Winter is here and everyone’s talking about knitting again so I figure its time to pick the needles back up. Actually, if you can find the persistence I think the best time to knit is actually over summer so you’ve got plenty of time to finish pieces off just in time to wear them for winter! (It’s so tempting to start making clothes and accessories to wear tomorrow but the reality is often that these things take time – as I found last winter when I embarked on a particularly complicated heavy winter skirt. Actually, I should get back to that…)
But first, one of my knitting success stories…
There’s a really beautiful knitting shop in Geelong called Twisted Threads that specialises in quality knitting products. Its a very friendly kind of place which I’m sure has some very loyal customers. The first time I went in there, a couple of years ago, I was quite new to knitting but had finished enough projects that I knew the basics.
I entered the store with my head held high and an expression that I hoped said, “Yeah, I’m a knitter too. It’s no big deal, sure, what wool you got?” I perused the bundles of yarn – colourful and plain, thick and thin, wool and acrylic (I’m learning to snub my nose at acrylics like a true wool snob). The wool is expensive.
Knitting is a hobby, it’s no longer a vital skill used to ensure your family is warm. Back in the day buying a couple of balls of wool must’ve been much cheaper than buying a whole jumper. For something of the same quality this probably still is the case, but I can find myself a perfectly good warm top for far cheaper than what I would spend on the amount of wool I’d need. Not that I can make jumpers yet. Oh no, I’m still on scarves. In fact, I’m not even thinking about jumpers, I don’t even bother aspiring in that direction. I am taking this one step at a time until I can see something big like that in the distance. Or if. Then maybe I’ll consider it. Oh yes, I’m perfectly happy making lots and lots of scarves.
Anyway, I buy some pretty colourful wool and casually tell the lady I’m going to make a scarf, wondering how many balls she would recommend I buy. Now I’ve also learnt to be careful who you ask these kind of questions to – last time I tried this on a sales chick she sneakily convinced me I needed four balls for this small scarf I was making. I only just used two. Anyway I can tell this place has old-fashioned customer service because she tells me I only need one huge ball, not two. And she’s right. Then I casually point to a scarf hanging on a rack and she offers to print me out a pattern on how to make it. Brilliant! It is a cheats pattern – so easy. A fabulous way to get ahead so quickly and feel like you’re really achieving real results super quick.
I end up using her pattern with this different yarn and realised another awesome benefit to this pattern is that it allows you to use less wool than you would otherwise – which is not only great for time and money saving but it also means the warm yet lightweight scarf is perfect to throw in the bottom of a travelling bag.
Now, for the knitters: a little lesson, if you’re keen.
According to the pattern, you cast on 17 stitches, knit four rows, then try your hand at an amazing trick – the double-wrap.
This involves wrapping the wool around the needle twice instead of only once during the knit. You end up with two loops per stitch that move across to the other needle.
When you’ve done this with the whole row, you’re ready to unwrap the double-wrap… by picking up the closer of each stitches’ two parts, knitting it like normal, then dropping both loops. This results in an oversized stitch that looks basically like a straight piece of yarn. Simple!
When you’re done with this, knit five rows, then try it all again.
And that’s basically it. Simple!