I’m Having a Knitfest

Remember me struggling with the fisherman’s rib stitch jumper?  The stitch makes a great looking fabric but every mistake shows and it’s very hard to put them right.  Anyway, having undone almost the whole thing once, I persevered and now I have a back, front and almost one sleeve so it looks as if I might have a wearable ‘slob around the place’ jumper at the end of it after all.

I need another blanket/quilt/throw like a hole in the head but I was sorely tempted by this knit along (KAL) run by Black Sheep Wools and designed by Sarah Haddon.  It’s called ‘A Day Out’ and I liked the idea of lots of squares made with different knitting techniques so I thought I’d do it and call it a learning curve.

The above example was made with one of the colour packs put together by Black Sheep Wools but it’s a merino wool which is not as easy care as acrylic and, much as I would prefer merino, any home furnishings in this house need to be as dog and cat proof as much as possible. So I tried to find similar colours in the alternative yarn (Sylecraft Special Aran) but couldn’t see a similar purple so substituted a dark charcoal.

So, full of good intentions and unreasonable expectations I joined the Facebook support group and cast on for the first of many 20cm squares.  The new squares have been introduced weekly on Tuesdays and some new (to me) techniques were involved and looked a bit scary

Week one was fun and we had to make four of these.

I finally gave in and bought some foam interlocking mats which were much cheaper than proper blocking mats – although I did treat myself to those rather cheerful rainbow blocking pins.  A lot of people don’t block at all – let alone acrylic yarn – but I find pinning the squares out to size and giving it a couple of squirts with the steam iron held a a few inches above, not touching the yarn, works wonders in getting the size right and opening out the pattern.

Week 2 was mosaic knitting which I thought would be very scary.  However, it wasn’t scary at all and I enjoyed it.  Quite difficult to see the effect in the subtle colours I’ve chosen (I have lots of crochet blankets in bright colours so wanted a change) but this square proved to be my undoing in the process of trying to keep up in the KAL as we had to do eight of this particular one and I just don’t knit that fast or that often.

So, once I made five I decided to come back to this one and carry on with the following week and, up to now, have managed at least one of the new blocks released each  week just to try them and give myself some encouragement and will go back and finish the others in the fulness of time.

Here’s week number three’s square, a pretty lacy sort of design.

Week four looked very scary but it turned out to be one of my favourites and was actually quite simple. You make the inner cabled square and then, one side at a time, pick up the stitches on each side and do the stripy garter stitch to make it into a 20cm square with the inner square on point.

I was also happy to see my charcoal coloured yarn introduced into the three colour mix as there are only  three colours and I was getting fed up with only using two.

I love this mosaic square for week five.

Week six was a bobbly pattern which involved a different technique than the usual one for making bobbles which some liked, some didn’t, There have been quite a lot of mavericks on the Facebook group going off in different directions or substituting different blocks for the ones they found too difficult or just not to their liking,

Week seven was one some people weren’t keen on,  It could be worked flat or in the round – I’m not keen on circular needles so did mine flat.  It was quite fascinating the way it started off with a lot of stitches then gradually decreased in a clever way until it looked all frilly on the needles.

Then, when you cast off, and after sewing up one seam, it turns into this square.

Clever eh?

Fascinating to make but it’s not my favourite and we have to do eight of them.  I’ll probably make four and do a different pattern for the other four – somebody on the FB group has come up with one that looks nice so I’ll use that, I’m not proud.

Anyway, this is where I am up to so far.  Long way to go  but there’s no rush.

Which is just as well because now I have my knitting mojo back I bought this….

to make this

and this

to make this.

What am I like?

That second pattern with the star in relief wouldn’t have caught my eye if I’d just seen the pattern leaflet but, when I went to the local ‘town’ the other day, I noticed there is a yarn/fabric/haberdashery shop – Glory Be! – and they had the finished article in blue on a mannequin in the window and it looked really good. So it is now in my ‘knitting whilst watching (although nothing with subtitles)’ queue which has to be simple knitting otherwise I go wrong.  Those squares have to be done with concentration so have to be ‘fully conscious during the daytime’ knitting and that’s probably why I’ve fallen behind.

