Knitting really does give me such a lot of pleasure. The last few weeks have been busy and although knitting has taken a back seat, an interlude with yarn and needles does wonders for untangling thoughts and finding solutions. Knitting provides me with mental challenges. As part of my new-knitting-year concept I set myself some knitting challenges; things like different knitting and construction techniques, or stitches and patterns that are new to me. Even though I have been knitting on and off since I was about 7 years old I haven’t ventured away from my familiar repertoire. Now I am enjoying branching out and feeling satisfied with mastery of new skills.
While I am knitting I remember how I came about the yarn; perhaps the place or occasion I bought it, or the person who gave it to me, or what the colours remind me of. It might be that the pattern has particular significance. There is always something that brings back a fond recollection, or a memorable experience of some sort.
And of course there is the sense of pleasure of knitting for yourself, and even more when you are knitting for someone else.
I’ve recently finished knitting a jersey for me. I used a lovely olive green yarn that was in my stash cupboard to knit Kate Davies’ Owls pattern. A first for me, it required knitting “in the round” on circular needles for the body, and the sleeves on double-pointed needles, all up to the armholes then joining the segments to knit the owl-patterned yoke. Apart from me twisting the joining round of the body twice and starting again, and again (arrgh), the pattern went superbly and I’m pleased with my jersey.
I bought the yarn I used on the Owls jersey (and the yarn for a work-in-progress project I finished at the start of the new-knitting-year) from Blackwell’s department store in Kaiapoi (NZ), my hometown. I always call in to Blackwells when I visit my Mum in Kaiapoi and often buy yarn; they have a great yarn section and all the bits and bobs you need for a project. Kaiapoi was badly affected in the Canterbury earthquakes in 2010.
Half or more of Blackwell’s store was seriously damaged and later demolished. After the earthquake they moved out of the damaged building and squeezed into a temporary shop at the other end of the main street; it was while they were there that I bought mauve wool for the earlier project. At the next step in Blackwells recovery they moved back to the safely habitable part of their original shop and began planning the rebuild. I bought the olive green yarn at that stage. Blackwells have continued trading through the whole process and are now on the brink of opening their wonderful extensively rebuilt store. I’m looking forward to seeing photos and I can’t wait to visit again – I take my hat off to Blackwells and their staff and I hope they and their customers enjoy the new shop. And that’s the story that’s behind my Owls jersey.
As well as the olive green owls I have finished a quick cowl using Freia Handpaint colour-changing yarn bought on our recent trip to London at Loop yarn boutique in Islington. It was so much fun to knit; as the new colour emerged I’d think just one more row, soon I’d done 2 rows then 6 and next time I checked the time it was way past midnight! I’ve done my favourite Debbie Bliss rabbit baby booties, a hat, and mittens for baby Ben – the newest member of our Tuesday afternoon knitting group, and I have finalised the selection of colours for my crochet Rose Garden blanket and started on the first circles.
So much pleasure already and the knitting year has only just begun!