Sunday, September 16, 2012

Cabled cushion covers for Sis

Well I did say this blog was going to consist of quick notes on slow progress. And for me, knitting is anything but speedy.

When I first took to my needles last summer, my sister asked me to knit her a couple of cushion covers. Here we are a year later and, following various interludes including several months of all-day morning sickness which rendered knitting impossible, I've just finished the second one. I'm loving the result.

Rather than stick with a simple knit stitch pattern, I wanted to challenge myself and give cabling a go. I found the pattern in The Knitting Book – it's my bible. Cabling isn't too difficult once you've got the hang of it. The tricky bit is just working out the charts and sticking to them. I went terribly wrong on the first side of the first cover, but manged to work out that I'd been misreading the chart for a couple of inches, but I corrected it after that. Little Sis doesn't mind, though. And that's the thing about hand knitting. It's the imperfections that make the work special. That's what I'm telling myself, anyway.

I like these cushion covers so much that I'm tempted to make a couple more for myself soon, perhaps in cream. But that may be a way off since baby knitting has recently hurtled to the top of my agenda. I'm two-months away from my due date for my first child and I really want to take him or her home from the hospital in a blanket that I knitted. It's a race against time!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Casting on: a new blog

Before the knitting: Me, Dad and Little Sis
So here we go – a brand new blog. Since I discovered knitting last summer, it very slowly began to take over my life, so I really think it warrants a blog of its own. And, to be perfectly honest, I wanted an excuse to use the title 'Knittenden'. It was a stroke of genius from my friend L for which I shall be eternally grateful.

And why did I take to the needles in the first place? Well, last summer was difficult and I needed a distraction. My dad was diagnosed with secondary lung and brain cancer and the carpet was whipped out from beneath my family's feet. I left my new husband and my new flat in London and moved back to Nottinghamshire for a few months to spend time with dad and to help where I could. It sounds odd but, while it was an undoubtedly traumatic and overwhelming period of time, it was also pretty brilliant. I feel very lucky I got to spend so much time with Patrick Kiely. He was, after all, a top, top bloke. The best, in fact.

Dad needed lots of rest so there was a lot of sitting around, chatting and TV-watching. We sat around together as a family, so that was a very good thing. But I often got bit twitchy and I needed something else to do. So the day my mum dug out her old crocheted knitting bag and set me off on a few rows of knitting and purling, it was like a new dawn.

Knitting is a primitive, low-fi joy. There's something quite amazing about creating one row of loops, then adding another row of loops, and then another, and watching as you slowly, magically, create your own fabric. I loved it and, of course, once I started I just couldn't stop. It amused my dad, it delighted my mum, and it provided my little sister with endless 'what have you become' piss-take opportunities. They were good times.

We lost Dad at the end of September and, while I don't think the sadness will ever go away, we're all trying to find our own ways of dealing with it and getting on with life. And I'm trying to do it stitch by stitch.