The house is quiet, the heating hasn’t come on yet so I’m all bundled up with a blanket pulled down from the back of the sofa, Bernard is feeling somewhat sociable and has decided to cuddle up close to me, half on my lap, half on a cushion, his purring vibrates and trembles along side me and it’s one of the most comforting all is right with the world sensations I know…. the feel of my knitting is close becoming a second one.
The last couple of days have seen him wriggle up under my knitting where he can sprawl out on my lap and be enveloped in sheepy scents and warm stitches….he’s so contrary as he’s gone right off bed time cuddles but is perfectly content to be a lap cat when we’re alone.
I’m not far from finishing the shawl now…I’m sure it feels like I’ve been knitting it an age and rabbiting on about it forever, (my first shawl I started back in October) but actually it’s taken me just under 3 weeks so I’m quite pleased with my progress from those first struggling and wobbly stitches, and wholly appreciate everyones patience while I’ve knitted it. This started out as a blog about my sewing, what inspires me and from time to time bread and baking and Bernard would all make an appearance….of late though sewing projects have been properly neglected but not forgotten about…often when I’ve been knitting, I’ve needed to stop and scribble down new ideas for ideas and thoughts for projects that had only been hazy at best seem somewhat clearer……allowing my mind to wander off while making woolly stitches has allowed those ideas to grow, and jumbles of thoughts seem to be making more sense now.
When I was knitting the first shawl which had to then be un-ravelled, I asked a group on Ravelry that were discussing interchangable needles how they went about choosing the ones they ended up buying, and several knitters were kind enough to give me some advice which boiled down to try a few different brands to see which feels good for you, look through the sets a brand offers and buy a needle size that isn’t in the set (often the 3 mm isn’t in there) see what cable size is offered in the set, and like the needle, think about buying one that may not be in the set…and then have a play, try them and see which suits you.
A few years ago for my birthday present, my boyfriends parents gave me a voucher for an on-line knitting shop and I spent it all on wooden Brittany knitting needles…at the time I only had a couple of pairs but I really liked the feel of them in my hands so much. I was only able to do garter stitch and stocking stitch but knew I liked those needles and it made sense, even as an absolute beginner, nice needles would inspire me to get better…..every single time I open the wrap I made for those needles, pick out a pair and use them I think of Kathy and Phil…so when they gave me money for my most recent birthday I knew I wanted to get some interchangable needles……
I had a look at what was available locally at first and the only ones I could find were Knit Pro ones with the swirly patterns on them…..I’ve tried them but just looking at them makes me feel all swirly myself, and I know if I knitted with them for any length of time they’d make me all headachy…..anyway I then had a look on-line and wanted to try the three brands that had been suggested to me…Knit Pro, HiyaHiya and Chiaogoo….now this is another one of those wonderful serendipitous moments which I seem to be experiencing a lot with my knitting…..I only seemed to find one place* that sold all three brands, and they had both the Knit Pro Karbonz and rosewood Cubics which I’d really wanted to try……so I ordered a selection and a few days later my parcel arrived, all beautifully packaged.
It was only when I turned the parcel over and saw the return address that I had to stop and shake my head…the return address was Bramfield…it’s the next village along to where I grew up and where some of my family still live. I emailed Anj to say the parcel had arrived and mentioned how I was orignially from just down the road and she laughed as her and her family regularly take walks over Blackheath, which is part of the common land that surrounds Wenhaston…..
(I just needed to show a picture of the goldenrod and sorrel…..as soon as I started using the Knit Pro Cubics with this wool I felt I was back in the late Summer, walking around our favourite blackberry bush, picking berries and noticing the mustard and rust colours of the wild flowers that were growing there then)
My dad had always lived in Wenhaston, and often on Sunday afternoons we’d go for family afternoon strolls around the village…this was back in the seventies and we’d often see other families out, walking off Sunday lunches…even when me and my sisters had all grown up and moved, my mum and dad would still go for walks……when he died my mum received permission from the village to have a bench made in memory of my dad, and then had it placed on Blackheath, this was where he’d played and had gotten up to all sorts of larks and high jinks as a boy…anyone tired can have a sit, rest their legs awhile and admire the view.. ..there’s a little plaque on the bench with his name…..Anj has told me since that she often sits on this bench, watching her dog and boys have a right good run around, and it means a lot to her as her dad is/was also a Brian……
So even though this was quite by chance, it seems knitting this shawl has in a most roundabout way bought me back to thoughts of home and where I’m from…….I can’t not hold this knitting and think of people I love…from birthday money for wool and needles, thinking of Anj sitting on dad’s bench to the sound of her family playing, beads threaded up by little grubby hands, squirreled away and re-found in a vintage sewing box bought by my boyfriend for me…….While I’ve often thought about the connections when I’m hand piecing patchwork, remembering who gave me the fabric, (I’ve often described my patchworks as feeling like I’m looking at a photo album, remembering so many people that have meant the world to me)…..this morning looking at my shawl it seems I can really feel it in my knitting too…..
*Meadowyarn is a lovely on-line shop, they have a brilliant range of needles and yarn, and notions and patterns and oh, everything else I can think that would make a knitter feel they were in paradise.
I wanted to say that these rosewood needles by Knit Pro are really lovely to use, admitedly they look a bit odd as they are square sided, but they look a lot stranger than they feel, they’re nice and comfy, the wood means they feel warm in my hands (as I suffer from Raynaud’s warm needles is a plus)….I decided to buy the shorter length as I hold my needles right at the top so I didn’t think the longer ones would be quite as suitable. Their look make me feel like I’m knitting with something that has been made from my nanny’s sideboard, as they are all polished/laquered, but this is just me having a passing fancy……I haven’t had the chance to really test out the other needles I bought but I plan to very soon, however, I have really liked these ones and wanted to give a mention to Meadowyarn as I’ve been very impressed with their customer service.