Simple Pleasures

Anyone else have a favourite, simple make? My guilty pleasure is knitting scarves. I like nothing better than hunkering down on the sofa of a Winter’s evening with a self-patterned yarn and knitting away, eager to see which colour comes through next ๐Ÿ™‚

I made five such scarves for Christmas presents this year. Two for friends (top right), one for my sister-in-law (top left), one for my mother-in-law (below) and one for Sheila of Sewchet fame as part of her Stitching Santa parcel. You’ll have to hop over to her site for an image though sorry, as I totally forgot to take one of it before it got posted…

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I’ve exhausted myself of scarves for now though (and run out of people to knit them for). I already have an alarming amount myself! My excuse is that we live in an old and very cold house and I’m sticking to it. To replace my simple, scarf knitting I’ve found a fab ‘Squishy Ted‘ pattern in Issue 119 of Knit Today. I’m hoping it will make both of my children a comfy, reading cushion. Here’s hoping it will make as satisfying a project as my trusty scarves ๐Ÿ™‚

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Cosy Cowl

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‘Knit this up in a weekend…’ yeah, right! You can see how this is going to go…

Back in October, we went off to Cardiff for half term. I packed this project, knowing that I’d have my Mum on hand if I got stuck. I was really pleased with myself: the pattern was from an ancient Molly Makes magazine, and delving into my yarn stash, I spotted three balls of this lovely, soft cashmere / cotton yarn I’d originally bought to make up a baby cardigan for my son. Yes, he’s now nine! Let’s just say I’ve had it a while…

My Mum patiently started me off on my circular needles knitting up the picot edge ย and then handed it over. Mmmm…. while the pattern itself wasn’t too complicated, it involved a lot of careful counting and concentration as each of the thirteen lines shifted slightly each time. And when I say careful counting and concentration, I actually mean silence! Yep, the perfect pattern for a busy mother of two, I get oh, so much silence in my life ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway the process went like this: I’d knit roughly 5 or 6 lines before I went wrong, then I’d have to wait until I saw my Mum again, who patiently unpicked 3 or 4 of those lines, before I could start again. Lordy, it took all of my patience and was the most frustrating knitting project I’ve ever made! I made on average something like 4 or 5 rows’ progress a week. My Mum kept offering to finish it off for me, but I was determined to see it through. I think it’s what’s called ‘a stubborn streak’.

I copied the pattern out onto separate paper, a few rows at a time, in an attempt to simplify it, with tally charts and post-its carefully marking my place every time I paused. Gradually, it was understood that no one in the room could speak when it came out ๐Ÿ˜‰ There was a lot of eye rolling from various members of my family. Eventually, four months later (take that, ‘weekend‘ project!), it was time to hand it back to my Mum to finish the picot trim, leaving me to finish up all the ends.

To say it was a relief to finish it would be an understatement! Probably even more so for my Mum. And there’s no way I’ll be attempting anything like this again, anytime soon. But it is lovely ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m not sure I can take the credit for it at all, as without my Mum on hand, I would never have finished it. I probably ended up knitting about three quarters of it at most, but still, I tried. On the plus side, I know this will get loads of wear. It’s pretty, beautifully soft and a good,neutral colour. It’s also warm, but with the added bonus of looking actually quite fresh and Spring-like. Almost worth the blood and tears…

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Three Years in the Making…

Three years? Yep, you did hear that right! It’s a good job my tastes haven’t changed that much and that my Mum is on hand to ‘rescue’ my knitting projects whenever I get stuck (or pull something out, having not touched it for a year, and find I have absolutely no idea where I’m up to). Thank you Mum!

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So, clearly I haven’t been knitting this constantly for the last three years (I’m slow, but not that slow!). I always love the idea of knitting projects, but I do find them slow, and if I’m honest, not often that flattering when they’re finished. They always look great on the models, but if you’re on the short and curvy end of the body spectrum like me, quite often they just end up making me feel dumpy ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Does anyone else find this?

This particular pattern is from a beautiful Debbie Bliss book, named ‘Out of Town‘ which I think is even older than my project… And I did choose sensibly, selecting a cardigan (which are generally more flattering than hand made jumpers on me), and one entitled ‘Slimline Jacket’ at that.

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It’s knitted from a really pretty, duck-egg blueย ‘cashmerino astrakhan’.ย The smallest size available was a 34″ bust, but as it’s a pretty straightforward stocking stitch pattern, (the astrakhan yarn does all the work), I sized it down to a 32″ pretty easily. Well, easily until I’d left in untouched for a year, and couldn’t work out where on earth I was up to. Again, thank you Mum!

The shaping too was pretty straightforward, so nothing caused me too much trouble with this. No idea why it took so long really ๐Ÿ˜‰ I think because knitting is definitely a Winter hobby for me, and also my sewing kind of took over…

Anyway, now it’s finished I’m actually really pleased with it. I threw it on over my Megan Dress which I just happened to be wearing today, see here. Maybe not the best match. I think it will look nice with a crisp, white shirt or white, long-sleeved t-shirt underneath, something a little plainer. And I probably should have pressed it to stop the bottom curling up and to keep the collar down. My impatience took over sorry! I keep hearing about ‘blocking’, which I’ve never come across before I started following blogs. Even my Mum looked puzzled at this concept when I asked her about it. It’s something I clearly need to look into for next time. Let’s just hope that’s not in another three years…