The only thing is, I have taken up a whole bedroom in the new house as my workroom and I tend to knit downstairs so Mr. Tialys is starting to doubt the wisdom of that decision.  This means I have to get back on to that sewing machine but I really do have too many clothes already and my patchwork mojo is decidedly absent at the moment.  I have made a few new items for my Etsy shop but, since the ‘B’ word and the ‘P’ word (Brexit and Pandemic) I’m only selling within the U.K. so my audience is limited and, therefore, so is my enthusiasm for it.

Not to worry – I find that, unlike fly-by-night crafts I sometimes indulge in, my regular enthusiasms are on a constant turnaround  – what happened to my dog portraits for example? I would do those in my workroom.  I’d better get back to them at some stage as I have the national collection of wool fibre in assorted colours – probably enough to make a life-size dog, let alone a 2D ten inch square portrait.

I got up at 6a.m. this morning – the sunlight glinting off the frost woke me up – but I wrote this post instead of knitting another square.  Maybe that’s where I’m going wrong.

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  1. #1 by Jean Andress on May 1, 2021 - 10:11

    I have a workroom but do most of my knitting elsewhere! I asked Himself if he even knew what I was knitting. He said how could he miss those squares blocking every where! Yep The Day Out! 8 squares a week does test my endurance and boredom threshold so I like your idea of doing an alternative.

    • #2 by tialys on May 1, 2021 - 11:31

      I usually hope my Himself doesn’t know what I’m knitting because, if he did, then he’d know how much yarn I’ve bought. 😉

  2. #3 by claire93 on May 1, 2021 - 10:18

    love all the colours & textures of your KAL squares, Lynn. and well done for stepping out of your comfort zone, learning new stitches! That’s what it’s all about isn’t it? Keeping brain active, and learning new techniques . . . none of this stuck-in-a-rut for you!
    Very envious to hear you have a local craft shop! Am sure you’ll become a regular visitor there, and it won’t be long before you meet like-minded people locally, and maybe find a crafting group to join?

    • #4 by tialys on May 1, 2021 - 11:35

      The shop is for knitting/crochet/soft furnishings/dressmaking and is small but nice to have a local source of supply in case of ’emergency’. There is another shop just along the road from that where I took in a print for re-framing and I noticed they had paints and cross stitch stuff. A great big ancient pub in the same road (soon to re-open), an Indian restaurant, two Chinese ones and a fish and chip shop – ooh and a Waitrose. What more could a girl want?

      • #5 by claire93 on May 1, 2021 - 12:37

        go on rub it in, make me green with envy! All I’ve got is Action and Noz (that occasionally has craft goods in) and the internet.
        I’m also drooling at the thought of Indian, 2 Chinese AND a fish ‘n chip shop but sadly, even if I lived next door, with my GF issues, I wouldn’t be able to have much on the menu. Eating out had become a thing of the past even before Covid hit.

      • #6 by tialys on May 1, 2021 - 12:44

        Sorry about that – although I did find Action quite handy and enjoyed the occasional rummage in Noz trying to find the occasional treasure amongst the c**p. Actually, thinking about it, I quite fancy an Indian tonight – they deliver too 😉

  3. #7 by Pat K on May 1, 2021 - 13:57

    Really enjoying your posts Lynn – wish I was as motivated as you!

    • #8 by tialys on May 2, 2021 - 10:45

      Hi Pat. I hope you are still managing to paint and patchwork, your work was always so lovely. I saw your FB post the other day after you had prepared your terrace for the Summer and it brought back memories of the lovely lunch you and Diego treated us too. Hugs to you both. x

  4. #9 by Laurie Graves on May 1, 2021 - 14:34

    This cracked me up: “full of good intentions and unreasonable expectations.” That surely could describe me! At any rate, how busy you have been. Look forward to seeing more of your beautiful creations.

