Monthly Archives: May 2014

In respect of stockinette

At the outset of this post, I acknowledge that English knitters traditionally call this stitch stocking stitch. I call it stockinette, probably mainly because I’ve learned a lot of my knitting skills from American knitters on YouTube. However, I also feel that ‘stocking stitch’ sounds so boring and a lot of knitters think that fits. I don’t.

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I’m currently knitting Red a cardigan all out of stockinette with stripes of colour and stripes of black and it’s been one of the most enjoyable and simple knits I’ve completed. Stockinette makes such a great fabric for showing off beautiful yarn. If the yarn is beautiful it doesn’t always need the embellishments of lace or cabling, lovely as those techniques can look, and as much as I enjoy using them. With this knit there has been real pleasure just in the emergence of beautiful knitted fabric. I’ve noticed it features quite a bit in illustration at the moment, with that collage style using textures to make the picture interesting. I’ve even spotted stockinette stitch on a cereal packet recently.

There’s something about the rhythm of stockinette which is so relaxing too. Zooming backwards and forwards (or just forwards if you’re knitting in the round) with such repetition of movement that it becomes a clicking tattoo of needles.

My point is not that I only ever want to knit stockinette. It’s just that when I knit stockinette I always think “wow, that looks nice”.

Myrtle’s-not-too-hot body warmer

Last summer Myrtle didn’t wear clothes. Not really at all. We went camping for a week and the only dirty clothes I brought back for her were night clothes as I wasn’t risking getting woken up by a chilly one year old.

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That all changed the week she got chicken pox. Having had to insist at least on her wearing clothes outside our home suddenly she was resolute about wanting to wear clothes, and being very clear about her tastes. Maybe it made her scratch less but it didn’t seem like great timing.

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She may never be the kind of child who wants to be all bundled up though so when thinking about what I was going to make for her before starting on something for Red, promised him when they both chose yarn for me for my birthday, I had to bear in mind that she wouldn’t want to be too hot. I had thought maybe a skirt but she assured me she wouldn’t wear it. At least I knew that before starting.

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My mum had bought me some yarn on holiday last summer and it took me a while to decide what to do with it. Partly perhaps because it was Manos del Uruguay which, though beautiful I have had bad experiences with.. It was also a variegated colour way I don’t think I would have bought myself, which actually made it even more fun to knit with if a little more tricky to settle on a pattern for.

I eventually decided on a body warmer which I designed myself, using the Manos yarn edged with plain black. I had hoped to give it a hood but couldn’t make the single skein of each stretch that far. I knitted it top down with simple cabling down the front edges. It went really fast. Myrtle assured me she liked it and was excited about it. “This is for me” she frequently told me.

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Alas, I got it on her briefly for a very quick photo but she has made her pronouncement. “I am Not Sure”.

All is not lost. Red is going to love his jumper. Of that I am sure!

Grateful recipient

Red is one of my most grateful knitwear recipient and a holiday to Holland provided some good knitting time as well as some exciting inspiration which I will describe another day.

Whilst suspecting Myrtle might not be keen on her knitted body warmer I was sure Red would be really excited about his jumper. We spent quite a while talking about how we’d like it to look. I had some clear ideas about the design I wanted to create. Red had bought the yarn for my birthday: highly variegated greens, browns and yellows in a fingering weight yarn. Not really enough for a jumper. Plenty once I’d added some black of the same weight.

My concept for this was to knit the jumper from the top with the coloured yarn as the main yarn, but to introduce stripes of black that gradually got thicker whilst the coloured stripes got thinner until the black was the main colour. Red was really excited about the idea, and more excited with each fitting, although he did comment the last time that it still doesn’t look that much like a jumper. But it soon will…