On my birthday recently, my mother gave me a very large cardboard box. I say she gave it to me; in fact she dragged it in through the front door with much huffing and puffing and muttered cussing, and left it in the hall whilst she lay down on the sofa to recover herself with a gin & tonic.
‘Is it a puppy?’ asked Harry hopefully.
‘Why no‘ she announced dramatically; ‘it is ….A BALL OF WOOL!’.
A 5kg ball of lightly-spun wool as large as a doberman in fact, and a pair of 60mm wide knitting needles to tame it with. Welcome to the unladylike art of Giant Knitting.
It took me a little while to begin the knitting because the needles were immediately seized to be used as light sabres and general tools for random destruction. You can see the appeal…
Once in posession of both needles and wool, I studied the booklet that came with the kit (mine was from here), and taught myself the basic ‘knit one, purl one’ blanket stitch. Unlike those genteel grandmothers you see clacking away on television, there was nothing effortless about my stitching; it required a vast turning circle of personal space (I jabbed so many family members in the eye and ribs with my herculean needles that I was eventually exiled to a small chair on my own); but good lord, there is something so satisfying about knitting a throw that is four foot square in just two hours. To give you a sense of the scale, just 25 stitches completes a row (and also, I suspect, burns about 200 calories).
Occasionally the wool would come unspun and break apart if I tugged too hard, but you can immediately press it back together and carry on. Dropped stitches are by their very size immediately obvious, making this the most energetic but also the most forgiving of needlecrafts. I think I am in love. The only drawback is the cost; a ball this size will cost around £100, which makes this not an economical hobby. But as my husband says ‘Not bad value when you consider you’re basically knitting together an entire flock of sheep’. Well quite.
My messy, irregular and somewhat whispy wool throw is a thing of great heft but also of quiet beauty, and magnetises the smallest member of the house.
Have you tried giant knitting before? Any tips or second-project recommendations? A couple of people on Instagram recommended arm knitting, which sounds like a natural progression, albeit not one to try when multi-tasking, I suspect.