I’m not that tidy, me. Ok so I’m not at all tidy. I am a tip and if left to itself my stuff would be too. I think that tip tendency is not a good match for a knitter because there’s a whole heap of stuff that goes along with knitting.
The most space consuming and tangleable is the yarn, obviously. My stash of yarn is divided in two. The yarn I bought when I was starting out. Mostly 100% acrylic with little to recommend it. That’s in a bin bag in the loft. The yarn snob in me grimaces. Then there’s the other half. The posh stuff. The squooshy beautiful ‘that would make great wall art’ stuff. So now that’s what it is: functional, changeable wall art.
I think this was my idea, to hang it. Ben found the vintage spools on which to hang it and did lots of precise measuring so it would be just right. If it had been up to me to do it, they would have been scattered in my usual haphazard way but clearly this is much better. We make a great team!
This end of the living room is becoming devoted to our hobbies (yarn one side, spinning wheel nearby, Ben’s stringed instruments the other side) which I love. We are not good at choosing wall art because we are always held up by wondering if we will want to look at any given piece every day. I could look at yarn every day and plan the projects I’m going to use it for, and it will change month by month as I use it. Also this way I won’t forget what’s in my stash and not use some of this deliciousness. And it is well away from mice. That happened to me once. Never again..
Makes for a good talking point too.
It is a constant dilemma. Not how much to do housework. For me there’s only one answer to that: only as much as is absolutely necessary. More, how much to devote my time solely to the entertainment of my children. At four and one, they would be played with and read to the whole day. There’s a big part of me that would like to spend four out of five days doing that. The bit that loves that precious time, and knows how quickly they grow up and how soon they won’t want me to play with them or read to them. Thing is, what I do with them isn’t about what I need. It’s about what they need. And they don’t need to be entertained all hours of the day. What they need is good quality time with me every day, and good quality time with themselves and each other every day. Time to play and to occupy themselves. Time to learn and explore independently and without adult direction so they really can find things out for themselves.
That is how I first discovered my love for knitting. There is something special about mornings and about knitting. I discovered that on pyjama mornings (the kind where you don’t get dressed until lunchtime because you’re not going anywhere and can do whatever you like)Red loves to play, with me sitting in the room with him. I don’t have to be playing with him, he can get on with his game as long as I sit with him, knitting. Then his game is creative and develops into a great adventure. I can dip in and out of his adventure as he allows me to without it becoming my adventure. I get to come along for the ride. That is really special.
There’s some other things I want to teach them too though. That it is good to be industrious. That relaxation time doesn’t have to mean sitting in front of the television. That it’s worth learning new things even if they are hard at first and when not everyone always expresses an appreciation for what you are doing. That you can keep learning your whole life, maybe more after you leave school than while you’re still there and tied down by homework. Sometimes Red gets his yarn and a needle (he believes he has discovered a new one needle knitting technique, and maybe he has…) and sits by me and we both sit and knit. Often one or other of them come and sit by me at the spinning wheel and hold some roving or spin the wheel for me. They are really precious times when that happens and I hope there will be long term benefits for them. I hope they can see that grown ups still play and still learn just like children, and that it’s really fun to do that together.
I think this is the answer to my dilemma. That making isn’t a solo activity that I get on with while they do something else. It’s something to do with them there, joining in as they are able to. Learning and working together. Now that is something precious.
It has become a curious creature. A slightly alarming one that I will no doubt come to love during the comfortable hours of car journeys ahead. Not that we are planning any long trips. The car cushion is complete. The rational part of my brain informs me that it is quite an unusual item. Not the sort of thing to share beyond close friends. Not really something to be proud of. I can see the faces as I present my cushion and people wonder whether it’s a joke or just a bit of practice for when the kids come home with some mangled bit of tissue paper looking for admiration.
And yet despite all this, my heart is absurdly pleased with this peculiar beast. Right through the bit where I shoved in the pillow I had planned on throwing away and held the seams together to stitch it up. Clearly the pillow is quite a bit bigger than the case, but you know, the stretch shows the pattern. My own design. Completely simple and uninspiring and yet I am delighted. No, I really am!
I think I am so pleased because this pillow speaks to the success of my spinning adventure. The red and brown at the end (I know, the colours don’t exactly go..) is the very first yarn I span. There it is, in all it’s knobbly bobbly glory, used for a real thing. Then there’s the two tone yarn, again, an unusual choice, but a lot smoother than the first red and brown I produced.
And now check this out… From a car cushion to my next lot of hand spun yarn making a not too knobbly bobbly top. It even has back shaping now. If there aren’t any devastating disasters this might just turn out really well!
So car cushion, when I sit in comfort with you in the car I shall remember this journey. You were the first step…
This is the roving….
…that became a single…
that became a skein…
…and then a ball…
…and then a swatch (lesson learned)….
…and the beginning of a jumper of my own design!
Quite quickly I realised that I’m probably not going to have enough yarn. I’ve decided to spin up some more of the cream merino roving I bought at Wonder Wool and give my jumper some stripes. I’ve also got a plan that probably my jumper is actually going to be a body warmer/tank top/vest kind of thing as I think the alternative is probably to have cream sleeves which definitely wouldn’t work for me. I’m much too messy. I’m quite happy about that though as that is the kind of thing I would like to have in my wardrobe and which I don’t have at the moment.
The merino is going to be quite a different texture to the Blue Faced Leicester / baby camel but I think that will work out. I’ve decided to do stripes of two rows thick. Partly because I like the look of thin stripes, and also it means I don’t have to count rows which also appeals to me. That has been something fun with doing my own design. It’s really simple, and it’s nice to be free of a pattern. I can just knit away, figure out what I want to do when, and do it. I’m knitting in the round, also partly because then I don’t have to make notes of what I’m doing to get the front and back to match. I’m going to divide at the sleeves and work the front and back separately from there but as the front and back will be different from one another I still shouldn’t need to be troubled about making lots of notes.
I’m knitting the top on 2.5mm needles, which explains why I’m going to be short on yarn. A lot of yarn gets used up with such small needles but I have been increasingly coming to that view that you get a better finish if you use small needles. Sometimes you want a chunkier look, but not me today.