Other people think knitted dishcloths are weird. I don't know why.

Other people think knitted dishcloths are weird. I don’t know why.

Now, I’ll admit the first one is a bit sad. This dishcloth is one of my favourite things I’ve ever knitted, because it sums up what I want my knitting to be: useful, a bit pretty, and a durable alternative to shop-bought. I hate washing up almost as much as I hate mountains of unwashed plates, but using a dishcloth I made makes me happy inside. It’s from a free pattern here, and it’s knitted on the diagonal with a YO border. I’ve been using it for a year (I made it as a moving house present to myself) and it’s a good now as when it was new. My mum requested one too, but wanted it twice the normal size – that’s a lot of boring garter stitch! I’ve got another one tucked away in a drawer somewhere with a sheep motif in the middle, that I’ve only just remembered.

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From the kitchen into the dining room… This teacosy was a Christmas present for my housemate – knitting things for people I live with is just a sneaky way of still being able to use them myself. The pattern is here, and I loved making it. I even stuck to the same colours as the pattern, which is unusual for me. I used three strands of DK together instead of the recommended yarn though – I’m not that good at following the rules. I wish I could say that I used acrylic instead of wool because it’s likely to get washed and I don’t want it to felt, but… That’s just what I had in the stash. The roses were quick and very rewarding to make, especially playing around with the colours. The best bit was the time it took for L to realise it wasn’t from a shop!

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Lurking on the dining room table is some Smoothie DK – I love this stuff, even if it is a bit splitty. It got ditched in the table this morning when I realised that I bought the wrong dye lot, and I need to take it out into some natural light so I can tell if it’s too different from the ball I’ve already knitted.

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Living room now: this is the basket of miscellaneous wool that lurks behind the door, waiting to make me feel guilty whenever I spot it. The dark brown was inherited, and the first few hundreds yards have been made into many first rows of ill-judged projects. It’s currently hogging my circular needles on the first quarter of a poncho (when I said ill-judged, I meant it – ponchos usually fill me with horror). It’s been ditched until I’ve forgotten how long I’ve spent on it so far and can unravel it without crying. The cream and green are from the teacosy and a Christmas wreath I gave my dad, and are there because buried underneath the ill-judged poncho is the rest of the wreath things – berries, pine cones, possibly an adorable robin. Get back in the corner, unseasonal basket.

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Ah, Stylecraft Special DK. A sneak peek at some of the delicious colours – and they’re not even the best ones! I’m so in love with these, I’ll definitely be writing more about them soon.

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There’s so much to like in this bag – even the bag itself is exciting! I got it in the sale because I was going on a seaside holiday and it reminded me of windbreaks and deckchairs (and it was £4.50). Then the blanket fitted inside it so nicely, the bag never made it to the beach. The blanket is getting its own post soon – I’m crocheting together the squares, which is quite slow business. I’m using Marriner DK to join them, and I don’t love it. Still, it’s doing the job, and soon I’ll have a lovely blanket and a lovely blanket post to share. Have you spotted the colouring pencils too? I’ve been doing some colouring in for this…

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And I have no idea how it’s going to turn out, so it will remain a mystery for now. Can you see my lovely crochet hooks though? Birthday present 🙂 I love the colours! And the cute little tin was appropriated from my mum and contains knitting pins. The tin says ‘for sore gums and mouths’, which I enjoy every time I hold a bunch of these pins in my mouth and end up stabbing myself with them.

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Look at that mess. This is the box of scarves that lives under the stairs, and it’s a complete jumble inside. For some reason, I just can’t keep scarves tidy.

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Ahh, it’s the first thing I ever knitted! I got Knitty Gritty for my birthday one year (excellent book for beginners, highly recommended), and used this scarf to learn how to change colours and stitches. I remember refusing to accept any help or advice, and nearly drove myself mad in the process. At the time I wished I’d kept a record of which patterns I’d done – it all seemed very complicated and it never occurred to me that I’d be able to look at it years later and just know what I’d done!

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Infinity scarf with unintentional double twist 😦 it was also meant to be in moss stitch, but came out ribbed because I didn’t understand knitting in the round, counted the stitches wrong, and couldn’t bring myself to unravel it all. Boohoo. It’s very warm though!