    • #10 by tialys on May 2, 2021 - 10:43

      Funny how the perfect expression can sometimes just come to you out of nowhere and, other times, you can grope around for the right words for ages – a situation I imagine you are familiar with in your writing projects.

  5. #12 by Carol on May 1, 2021 - 14:44

    Love all the different squares, but especially love the Star jumper. You’re going to be busy, busy, busy…..

    • #13 by tialys on May 2, 2021 - 10:40

      The best sort of busy! 😁

  6. #14 by Evie Jones on May 1, 2021 - 14:56

    I stole the dining room in our house for my sewing room. Dave was most miffed with the smallest bedroom as his office. I also knit in the sitting room and keep my knitting basket in the playroom away from the chomping skills of Bailey the Bulldog. Dave can complain about it…..but will never get another sock again if he does! ;-).

    Love all of these projects, but that cardigan is just the most perfectly slouchy thing. And the rib sweater is coming up grand.

    • #15 by tialys on May 2, 2021 - 10:38

      Yes, Dave is well provided for in your creative output which was an excellent ploy to hold on to your space – although I’m sure completely unintentional.
      I spotted a lovely slouchy mustard coloured fluffy cardigan being worn by an actress in the Netflix series ‘Behind Her Eyes’ (very good if you haven’t seen it) and searched for a similar pattern online. Turns out it was an H&M cardie, no longer available, and anyway it contained angora so I probably wouldn’t have bought it even if it was. This was the nearest I could find to the shape and it’s garter stitch so will be mindless knitting and it’s always good to have one of those projects on the go so people can expect a coherent reply when they speak to you mid-row 😉

      • #16 by Evie Jones on May 2, 2021 - 15:39

        That’s in our watch list. Must get round to it soon. Love a good mindless knitting project. Especially when the end result is so lovely.

  7. #17 by nanacathy2 on May 1, 2021 - 15:24

    I am so glad you wrote this instead of knitting. So much yarny woolly loveliness. Those squares are very impressive, and I love the colours. As to workspaces, hmmm, the sofa is my knitting crochet zone, sewing machine on the dining room table and everything else upstairs.

    • #18 by tialys on May 2, 2021 - 10:28

      I do feel slightly guilty about taking one of the bedrooms as we haven’t got the amount of space here we had before but we still have one spare bedroom (albeit a single) and a blow up king size mattress that can go on the floor in my workroom should any guest be misguided enough to bring their other half. There’s a gorgeous B&B down the road for the really determined 😉

  8. #19 by katechiconi on May 1, 2021 - 15:48

    Makes me thank God on my knees I never got the knitting bug. I can’t begin to imagine what my workspace would be like if I collected yarn projects too. Note how I phrased that, a realistic assessment of what it’d be like….

    • #20 by tialys on May 2, 2021 - 10:25

      Yes, I can imagine yarn would be something you would very easily become enamoured with and start to amass if you had caught the knitting or crochet bug. I did give away a lot of my yarn stash before we moved and I am now determined never to buy yarn unless it’s for a particular project and, if I have any left at the end, I pledge to bag it up and give it to a charity shop immediately rather than have it hanging around. As it is, I estimate probably six cubes in my storage system are taken with yarn and another two with felting fibre. So think yourself lucky (or wise!).

      • #21 by katechiconi on May 2, 2021 - 12:24

        Narrow escape, I feel, given my propensity to fall in love with the pretties!

  9. #22 by CurlsnSkirls on May 1, 2021 - 16:19

    Lovely knits, Lynn! But am grateful not to have become enamoured of the 2-sticks, as crochet keeps me yarn-yearning enough. After all, there’s the Fabric Collection to consider. 😉

    • #23 by tialys on May 2, 2021 - 10:20

      Well, I crochet too but knitting was my first love, learnt at my mother’s knee, so I like to revisit the two sticks occasionally. Also, generally speaking, I like crochet for home furnishings and accessories but prefer knitting for clothing.

