Tuesday, 17 January 2012

In which I become bicraftual.

We did, indeed, have a most fabulous time in London at the weekend, and I can most highly recommend The Ladykillers.  The run has been extended until mid-April but it's likely to sell out pretty quick so if you were considering it, then hurry up and decide!

We don't think we've been to the Gielgud Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue before but for one of the Victorian/Edwardian theatres, it was pretty comfortable.  TLH is a chap that takes up a lot of space and being about 6'2", he values his legroom.  Most of the older theatres in London are very uncomfortable for him.  Plus the seats can be quite narrow too - how the ladies ever got their voluminous frocks in them I'll never know - but the Gielgud had enough legroom and there was just about enough elbow space so you didn't feel you were encroaching too much on your neighbour.  It's quite an intimate theatre too, so even though we were three rows from the back of the stalls, we still felt we were plenty close enough to see the actors' faces properly.

Enough of that, though.  This was intended as a new Ta-Daa post.  And in a new craft at that.  I've had another go at knitting, with better results than last time.  This time around I fished out some knitting needles, grabbed some wool and knitted and purled for several inches, then ripped it out and started again.  Then ripped it out and started again.  Then decided I'd got the hang of that and actually wanted to try making something.  My goal is - don't laugh - to be able to knit socks.  I'm a sock wearer - 99% of the time I wear trousers or leggings or jogging bottoms so socks it is.  And I like knee socks too, but they're very hard to come by, especially if you have matronly calves, like I do.  So one way to resolve this is to make them myself.  I do realise, of course, that this is a bit like me being able to walk up hilly Guildford High Street and then announce that I'm going to tackle Mount Everest but, hey, doesn't hurt to have goals.

Some of you may have heard of the messageboard Ravelry.  Ostensibly set up for people who knit and/or crochet as a place to keep track of your projects and interact with like-minded addicts, I've been on there for a couple of years now so thought I'd ask those wiser than myself to point me in the direction of a very VERY easy knitting pattern that is absolutely NOT a bloody scarf or a hat (which is what you traditionally start with when learning to knit).  People give me scarfs and I've crocheted at least 3 for myself in the last couple of years so I really don't need anymore of them. 

A lovely lady pointed me in the direction of a free pattern called Dew Drop Cowl.  And, no, a cowl isn't exactly like a scarf even though you wear it round your neck - OK?  Unfortunately I can't link to it from here because you need to be a registered member of Ravelry to access it.  This is what the finished item should look like though:

It calls for knitting, purling, decreasing by knitting two stitches together (k2tog) and increasing by yarn over (yo) and that's all.  It's a very loose knit item so you don't need to worry about tension or gauges.  I had to look up Youtube videos for k2tog and yo but they're simplicity itself.  You also need a set of 6mm circular needles and a stitchmarker.  I found those quite tricky to handle but it makes sense to use circulars because you're creating a tube (the stitchmarker is to indicate where the end of a row would be normally). 

A week ago I popped into my nearest wool shop and got my circulars:


And found myself some really nice yarn which, even better, was on sale at only £3.99 a ball:

It's made of recycled silk, cotton and viscose, and the colour is lovely - a turquoisey blue with flecks of loads of other colours.  Nice.

So I started it on Monday last week, and finished it yesterday.  There were 41 rows of 200 stitches each, so that's 8,200 stitches in all (no wonder my hands ached afterwards).  And it didn't come out too badly at all:

Wearing the Dew Drop Cowl (should've worn some make up!)

Dew Drop Cowl

I'm wearing my Dew Drop Cowl and seemingly my grandmother's chin as well

Of course I've hid the errors well and there were some.  It took me a few rows to work out how to join them on the circulars without leaving a huge gap (I sewed it up after) but the biggest error is that I somehow managed to twist the stitches on the circulars so that instead of it being a proper tube shape, it ended up being a Moebius twist.  I'm calling it a design feature.  It's not, it's a mistake but no-one will know!

Dew Drop Cowl

Dew Drop Cowl

Last night, after I finished and realised where I'd gone wrong, I was really quite pissed off with myself for getting such a simple design wrong but after having slept on it and looked again this morning I think I was being a bit harsh on myself and it's not too bad after all.  Especially for a first attempt.

So what shall I make now?  I still want/need to do very simple stuff - any ideas?

(Oh, and I spent 2 hours this morning filling in an application for a job.  I know - blimey!  It will probably come to naught so I'll let you know more about it when I've more to tell).


OmegaMom said...

Verra nice! Such a pretty color, too!

Good luck on the job app.

watchthatcheese said...

Well done you!! It looks fantastic - you were hard on yourself, no-one will notice the mistakes anyway. And you will know not to do them again.

I too would luurve to make socks, really truly. I love hand knitted socks, I did try once but didn't get past the first row. Knitting would be a great skill to have and uses heaps less wool that crochet too.

Good luck with the job too.

Alienne said...

That's really nice; don't knock yourself about errors - I regularly have to unpick and redo bits of my knitting. How about trying a hat? They don't have to be hard and there are plenty of those on Ravelry. Or you could try Toft Alpaca, who sell kits or you can choose your own pattern and wool - I am part way through one of their hats.

livesbythewoods said...

Good knitted hat patterns would be fab, actually. I recently started what is likely to end up as a scarf, but it has hat potential.

elizabethm said...

That looks fabulous, love the colour and the lacy pattern. I might almost be tempted to make one but as you know from my blog I have already made three cowls! They are the perfect place to start knitting. I think socks are perfectly achievable. I have made one pair and then got very stuck on the second because the yarn is very fine and the needles very small and you feel to knit and knit and get nowhere. Why not try fingerless gloves next? I have a very easy pattern if you want it. Email me or there are loads on Ravelry too I think! I have become a bit addicted to knitting I suspect. It goes so well with sitting by the fire!