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Lovely lace scarf in lovely denimy colours. I was in a village in Cornwall somewhere and got very overexcited when I saw a wool shop. Two friends with no interest in wool (one of them is the same friend with no interest in wool as in the last post) got dragged in with me, and I saw a sample of this scarf knitted up. 30 seconds later, I had a pattern and a ball of wool, and two relieved friends. Despite being a very straightforward and repetitive pattern, the scarf is full of mistakes which I ignore!

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Bad hat. I tried to amend the size and it came out too big… But as it was knitted flat, not in the round, I didn’t realise until it was finished. Boohoo again, but never mind – it didn’t take too long! I really like the big button and the knitted bow – must do more of those.

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This pattern was in a magazine, and I love the scarf. Again, it’s got some mistakes which I ignore, but they aren’t very visible. It’s more green and less petrol-blue in real life and just the right length to show off the pattern. I started it a long time ago, and then picked it up again last year when I started a new job in Cornwall. I took it to work with me and knitted in the staff room, where everyone seemed to think I was mental. It made me realise that people’s attitude towards young (OK, young-ish) people knitting is much different in Cornwall from in Cardiff. Eventually, people got to know me and then broached the delicate subject of ‘you aren’t a grandma; why on earth are you knitting?’, then moved on to ‘so… how does it work exactly?’. Fascinating 🙂 everyone was amazed when I actually finished it – it was a bit of a never-ending project.

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Oh Noro. So light and airy, so drapey after your blocking. So bright and cheery. I’d make a whole outfit out of Noro if it didn’t make me look completely insane. Its own post will come soon! Notice how I’ve got a lot of scarves? They’re the perfect project. You can make them as simple or as complicated as you want; they don’t break the bank; they don’t take forever so they’re achievable, but they’re long enough that it’s exciting when you finish. And I wear a scarf every day in winter. Also, having read this though, lots of these scarves have mistakes in them… Maybe I should have been less honest about that.

Upstairs now! Hiding in my wardrobe are these:

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Secret stash. This is the main stash – I keep it hidden so I get a nice surprise when I drag the bags down to hunt through. I can’t remember much of what’s in there, which is the way I like it – they usually get pulled out when I need a new project and can’t think of what to do. Or when I know exactly what I want to do, and know I haven’t got the right yarn for it, but search fruitlessly anyway.

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That’s another hidden basket that lurks in a corner – it’s usually full of odds and ends, but right now there’s just a naked cushion pad and a ball of Stylecraft waiting to become the back of a cushion cover. All in good time, cushion pad.

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Ugh. My nemesis. This is the back of a cardigan that I started years ago. It is another ill-judged item, and incredibly boring. I’m not sure why I liked it, but I must have been keen enough to buy the pattern, which is around the house somewhere. It’s never going to be finished – it’s massive (even more so when the curly stocking stitch is uncurled), because it was started before I lost weight, and I hope it never fits me! I just can’t bring myself to unravel it because I can remember every tedious stitch in vivid detail.

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Last room! The spare bedroom doubles as where I keep my desk and mountains of files, and even here there’s no escape from The Yarn. This is my external hard drive, which I use at work all the time, and am prone to losing and damaging. Therefore, it has a cheery cotton case with a pocket for the cables. Obviously everyone I work with thinks I’m mental when they work out what it is and that I knitted it myself, but there are benefits to this: when I abandon it, plugged into a borrowed computer, everyone knows who to return it to! The case used to be a lot neater than this, but it’s taken a lot of wear – it still does the job perfectly though.

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Last item on the agenda: Owly. He (he doesn’t look like a he, does he? But he is) was another present for L, who puts it on the bed in the spare room when she has people to stay. Sometime he stays in there even after the guests have gone, and he’s currently hanging out on the desk with Badgie. The pattern for this bad boy is here, and I love that there’s a knitted and a crocheted version.

So that’s the tour… Looking over it, it seems extremely boring unless you’re someone who’s very interested in the contents of other knitters’ houses, or if you enjoy stockchecks of scarves. I can only apologise if you’ve noticed how messy my house is (just be grateful you aren’t here in person), and for the quality of the photos. My camera is currently defunct, so it’s photos from my phone for the time being. There’s one secret item that I didn’t include – it’s the cardigan, which is to be given exactly a week from now. It’ll be finished and photographed soon, and I’ll share it with you next week!