The importance of goals

I do not knit.

I understand the theory. I can (just) produce a scarf. I know my knit from my purl. But my actions in bringing these things together do not result in a thing of beauty. Until yesterday I could not cast on properly, I was doing something proper knitters look down on: half hitch casting on. I can cast off. Just about. In knit, not purl. I can’t increase or decrease.

And this is annoying. Because there are fabulous, gorgeous, light, delicate wafty knitted things out that that I want to make. So my challenge to myself is to go from “I do not knit” to producing a delicate wafty thing, without being able to take my knitting to Mum to sort out the mistakes.

This is the Book of Knowledge. Notice the helpful flash on the corner, so I know it’s suitable for me. It’s truly basic, starting with how to hold the needles. It does work up to the clever stuff though…

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This is what I produced today. I had the red ball of yarn and the cute needles stashed away at the back of a cupboard after someone who didn’t know I couldn’t knit gave them to me for Christmas. I think that long tail casting on’s quite OK, and the stitches seem quite regular. I was holding the needles properly and tensioning the yarn through my fingers (how hard is that stuff? But I have the trick of it now). I was doing it the Right Way. I now know how to count the rows, so I can tell you there are 8 rows of 28 stitches. Tomorrow I may try a little light ribbing instead of just stockinette stitch.

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This is what I want to be capable of. Not much of an ask, I’m sure you’ll agree! I look at the pictures and go “pretty!”. I look at the words and diagrams and go “pretty scary!”.

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And this is my goal – something delicate and wafty. If not this exact thing, then something similar. Maybe I’ll use my multicoloured mohair yarn… or maybe by the time I get there the moths will have munched it up and I’ll need to find something else to make it from.

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But there’s a long way to go before I get there, not least of which is learning how to read a pattern without scaring the pants off myself. And it’s going to have to wait till I’ve finished Happiness. I have just quilted square number 52. I’m over halfway. I may finish the hearts for the Friday Finish, but probably not the straight lines…

How’s your midweek going?


Sunday Stash

I don’t do these very often, since I try not to buy stash items every week.

Mostly I succeed. But there was a sale on at Spotlight yesterday, with 40% off all yarn and lots off a wide variety of fabrics.  So, yes, I succumbed. Not a huge surprise.

Screen shot 2014-04-26 at 5.40.04 PMThis is my yarn haul. Since I have no idea what I want to make, just that I liked the feel and the colour, I didn’t buy much. The big balls are 100% pure wool 8 ply, 100g each. The bluey/greeny/purply ones are a colour called Ocean, and the brown/purple/ orange/charcoal ones are Volcano. I’m interest to see what happens when they meet in one place!

Screen shot 2014-04-26 at 5.40.21 PMThe small balls are an acrylic/mohair/wool mix, in 50g balls. No colour name, just a number. But I couldn’t resist the sweet spring colours. You’d think the climate here would put me off yarn. Nope…

Screen shot 2014-04-26 at 5.40.41 PMThis is 90cm of pink and white patterned lawn, reduced from $15 a metre down to $4.50 a metre.  I could not resist. I’m thinking more hankies. There was a gorgeous black and white print, but still at the full price of $18 a metre. I didn’t buy any, but now I’m hankering for it.  It was a mid size print of ginkgo leaves in black and grey on a white background. Lovely!

Screen shot 2014-04-26 at 5.40.56 PMThese are fat quarters for an as-yet undecided project. You could get 5 FQs for $10, another bargain. I love these colours together; I think it’s going to be a couple of cushion covers or a table cloth. It’s not enough to make anything larger unless I start adding different colours which I don’t really want to do. That acid green is just brilliant – I can almost taste lemon drops!

Screen shot 2014-04-26 at 5.41.24 PMAnd finally, the white cambric broderie anglaise trim I’ll be using for my posh white nightie. I looked at lace and didn’t like any of it much – there was too much nylon and not enough cotton for my liking. This will be softer and less scratchy but will add a bit of girly detailing.  I’m going to make the shoulder straps and neck finish of white 1″ bias binding, and this will sit along the binding.

The Mystery Woolly Thing

No, I’m not going to do a big reveal.

A woolly mystery!

A woolly mystery!

Just a small, tantalising glimpse of what I’ve been doing with my lunchbreaks at work, as a break from the hand-quilting needle and when I can’t face the weeny stitches of the hexagon Car Quilt or other item that requires anything by way of thought, memory or concentration. Now that I’m doing it again, it’s a lot easier than I feared, and growing faster than I dreamed possible.

I live in a hot, humid climate. In summer, the air conditioning is on whenever we’re home. It’s very efficient, and when I’m sitting on the sofa, I get a sharp jet of cold air on the back of my neck. If I’m up and down a bit, this doesn’t matter (and if I’m very busy, it’s even welcome), but when I’m sitting still for a while, sewing, reading, watching TV or even just talking to the Husband, it gets very cold and a tiny bit nasty. The Husband is a perennially warm person (wonderful in the winter to have someone to warm your feet on!), and in any case sits out of the direct stream of the air. He doesn’t feel it. But he would feel it very much if the aircon was turned off. So I need something to protect the back of my neck and head. Similarly, the bedroom is kept very cool at night. We both sleep much better in a cold room. But once again, I’m on the breezy side of the bed. So when I’m sitting up in bed in the morning, sipping my delicious cup of latte (thank you, Husband) or trawling through my WordPress Reader, stats and comments, I need  something around my shoulders. It’s all the wrong way round, I know, needing a Woolly Thing in the summer, but that’s how it goes.

And this is where the mystery project comes in. I’ve picked up my crochet hook for the first time in about 10 years, apart from making my square for the Snail of Happiness’ Masterpiece project. It’s taken a while to get back into the swing, and I’m not even going to consider fancy stitches. But I’m happy with how it’s looking, and most of all, with how it feels. The bouclé yarn is a mixture of wool, soya and acrylic. There are two different texture yarns, one with more bobble and one with less, so not only do the stripes change colour, they change texture too, and you get shallow ridges, which I like. It’s soft, cushy, warm and thick. It doesn’t tickle. The colours are lovely.

Let’s see if I have the patience to finish what needs to be quite a substantial object. I have decorative plans for the finishing…