      • #24 by CurlsnSkirls on May 2, 2021 - 22:55

        Ah, I thought you also crocheted! I like to home stuff with that as well. I might knit, too, but none of my elders had that skill and I’ve been too lazy, and lived in too many hot climates, to learn. But I enjoy seeing others like yourself who can make such wonderful, wearable things!

  10. #25 by tinaor on May 1, 2021 - 19:09

    Great choice of colours for the blanket – looking forward to the day they are all knitted up and put together and you show us here! Love the look of the ‘star’ jumper and the really cheery yellow yarn. You sound like lots of us – can never ‘just’ have one project on the needles/planned! Don’t feel guilty about blogging and not knitting – happens to us all ….. as I sit in my lounge with more than one WIP !

    • #26 by tialys on May 2, 2021 - 10:19

      Thank you, I like the colours for the blanket as the more muted tones suit what will eventually be my home décor when I can get the OH out of the garden and we can make a start on decorating some of the rooms in the new house.
      I know I’m amongst like minded people here when I mention multiple WIPs 😉

  11. #27 by sew2pro on May 1, 2021 - 23:36

    You’re my knitting guru! I never imagined you’d need a support group, but what a great way to learn new technique. Enjoy the new jumpers and good luck :0)

    • #28 by tialys on May 2, 2021 - 10:15

      The good thing about a KAL or a CAL is that, if you join in with the corresponding Facebook group, others who are quicker off the mark, can make the mistakes and warn you about them before you make them yourself. I always research dressmaking patterns by reading the blog posts of people who’ve already used them for the same reason. If I am ever first off the mark I will return the favour.

  12. #29 by kathyreeves on May 2, 2021 - 04:58

    Those are some really nice blanket squares, and your future projects look like winners too! My knitting projects are currently in slow motion…only the sock gets any attention these days, because it sits on the dining room table so I pick it up during after dinner chats.

    • #30 by tialys on May 2, 2021 - 10:12

      It’s good to have at least one project that you can do almost without thinking isn’t it – and I bet, in your case, that’s not the Orkney. 😉

      • #31 by kathyreeves on May 6, 2021 - 00:32

        You are absolutely correct, Lynn!

  13. #32 by Wild Daffodil on May 5, 2021 - 07:54

    You really are going for it! The blanket looks fab – love the colours together.

    • #33 by tialys on May 5, 2021 - 16:06

      Thanks Sandra. I’m excited today – I’ve heard a wool shop previously based in Yeovil has moved premises and, guess what? – it’s just a 5 minute drive away from me. They opened today I think and I’m planning to go and have a nose tomorrow although I’m in no position to buy any new yarn at the moment (see post 😉). I hear that, once things have eased, they are planning to start knit and natter sessions which will be a great way to meet new people since I haven’t had a chance since we moved here due to quarantine then restrictions then lockdown. How fortuitous is that?

  14. #34 by cedar51 on May 7, 2021 - 07:32

    well those projects should keep you very busy – but that’s all good. Many knitters here use those interlocking mats but have found if you get the “mechanics” interlocking mats they are actually cheaper, found usually at hardware stores…

    • #35 by tialys on May 7, 2021 - 09:58

      Yes, I bought a set of 10 interlocking mats which were sold as a child’s play mat (hence the bright colours) and they cost about £6. They don’t have an grid on them but I’m a dab hand with a tape measure.

  15. #36 by craftycreeky on May 11, 2021 - 08:25

    I love the blanket, I was almost tempted to try it but my knitting skills are very limited! I have a big sewing room buthand-sewing does tend to creep into several other rooms 🙂

    • #37 by tialys on May 12, 2021 - 18:29

      I like to think I’m being more sociable by knitting in the same room where Mr. Tialys is working (although I’m careful to keep out of the reach of the camera if he’s on a Zoom meeting) but whether or not he appreciates that I’m not sure.😉

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