Monday, 22 April 2013

Knitting up a storm....

Hi everyone!

You may have been wondering what I've been up to lately as for the last several months I haven't been posting as many cards as I had been previously.  Well, I was bitten by the knitting bug and it won't let go!

I'm usually a seasonal knitter.  I learned how to knit when I was 8 or so, taught by both of my grandmothers.  They were both prolific knitters, one knitting socks, slippers, and mittens for all of her grandchildren, the other knitting afgan after afgan in between other crafty projects.  While I've always enjoyed knitting, it was never something I stayed interested in all of the time.  Just every so often my hands would start to get twitchy and I'd have to pick up the needles and knit something easy like a scarf or a few dishcloths.  Then the twitchyness would pass and I would move on to something else.

For the last several years it was always the winter weather that brought "the twitches" with it.  Usually I will knit a few dish cloths when I have time, last year in particular I knit what seems like a million of those scarves made with the novelty frilly yarn (one brand was called 'Frill Seeker' but there are a ton of them out there) that makes a scarf that looks way more complicated than it actually is.  This year at Christmas time I decided I would put more emphasis on making hand-made gifts and so in addition to some card sets I made a few scarves  and cowls for some family and friends.  I figured that would be it, and once done those scarves I put my needles away until the following year.

Being of the crafty sort, however, after Christmas I started thinking that I need a new bed spread and wouldn't it be lovely if the bedspread came from my own crafty hands?  My hands started to get twitchy and I started looking for blanket patterns and I came across this:

Isn't it beautiful? I'm telling you, I fell in love!  Its called The Beekeeper's Quilt and it was designed by Stephanie Dosen of Tiny Owl Knits.  Please click here for the Ravelry page and here for her website.  I thought it was a lofty goal, but since its mostly stockinette stitch, I figured I could do it if I just gave myself enough time.  I figured a year would do it.

Until this point, I had heard of sock yarn but I didn't realize what it was yet.  Oh boy was I in for a treat!  After purchasing the pattern I immediately went to my lys  (local yarn store for you non-knitters) and. had a look at the selection.  Simply beautiful!  I fell in love again and purchased a set of dpns (double pointed needles) and few skeins of sock yarn.

The funny thing about this whole experience is that I had never even considered knitting socks before. The original intent of this quilt is to use up leftover bits of sock yarn, but I found the idea of  A Pair Of Socks (capitals required as that's how I thought of it in my head)  daunting.  So I decided to just knit hexipuffs (that's what the puffy hexagon patches are called) from my purchased sock yarn.  Here is my first one:

So I knit, and I knit, and I knit my hexipuffs. I had some stuffing already so once I had my yarn and needles I went to town and back with my knitting - literally!  I knit on the bus, I knit at work, I knit in the car (while my husband was driving), I knit whenever I had a spare moment at home.  It really is a great portable project as these little puffs are super quick.  Once I had a bunch I started attaching them together:

These make me so happy when I look at their pretty colours!

By this time I had about 100 puffs, and I had noticed a visible improvement in my knitting. I had changed how I tensioned the yarn to stop my pinky aching, and my speed had increased.  I started to want to branch out and try an actual Pair Of Socks.

I found a great tutorial series on You Tube by Knit Picks which is the company that makes my favourite knitting needles.  Click here for a link to the class playlist.  It was a great way to learn as there was no pressure to follow a pattern - you just do what Kelley tells you to do. It also taught me a new method of knitting - Magic Loop. I've come to learn I like Magic Loop much better than dpns. Here is my first pair of socks:

Ok, slightly thick through the foot but pretty good for my first try!  They are pretty comfy too.  Since then I have knit four more pairs (and a few single socks I ripped back) trying different techniques such as toe up, cuff down, a few ways to do the heel, a few ways to do the heel flap, and afterthought heels.  On the last pair that I knit I decided I wanted to try a pair with lace so I used a pattern called Lazy Lace Socks.  The pattern was perfect for the yarn the Easter Bunny just happened to leave in my son's Easter basket (hmmmm, I wonder how that got in there?).

This is the first sock finished:

And when both were finished:

I think I did pretty well for my first try at lace! These socks were super easy and I'm pretty sure I will knit this pattern again. Its a free Ravelry download if you want to try!

So in the meantime I've still been knitting hexipuffs (I'm now up to 195), although I've come to realize that knitting enough for a queen size bed was a bit too eager of an idea.  I'm now planning on a throw for my hexipuffs, which is fine because then I can keep the finished product in the living room where the whole family can enjoy them.  I think it will be a lovely blanket to snuggle under.  So now I'm thinking of what else I could do for a bed spread.  I have a couple of ideas but I'm not sure what I'll do just yet.

I'm also working on a blanket for a friend (I won't show you so as not to ruin the surprise), and a pair of slippers for my husband.  I really want to knit a cardigan for myself so that's my next goal.  The problem is my wallet isn't as big as my imagination. This is not new, however, so I will just have to grin and bear it, lol.  Goodness knows I will not run out of hexipuffs any time soon!

I just can't seem to stop knitting! I'm most certainly not giving up on my cards, but it is nice to have something different to work on.  I find I come up with card ideas while knitting, and think of my knitting when I am making cards.  One habit feeds the other! :)

For those of you who are knitters I've joined Ravelry and my name is Inkyminky184  so if you would like to friend me feel free! :)


Janine said...

I am very impressed. I have knitted a cardigan when I was a teenager and Mum was on hand to cope with dropped stitches but I would not attempt it now!

Cathy Clouston said...

Janine, I bet if you tried you would surprise yourself! :)