Friday, January 23, 2009

Knitting Though a Resession

I have had a busy couple of weeks getting a couple of friends set up on their first knitting projects. It is a very exciting thing for me being able to infect others with my addiction. I have helped them select a suitable pattern (one of the greatest mistake of a beginner is that they buy a pattern that is well beyond their skill level), & in this case both have chosen to knit for their young daughters.

Paula has chosen a gorgeous jumper for Riley that has contrasting coloured ruffles & Sophie just fell in live with a ballet cardigan wrap for Poppy. Sophie has jumped in boots and all, she has a mum that is an experienced knitter who is currently staying from the UK, so having expert guidance on-site has really helped keep her motivated. Her progress so far has been amazing, she is knitting the back & we I last checked in had already knocked off 10cm of stocking stitch. Her work is incredibly neat & even for a beginner, her greatest challenge so far has been remembering that with the knit stitch you work from the front to the back & purling is from the back to the front. Sophie is loving the 'quiet' mind space that knitting is providing her, she has three small children (as does Paula) aged between 20 months - 5 years, so knitting, even as a beginner, is offering comfort in a very busy household.

I work for a yarn spinning mill & I like to do a few hours each week in the factory shop to keep in touch with knitters locally, I also look after our sales through NZ's version of E-Bay, called Trade Me. I have been stunned at how busy we have been the last few weeks, now for those in the northern hemisphere that is unusual at this time of year, as it's the middle of Summer here, temps consistently between 25 - 30+ degrees C (88 - 95F), not exactly traditional knitting weather. I believe it is all stemmed from the desire to hunker down when times are tough. Instead of taking a euphoric hit when we flex the plastic at the shops, we are getting it when we actually take the time to create something for a loved one or ourselves at home. I keep you abreast of Sophie & Paula's progress.

Knitty updates: I have finished Hugo's hand-painted pants to go with his jumper, they look fabulous (if I do say so myself) & I have made excellent progress on my hybrid vest. The yarn is delicious, it's Naturally Sensation a merino angora blend & just a delight to knit with, I will definitely be seeking it out again. One of my jobs over the next few days is to wind off a few more skeins, Dr. Phil & I are off to Wellington this weekend, minus children, so I want to make sure I have plenty to keep me going. Speaking of which, one of New Zealand premium yarn stores has just been revamped & moved into central Wellington, so look out Knit World Studio you are a high priority destination on my calendar!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Years Knit-olutions

I never make New Years resolutions, I don't smoke, I am comfortable with my weight (I wouldn't complain if I lost a few kilos), but I do like to set goals. Making a list of a series of small, medium & large tasks that are achievable & don't leave you feeling empty when you have failed to comply.
This years list includes things like: Plant a vegetable garden, get Louis settled in a great kindy, make time to rekindle old friendships.... the New Years' Knit list includes: Finish Dr Phil's fusty cardi, have more patterns published, design my first adult garment & knit something for myself. I realised that the last time I knitted something for me what whilst I was pregnant with Louis, it was 3 years ago this month, it was a free form wrap made with some vintage mohair (circa late 70's) that my mother-in-law found in a cupboard after clean out. Now usually vintage yarns are a pretty frightful affair, but this yarn was in near new condition & was a colour I loved & did wear a bit of, so the wrap was made & as well as a long lacy scarf as a thank you to the midwife that delivered Louis. I am pleased to say I still wear it frequently every winter & have had multiple intentions to knit myself more, a shrug, maybe a jacket, I have even purchased yarn, now in the stash, where I have fallen for the colour, texture or both & made sure I have purchased enough for a full size garment (minimum 15 balls). So it was no surprise then when I attended the bi-annual sale of a LYS started this week, I was lured by a dark indigo blue Merino/Angora blend at 60% off. Ten skeins were duly purchased & I thought I would have a crack at a shrug which I made a couple of times last winter for a couple of girlfriends & possibly tweak the design to include a hood, that was until I came across this design in Knitters magazine (purchased at the same time) for a vest that would be flattering to my figure, I could instantly see what I would wear with it & hey presto the yarn I purchased was the same weight required & I have more than enough. Honestly this is the first time in eons that I have felt instantly compelled to drop everything & cast on immediately, so when I have a spare 5 minutes this afternoon I will be winding a skein or two off & getting cast on - wish me luck!

In other knitty updates.... Hugo's hand painted jumper has been completed & I am just delighted in the result, this design will certainly be written up & submitted, I am now onto a pair of pants to match with the remaining yarn, will be touch & go to whether I have enough, but my calculations tell me I should just scrape in.

Dr Phil's Christmas jackpot.... By dear delightful hubby hit the jackpot this year & bought me an Ashford Knitters Loom. Very extravagant I know, but I am smitten. I have put it together & made my first project by following the instruction book to the letter & I am so happy with the results. It is so quick to create large blocks of fabric, so I am already starting to rejig a few projects which required endless row's of stoking stitch & redesigning them to be done on the loom, well done darling!