Facing the Seemingly Impossible

I set two goals for myself this year: to master stranded knitting and to learn the Brioche stitch. Having taken a workshop on Brioche, I now feel comfortable enough to start a brioche stitch cowl really soon. I would have made one already but I have been fighting with my latest obsession, the Scandinavian mitten.

My original goal was to get back into Fair Isle or Icelandic style of colourwork, but I got side-tracked when I started reading about the origins of knitting in Scotland and the Faroe Islands. Which of course lead to many hours of scouring Ravelry for patterns, where I came across my new favourite: Scandinavian-style knitting. Oh…the triangular ends, the two-colour stranding, the red-and-white colour and wonderful designs! While I have many, many stored in my Ravelry library, it is the Snow Ghost Mittens and Hat patterns by Aimee Alexander of Polka Dot Sheep Publications that I fell in love with.

The whole endeavour wasn’t without its challenges. I started the right mitten no less than five times to find the right size, with increasing sizes of needles and even a brief foray into a thicker yarn. But, at long last, success!!

What seemed so complicated at the beginning fell into place with all of the extra practice with the pattern. The rounds got faster and the mitten grew. so here it is: the right hand mitten!!!

image

the bottom side

the top side

the top side

I haven’t washed and blocked it yet so the colours will even out a bit. I am showing today it to my friend Nancy, who claimed the mittens as soon as I showed her the pattern. I am thinking she might expect a left mitten too, so back to the needles.

Happy Knitting, Happy Life.

Creating a life one stitch at a time

For many years I didn’t create anything. I didn’t write creatively, didn’t draw, knit or weave. I’m not sure why–maybe I was too busy living, working, playing. Or it didn’t seem cool.

I had forgotten what it felt like to watch a garment fill the space between the needles, hear the gentle click-click-click of metal on metal, feel the satisfaction in giving something handmade and well-made.

I had learned to knit as a young child by my English mother, who learned at a young age from her mother, and so on, back through our heritage. I returned to knitting in my twenties, sweaters mostly, given to friends, or, in major lapses of judgement, to boyfriends who never seemed to last as long as it took me to knit the sweater. Ahhh youth.

Mostly I stayed in my comfort zone, knitting sweaters, using the only yarn I had really been exposed to — acrylic — available everywhere you looked. I firmly believed I was allergic to wool, despite having never really worn anything else.  Then one day I wandered into a good wool shop and found a new world of yarn, wool, all types of wool. I wasn’t an instant convert, as good wool isn’t cheap, but I ventured into Icelandic sweaters, mohair and cashmere blends.

In my mid-twenties I had had the good fortune of meeting a new friend who owned her own four-shaft floor loom. I was entranced, and even had the opportunity to buy it but didn’t have the space. But a seed had been planted deep in my soul, and a few years later, I took a weaving course, and felt a whole new world open up to me: the rhythm of throwing the shuttle and beating the weft, cloth made from my own bare hands.

It was a few decades before I was to own my own four-shaft floor loom, a Lecelerc Fanny from Canada. I added to it two rigid heddle looms from New Zealand and a weaver was born.  I also found a new favourite wool shop that opened my eyes and hands to beautiful wool from all over the world; wool that I wasn’t actually allergic to, wool that slipped through the fingers like silk, soft, squishy and beautiful.

Now I knit. I weave. I pore over books and websites for new patterns and ideas. I stockpile yarn like there might be a shortage next week. And I sell what I make to keep the yarn coming.

And now I write. Please join me on my journey, creating a life one stitch, one thread, at a time.