During the summer of 2006 I thought it would be a nice idea to get an allotment. (a small patch of land that is generally used to grow your own vegetables) so I put my name down at an allotment that is very near to me. There was a waiting list, which to be honest is quite normal. I believe the waiting lists in London can be as long as ten years. Okay... so whilst waiting, I became a member of a group on the net who grew veg and generally looked on life in a non consumer way.
Shortly after joining they began talking about hand knitted socks. Oh, how the love can develop so quickly. A very kind lady knitted me a pair on her flat bed knitting machine, mostly powered by a wind turbine and posted them to me, (I did pay her) Ooh, when I put them on my cold little tootsies I immediately realised that I would have to learn how to knit these wonderful creations.
I had learnt to knit as a child, I will get back to that later, but it was a very long time ago and all I could remember is as my grandmother would say it plain and pearl. I just about remembered how to cast on, I had to check on the net how to cast off.
I knitted a scarf, I still have it, it was my pride and joy last winter, I didn't know how to join wool, so I just knotted it. I can feel your pain from here :)
I discovered there were sock knitting kits on the net, but to be very honest, they seemed very scary. During a ramble around the net I discovered Web of Wool, who were in spitting distance. Shortly after this discovery, I cajoled hubby to take me to this mysterious place. I chose wool and needles, I was very nervous, yet determined and went off on my merry way.
It took me two months to knit my very first pair. With the help of a knitting forum on which there was a very kind lady who befriended me whom I'm ashamed to say I badgered to the enth degree. She was very kind and really did have the patience of a saint. I also used "socks 101" a very useful link indeed.
After an eight month wait, in February we became the proud owners of our own allotment. Boy did we work, firstly a greenhouse had to go up, three weekends of tough weather to dig out, get concrete footings in and erect a greenhouse.. which was second hand so had no instructions.. I do realise, but never more than then just how clever my hubby is.
Quickly followed by my potting shed, mine all mine.. :) Again, dreadful weather, footings were dug out and concrete hand mixed by hubby were laid. And then as if by magic, a shed that had already been painted twice in a weather proof paint was in place.. I will never see that shed so spider free again.. Infact, I have a very large spider that uses the window as his lair that I call Henry, I'm hoping he's made it through the winter.. :)
April came and you'll never guess, I actually got sun burnt. I'm fair, with a few freckles, blue eyes and a touch of red in my hair and we had a roasting weekend, the like of which I have never seen in April before. I was actually burnt on my shoulders and had a rather pink nose. Along with lines of a tan.. Oh,, how we thought that this was going to be a wonderful summer... how wrong could we be,,, there was an awful lot of rain for months after this, even now in this country there are people still suffering from the results of the floods.
Then we dug and dug and dug to the point that I could barely walk down the stairs in the morning without my muscles screaming at me. But it was all good. Plants began to grow, it was terribly exciting.
I was never so happier.
And then at the end of May.. I began to lose my hair very rapidly. I don't normally talk very much about this, but it was the year of 2007 and so should be recorded.
I launched into despair, whilst at the same time trying to be strong so as to minimise the effect that this was having on the people that I love in all the world.
I needed a wooly hat, I really did.. I was cold, shivery most of the time.
During my wanderings around the net, to find me a wooly hat and my new found love of knitted socks, I found some lovely blogs that mentioned the word Ravelry...........
I didn't take much notice the first time Ravelry was mentioned, but then after a couple of mentions, well, I thought I would register. I'd lost hope of being able to buy a hat (it was high summer) and had tried to knit a couple of hats by this time, of course my knitting skills were not very good at this time and not only did they take a long time, but they did not fit my huge bonce.
I became a member in August and to my shame, one of my first postings was to request if anyone could knit me a wooly hat... Two lovely American ladies replied, took my measurements and within less than two weeks, the first hat landed on my doorstep. Oh bliss, it was the first time I had been warm in ages. I will never, ever forget their kindness, it really saved me.
Oh Ravelry, its wonderful, I love it. Hours, no days can pass whilst looking at the wonderful FO's. Visions of colour and patterns bounce around my brain whilst looking through all the wonderful knitting. It really is lovely.
At about the same time, I decided that I needed to knit yet more hats and went back to Web of Wool, I had a pattern in mind, which I had printed out but had no idea what it actually meant. (my knowledge of wools, needles, tensions etc was non existent at this time). I think I may have been bald by this point, I was wearing something I have no idea what, when Rachel came over to me to give assistance. I do believe that during the conversation about hats, which was lovely and that the feeling that she knew and would cope,,, I whipped off my hat to try one of theirs on, therefore showing my bald bonce, which was the first time I had shown my head to anyone.. She was sooo as my sons would say it. cool.. it was brave of me and it was very brave of her.
During the next month or so, rather irregularly I used to pitter-patter around the shop, During one of these visits, Anna suggested I should come to their knitting group. I wasn't quite ready, but bless her, once I got my wig in place she repeated it again and yet again. I thank her and Rachel very much for that, they both got me through the first couple of tough weeks. Anna taught me how to cable, which opened up another world of possibilities.
Time ticks on, I've learnt so much, I love every new adventure, my latest adventure is learning how to knit short row wraps. That took me quite a while to get my head around, but now I have managed it, I love it.
I'd like to mention this, I know its bizarre, there probably aren't many people reading this at this stage, so no matter.
I said at the beginning, that I learnt to knit as a child, but only could remember plain and pearl, but I would get back to it later on. My fathers mother was an avid knitter and I can remember her knitting throughout my single years. It must have come to a point that I was interested, but time was limited for my grandma. I didn't know, but she sensed it. Firstly I now know its not pearl but purl, and I know its knit not plain... she also taught me kitchener stitch, I still have to look at what the pattern says, but I have an abiding memory of standing behind her whilst she was teaching me this. A memory I wouldn't have remembered without picking up knitting again.
She also taught me how to join wool by splicing it and spitting onto it and also how to work through where exactly you wanted the wool to change and unravelling to get exactly the right space to change.. and most memorably for me anyways...... she always used her front right hand finger to flick the wool, which is what I have learnt to do.
There was also an attempt at socks, but I was hopeless, I twisted the wool, it was getting near her time and we lost sight of each other. It really has been amazing to remember those times with her, which I had forgotten.
I wish I could show her what I am doing, I know she would be very proud.
Oooh dear, what a state to get into,
2007 wasn't a "bad" year, interesting yes and in many ways a very good year.
I hope that 2008 keeps us all together, that would be my wish.
and may I wish everyone A happy and healthy New Year.
Other paths to warmer fabric - Fair Isle is a warmer fabric. If we look to this clip from 1932, (http://ssa.nls.uk/film/1129, IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING ) we see the woolen yarn being spun som...
2 days ago