knitting

Adventures in giant knitting

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.

Adventures in 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…

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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.

A giant knitted throw Giant knitting (great for wannabe ghosts)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.

Happy Monday!

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Happy New Year!

Welcome back, and  Happy New Year!  I hope that you had a lovely Christmas and a chance to switch off from the hurly-burly of day to day life.  We had a wonderful time here; a great, celebratory Christmastime, and then a lovely slow blur of days which blended into each other as we nested at home, piled up in rugs on the sofa, with the occasional blast of icy fresh air from walks in the woods.

Santa was extremely kind this year, and so too were our friends and relatives who showered Harry in loveliness, so thoughts this week turned to the very important task of saying a heartfelt ‘thank you’.  Harry’s a wee bit too young still to produce identifiable drawings or to have the concentration and dexterity for complete written sentences, so instead we staged a chaotic 5 minute photoshoot to produce some fun pictures for a home-made thank you card.

harrys thank you cards

I slung an old sheet over a bookcase for a backdrop, then gave Harry a big handful of ‘thank you notes’ – printed ad infinitum onto paper and then sliced into words – to play with.  As you can see from the outtakes below, he tried throwing them, blowing them and ultimately just tried not to drop them; he loved it for about 3 minutes, and that’s all I needed.  The clear-up took slightly longer…

HARRY OUTTAKES

I printed out some copies and glued to blank cards, pasting in one of the ‘thank you’s we used in the photo into the inside of each card and then filling in.  We added interesting stamps to each before feeding into the postbox.

harry cards final

I then got a little carried away with the general theme and made some ‘grown up’ thank you cards using the same principle (below), cutting and pasting the words for thank you in different languages and adding a simple wooden star from a pack of leftover Christmas craft embellishments.  I like their simplicity, particularly for this time of year when we’re all a little weary of sparkly festive colour and ready for a more neutral palette and a return to muted decor…

grazie mille close up grazie mille main

One of the joys of this last couple of weeks has been having the time to play a little and to try new things.  My mum’s Christmas gift to me included a big bag of wool and knitting needles, and a foolproof pattern for a beginners’ scarf; she taught me to cast-on on Boxing Day and I’ve just finished my first ever piece of knitting (below), and mighty proud I am too!  I suspect that I lack the patience and concentration to ever excel at knitting, but I’m cheerily offering hand-knitted scarves to every member of the household, buoyed by a passionate, if temporary, enthusiasm for wool.

knitted scarf

And so to the New Year, and to resolutions.  As some of you know, this blog was born of a resolution on NYE 2012, when I decided to write a blog for a year, documenting the fun stuff I do with Harry and the projects we try.  Up until about the middle of December, I was pretty clear that it would come to a natural end with the close of the year, and I would look back on it as a great thing to have done at a very specific time in my life.

But.

I think I’d really miss it. And without the discipline of posting regularly, I doubt I’d take as many photos or preserve as many memories as I do. So, my resolution for 2013 is to continue for a while longer, perhaps not with the same intensity, but definitely with the same kind of projects and ideas, posting when inspiration strikes and when time allows.  Your comments and feedback are fantastic to receive (and thank you so much to everyone who replied to ‘A Pause’ with all your festive good wishes and the small insights into life where you are; it was a wonderful Christmas present for me).

I’ll be back next week for the grand opening of Harry’s Hardware and Auto – his play store and garage which appeared, as if by magic, last week – and I hope that you’ll join me.  In the meantime, I’m sweeping pine needles, wrapping and storing Christmas decorations, and replacing the glitz and bling of the festive season with simple things around the house, like these; a bowl of fresh lemons which is slowly scenting the kitchen and mingling with the paperwhites and hyacinths to produce a distant promise that Spring will come again…

january lemons