I wanted to knit a cowl that was warm enough for winter, but could be wrapped loosely for wearing around the house. I made this from Rico creative cotton aran in moss stitch. I spotted the pattern on ravelry; you can find the pattern here on the twoandsix blog.
I found the cotton aran yarn a bit tricky to work with as it’s not very forgiving. Although it feels really soft and has a nice weight and drape, I’m not sure it was the best to use for this project.
I had some lovely ‘cygnet seriously chunky’ wool left over from a cowl that I made a while back, so I decided to use it up and make a matching hat. Predictably, I ran out of leftover wool making the hat and had to buy another ball, leaving me with more leftover wool.. ah well. It’s the first hat I’ve knitted and I’m mainly just pleased that it actually fits. I have a (really) small head, so whenever I try hats on in shops they tend to fall straight down in front of my eyes, which is not helpful!
Adam asked if I would knit him a scarf for Christmas, so after a bit of a hunt around on ravelry and knitting blogs, I came up with a few examples I thought he might like. We settled on this ribbed knitted scarf design from the purl bee. He just wanted something simple and warm to see him through to spring and this pattern looked perfect. With the freezing weather we’ve had since January it’s made an appearance on most days, so it’s definitely been working hard on the neck-warming front.
After knitting up a few test rows, I decided to make it a bit skinnier than the pattern called for so that it wouldn’t be too bulky when wrapped around.
It was a great one to knit in front of the telly as it’s a simple repeating pattern; we got through a lot of the walking dead during the making of this scarf!
Ok, so it looks like my general crafty/photo-y blog is turning into a dedicated knitting blog.. it wasn’t my intention! I tend to have long periods of really getting into one particular thing until I’ve got the hang of it, then I start getting the urge to learn something new. For the moment though, I still feel like there’s a long way to go until I can progress from ‘novice knitter’ to ‘can totally knit anything,’ which is where I would rather like to be.
Things have been really busy lately with work which is great, but it does mean that my time has been taken over by lots of non blogging activities these past few weeks. I really want to keep growing my blog; I can always seem to find time to make things, so photographing them and writing about it should be able to fit in there too!
I’m really pleased I discovered this acrylic wool by Cygnet, called Seriously Chunky. I never seem to find anything vegan friendly in the shops that’s up there thickness-wise with the lovely Rowan ‘big wool’ types, so I thought there wasn’t really anything like it available. But now that I’ve stumbled across the Cygnet wool online I can make giant vegan scarves to my heart’s content, hurrah! I started with this cowl (although I decided to make mine a bit shorter):
It was great wool to work with, and it’s embarrassingly sad how excited I was to see a lovely chunky scarf appearing so quickly!
I also had a random ball of wool that I wanted to use up on a small project, so I made these long fingerless gloves:
I’d seen ‘blocking’ mentioned in various knitting patterns, but had no idea what it was until I looked it up recently. Strangely I read lots of contradicting advice about using the method with non animal fibres; some websites were saying it’s not possible and pointless to do it with acrylic, others saying it’s really important to block acrylic.. confusing. So I thought I’d give the simplest technique a go on these gloves and I found it to work really well. It evened out the edges (making sewing the seams so much easier) and made the stitches look flatter and neater. So I will definitely be blocking from now on. I like how you can adjust the size slightly too, if you draw out the measurements that your knitting should be, you can tweak things slightly if they are a bit wonky or a bit too small.
The (slightly bodged) method I used was to pin the glove onto some foam board, spray it with lots of water and leave to dry.
It’s around this time of year that I tend to find myself wandering around clothes shops and furtively checking labels in the faint hope that something soft and warm-looking might not have the sneaky ’5%’ wool’ lurking in the fibre content, dashing my hopes of acquiring a new defence against the cold weather!
People always comment on how hard it must be as a vegan to resist cakes and cheese, but for me that’s the easy bit. Finding decent non-leather shoes and big soft jumpers to keep me warm is the most infuriating challenge! I’m the sort of person who’s shivering in summer if a cloud or slight breeze appears, so acquiring warm clothes (that don’t make me look like I live in the woods and whittle my own hemp sandals) is big on the to-do list.
This is partly why knitting really appeals to me; being able to make my own vegan versions of things in nice colours and from decent yarns is fab. Jumpers will take a bit more expertise than I currently have, so I’m focusing on my slight scarf obsession for the moment. I stumbled across The Purl Bee website the other day and fell in love with absolutely everything on it. I’m going to attempt the Herringbone cowl soon, hopefully it won’t be as complex to make as it looks.
About a million years ago I started knitting a short sleeved jumper. I think it’s going ok, my main concern though is that it won’t fit and I’ll have to find a random small child to give it to instead… As I’m pretty new to knitting, I’m really eager to get to the end of a project so that I can get on with the next exciting thing. So as the end of the top is nowhere near in sight, I had a go at knitting a necklace which I was able to complete in a couple of short sessions, hurrah. It meant learning how to make an icord which is basically a knitted sausage, great stuff. I’m quite happy with how it turned out, now I’ve got the hang of it I have plans for more elaborate ones, possibly knotted together.
I’ve been growing out my pixie cut for months now, it’s still at that ‘interesting’ stage, with extra helpings of split ends. Hopefully it will look less frightening after it gets trimmed this week..
I’ve really enjoyed learning how to knit, I think i’ve got the knitting bug now. I keep eyeing up projects that are far too advanced for me on Ravelry..
Here’s my first completed project, a ribbed scarf:
(You’ll have to excuse the messy hair, I’m in the fun period of trying to grow out a pixie cut!)
I had some wool left over, so I was able to make myself some nifty matching hand warmers too!
I’m definitely going to be prepared for the weather when winter comes around this year. I’m itching to tackle something a bit more exciting next.. this cardigan has caught my eye, but I have no idea what most of the pattern means, so I think I’ll need to enlist someone to help me with this one!
I decided recently to have another go at learning to knit. I wanted to do it properly this time, not just getting as far as a misshapen rectangle and giving up… So I booked myself onto a beginners knitting course at Warwickshire College. It wasn’t easy to find a structured course, there are lots of social groups where people meet to eat cake, have a chat and work on their projects (which sounds great), but I needed to actually get the hang of the whole knitting thing first. Unfortunately a few days before it was due to start, they rang me to tell me it had been cancelled, it would seem that there is only one other person in Warwickshire that wants to learn how to knit.. not enough to run a course! So I have been going it alone (with the help of the excellent book Knitty Gritty) for the last few weeks, and I really think I’m starting to get the hang of it.
I’m starting with the classic beginners project – a scarf, but have decided to go for a ribbed pattern to make it more interesting, just doing the same stitch over and over again was getting a little tedious! I’m using acrylic chunky wool by King Cole. As a vegan I was a little bit apprehensive about how much choice there would be out there as I don’t want to use real wool, but after looking around a few shops I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the colours and ranges of non-animal wool.
A full set of beautiful bamboo needles that I ordered arrived in the post a few days ago; switching to these from slippery metal ones has made things much more comfortable. And they look prettier too.
It may not be perfect, but it’s getting noticeably better as I go along, hopefully it will be wearable when I’m done!
I’m already planning my next project, these handwarmers found on creative yarn: