In a few more weeks it’ll be a mad flurry of Craft Fairs so daytime knitting has been put on the back burner, though I’m still getting up early to have those first precious hours of the day to myself….slowly waking up with my knitting on my lap, a big pot of tea by my side and generally Bernard squidged up alongside me.
Once we’ve eaten in the evening then the hours before bed count as knitting time as well…but mostly the time I seem to be enjoying the most is first thing in the morning and I think I make less mistakes then too…..the most I’ve had to un-knit has been 4 rows (when there’s over 150 stitches on your needle it’s liable to make you feel a bit cross when you have to unknit 4 rows but not as cross as when there are 225 and not 226…one stitch at a time and mistakes are sorted out and slowly I’m gaining more confidence…I’ve now made a Pinterest board of lovely knits I’d like to make rather than just dream about making, noticing delicate stitch patterns that I recogonize has made me so happy and has given me another small boast to feeling I can do this.
The shawl is coming along fine…..I’ve now knitted up the main part and though it’s a bit tricky wrapping it round myself in case it comes off the needles, it is very nice to hold up to my face and breath in….I know I keep mentioning this with the Jamieson and Smith wool but it smells so wonderful, all warm sheepyness….this is wool that has been grown (I’ve just read the latest Wovember post which is why I say grown) and feels real, alive….rich and beautifully tactile….not the softest billow of fluff and air but exciting and so touchable……
In many ways this wool is reminding me of the quilt I made the other year for my beloved one….the fabric chosen wasn’t the prettiest, all brown woven Japanese linens and the patchwork was very simple, big squares which I was inspired to make in part by paper framed walls inside traditional Japanese homes, and also being practical because the fabric frayed like the devil……the patchwork was then laid over wool wadding and hand quilted using the baptist fan pattern, chosen because of the similarites to a Japanese design I’d seen at the Fitzwilliam museum in Cambridge on a piece of ceramics……nearly a mile of quilting thread later and it was finished…..running my fingertips over the fabric, and bumps and ridges of the quilting is one of my greatest pleasures….even now it’s still something that I love to do….and this wool makes me think of that so much……
The yellow I chose isn’t as bright as the Scotch Broom, and doesn’t have the same flecks of colour in it, tiny daubs of gold and mustard, in fact it’s a much more flat colour, (a bit like a screen printed poster by Henri de Toulouse Lautrec for the Moulin Rouge) nor is it so floppy and drapey once it’s knitted up, however there is something about it that my hands can’t leave alone……and then there is the heavenly waft of sheepy aroma everytime I pick it up and cuddle it on my lap ready to knit some more.
If you’ve not headed over to Wovember yet then you are missing out on so much sheepy wool reading….there’s about 3 posts a day and the day is started off with pictures of the dreamiest little lambkins, yesterday there were pictures of some rams (or tups…one was called Boris which made me laugh out loud so much…)…the posts are a brilliant mix of “oohh lambkins” but also the realiities of life on a farm (a caesarian birth), some background history about wool (wool smuggling was great to read about)…and also some places where you can source your wool if you want to buy it from a small producer…buying wool in this way must make such a huge difference to the people who “grow” it….I know myself how nice it is when things I’ve made sell, all my hard work isn’t in vain, and stories of how peoples children won’t go to bed without their quilt or cuddle blanket makes me fair beam, so it must be the same for the people who work so hard caring for their sheep, and having people be all excited and wanting to give them money for their beautiful fleeces must be very rewarding.
This past month has been full of small moments, coincidences that have come together in a most serendipitous way….practising those small samples and swatchs…seeing Andrea’s shawl on Instagram and losing my heart, reading Felix’s piece about British wool, and the articles she links to, finding out about Knit British and then the wonderful wonderful Wovember itself …..(whenever I say wonderful wonderful I can’t help but hear this in my head…)
Early morning moments with Bernard so wedged in close to me he’s often half in my lap…(he’s currently obsessed with a shop bought shawl I wear first thing as the house is a bit nippy…he reaches up and half pulls it off me then tunnels himself under it to make a little nest….within minutes there is the sound of him snoring and thankfully he’s been a lot less windy so he’s not too bad smell wise)…we’ve had a few words about the milk jug and how it’s not for him to dab his paw into ….he thinks otherwise and my fingers are now all scratched to tell the story.
As I mentioned at the top there’s been a couple of minor mistakes, nothing some quiet time couldn’t mend, and where as before it would all have been unravelled, I’m learning more and feel confident to take a step back, study my knitting and think “what the bue blazes is wrong here”….however yesterday there was a bit of a melt down moment…I’d just started knitting the edge section, and the boyfriend was talking to me and I had stitches on both needles, stood up went over and found what he was looking for, and then when I sat back down thought something didn’t look right….I think I’d knitted 2 stitches together (on purpose non knitting readers) but had caught up part of the stitch below (not what I had wanted to do) so I un-knitted but then in trying to fix my stitches I thought I’d dropped some stitches so was picking up all over the place then realized the yarn was still like 3 or 4 stitches back on the left needle…..I had no idea what I’d done or whether everything was now “ruined…I’m so stupid…it’s all ruined”…
The next hour saw the biggest strop, tears in the kitchen and a wobbly voiced phone message to my friend Anne (she knits me socks so I call her Queen of Knitters…she’s been knitting since she was 5, when she was 12 knitted herself a jumper while watching the 1966 World Cup when England won….I think she’s brilliant and though we met only about 5 years ago by happenstance she’s become one of my dearest friends)…then I had a bath (a few more tears and sniffly noses)…..and I calmed down…..and thought to look at a few of my favourite knitty instagramers…..
then I saw this…..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwmfP0PNOLg………. Totally brilliant, very funny and I had to play it a couple of times so I could sing along to it……then spoke to Anne and she said if I’d dropped a stitch I’d have a ladder…didn’t have one so she advised counting all the stiches, knitting back and if I wasn’t able to fix it she’s come round at the weekend……another listen to Stephen West…..felt my knitting mojo returning and then carefully counted the stitches on the left needle (which hadn’t been played about with), then really looked at the rest of the knitting, tracing up to where the stitches form and I saw where something looked a bit not quite right…..unknitted up to that point and with a crochet hook and a piece of string acting as a lifeline (just in case)…picked up dropped the offending lump on my needle…….gave the knitting a gentle little tug and no ladder……so I hadn’t dropped a stitch at all but had created one while scrabbling about getting stitches on to my needles…then I knitted everything back and you wouldn’t have known there had been an upset just an hour or so earlier……..
So thank you Anne for your wonderful knitty advice and thank you Stephen West for making me laugh and reminding me I’m not a waffle or a quitter. (I’m just waiting now to put on my shawl and do a twirl)