Archive for the 'Knitting' Category


Monday, February 2nd, 2015

I knit in the winter.  It seems to start towards the end of December and by the middle of January I knit every day.  Now that February has arrived I have decided to learn a new knitting technique.  I used to watch my grandmother knit Aran cardigans but I had never really tried cable knitting apart from a few small samplers.  As well as thinking it would be complicated, buying the wool in Japan is expensive and I didn’t want to waste money on a failed project.  But I found some cheap yarn made of acrylic fibre and I practised some of the basic patterns.  I’ve now started something more complicated and I love how the cables look, though I wasn’t able to take a picture that shows just how lovely the pattern is.

Cable Stitches

Cable Stitches

I bought a great book full of beautiful patterns and I’m going to see if I can work my way up to the more advanced ones. I always enjoy knitting but these patterns also come with nostalgia and the closest thing to longing for Ireland that I’ve experienced in quite some time.

New Year, New Knitting

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

There is something about the winter that makes me want to knit.  So far I have knit a scarf, fingerless gloves, and two neck warmers.  I’ve also learnt a new cast-on method and practised knitting in the round.

Neck Warmer

Neck Warmer

Finished Bag

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

I finished knitting my Japanese bag.  The novelty wool was hard to focus on which made it difficult for me to take a decent picture.  I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with the bag, but I had fun making it.

Knitted Bag

Knitted Bag

Japanese Knitting

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

Today I got my first Japanese knitting pattern.  I was admiring a knitted bag in the local craft store and noticed that it had a couple of signs attached to it.  I had seen the first one before, it’s a sign to tell you which yarn the item was made from.  But it also had a another label that said “S-19”.  I looked at the other samples and they all had this type of label attached.  At first I thought that it was a shelf reference to make it was easy to find the yarn, but the shelves didn’t have labels.  I decided to take a closer look at the label that told you which type of yarn the sample was made from.  The bag I was looking at was made of two types of yarn using two different sizes of needles.  And then there was a sentence that I couldn’t read.  I knew some of the characters, the one for knitting, and one that is used in the word for “map”, but I couldn’t make enough sense out of it.

Marty to the rescue!  I had dragged Marty into the shop with me, since he made me look at mobile phones in another shop.  I asked him if he could read the sign.  He couldn’t, but he could type it into a dictionary.  The sentence stated that we should ask a shop assistant about the knitting pattern.  There are days when we wouldn’t have asked for help, since we didn’t really know all the right words, but we must have been feeling braver today.  I do know lots of knitting related words, the one I didn’t know was “knitting pattern”, but that was the one printed on the label.

It turns out that I can get free knitting patterns for all the samples that are in the store.  All I needed to do was ask for “S-19” when I was paying for the yarn and they would find me a copy of the bag pattern.  I’m very excited by my Japanese pattern, but it might take me a while to translate it.

Green Sweater Monster

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

Yesterday I finished knitting the sleeveless tank-top I started when I got home in February.  It’s the first seamless project I have tried.  I didn’t have a problem with the technique, but I do have a problem with the finished size.  The pattern is based on chest circumference and I picked the size according to that.  It fits me perfectly around the chest, but it seems that it’s expecting me to have some sort of mutant stomach to go with the chest.

If I had been less excited about starting to use my new circular needles I may have taken the time to calculate the size of the bottom of the top, but then again I might not.  It never occurred to me that the pattern actually makes something that is 16 inches (40 cm) bigger around the bottom than it is in the chest.  The picture looks O.K. but it is showing the smallest size which has less of a difference between the two measurements.  The person wearing it isn’t shaped anything like me but people modeling clothes rarely are.

Maybe it’s supposed to flair out but it looks a bit more like I’m hiding something up my jumper.  I’m thinking of either giving it seams and taking it in, which defeats the purpose of my seamless knitting, or knitting a belt to go with it.  It’s not all a complete disaster.  I have learnt a new technique and I now know that basing something like a jumper on one measurement isn’t going to work for me.

L is for Left

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

Every time I knit something for myself I pick a pattern that contains either a new stitch or a new technique.  I want to improve and to eventually get to the stage where I’m an expert.  But I have a problem, I’m left-handed and I knit left-handed.  Knitting patterns are written for right-handed knitting.  If I want to follow a pattern, and I want my finished piece to match it, I need to be able to read things in reverse.   If I don’t, I will end up with something that is a mirror image of the original pattern.

I’ve been knitting lace and I have been trying to work out why people think that left-handed knitters should always reverse lace charts.  The patterns I’m knitting are symmetrical.  I haven’t reversed the current pattern I’m working on and it’s incredibly difficult to see that there is a difference in my finished product than the pictures of the design.  I also don’t know why following every pattern to the letter is so important.  Who cares if my beautiful piece of lace was created using left-slanting decreases instead of right-slanting decreases?

The problems come when I’m trying to match a diagram and I suddenly realise that my added on piece is on the wrong side.  I’ve been working on knitted on boarders and all the instructions are for right-handed knitters.  I need to try to reverse these pictures in my head and I am not good at doing that.  Even something simple like “my new piece will actually be on the left and not the right” isn’t an easy thing for me to understand.  I know what all those words mean in English but something about the words “left” and “right” makes my brain freeze and begin to panic.  If I try to read the written instructions it might use the words “left” and “right” 10 times in one paragraph. At that point I turn into a robot out of a bad sci-fi movie who just wants to say “does not compute” over and over again.  Thankfully I live with someone who can understand and reverse diagrams, even if he doesn’t knit.

I have been trying to get more information on left-handed knitting but often the only advice is that you shouldn’t do this.  I have tried to knit right-handed. Knitting was taught in the primary school I attended, when I was about 7 years old.  I was the only child in my class who couldn’t knit.  I can still remember how frustrating it was to not be able to produce squares like the rest of the class.  My teacher realised that my problem was that I was left-handed and taught me how to knit the basic left-handed stitches.  In no time at all, at least it appears that way in my cloudy memory, I was the best knitter in my class.

Recently I tried this again thinking that maybe my right hand will work better now.  It doesn’t.  I can’t even make the needle go through a stitch.  It would be comical if it didn’t confuse me so much.  I also can’t use a pen in my right hand.  I thought it would speed up my knitting if I used my right hand to record rows for me.  All I had to do was write tally marks or the number one on a sheet of paper.  I find it hard to hold a pen correctly in my right hand.  I also can’t draw anything that looks like a straight line and since it takes me about three attempts to write the number one it’s much quicker to set the knitting down and use my left hand.

I’m glad that I didn’t grow up in a generation forced to use their right hand for writing.  If I can still remember how frustrated I was with not being able to knit I dread to think how badly it would have affected my academic progress if I had felt the same way about writing.