Saturday, 27 September 2014

Why Knitting for Charity? Why Knitting for Pine Ridge?


The onset of yet another Age UK / Innocent Big Knit campaign prompted me to start reflecting on charity knitting. Perhaps, I should mention that the topic of charitable knitting is vast: Some charity knitters specialise in particular accessories required by hospital patients, those in remission or patients with chronic conditions. Others knit for animal shelters. Some of us also produce custom-made items, clothes for birds after oil spills, for example. I also thought of those knitters, who produce clothing for premature babies and especially those of us, who cast-on for baby burial gowns.

Talking about charity knitting can thus come across as bleak, and this is perhaps one of the reasons why I've so far always refrained from writing about it. After all, this blog is intended to be my creative leisure pad. I'm also aware that knitters generally have strong opinions when it comes to discussions on charitable knitting, with some of us raising the question whether there is a place for charitable knitting in this day and age, given the abundance of mass-produced clothing. 



Badlands, Pine Ridge Reservation, Photo: Patrice Ouellet, more here.

Friday, 26 September 2014

On the topic of Charity Knitting...The Big Knit is back!

The Big Knit is back for 2014. Needless to say, it's one of my favourite fund-raising campaigns, but as a knitter you may rightfully accuse me of partiality.

For all those, who are not familiar with the Big Knit, it's an established, large-scale,  fundraising campaign, which takes full advantage of the good nature, creativity and reliability of the knitting community. 

Innocent / Age UK, Big Knit 2014. 

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Waldorf Knitting Patterns

An advertising leaflet for the local Steiner Kindergarten / School in Canterbury came through my letterbox a few weeks ago. Due to the lack of offspring of my own, the advertising was completely lost on this household, but it prompted me to think of the Steiner Curriculum, in which knitting still forms an integral part. It also reminded me of the traditional Waldorf dolls, which I vaguely remember from my childhood.

The examples below, even though some of the projects displayed are Waldorf-inspired rather than original Waldorf patterns, provide an idea of the kind of style I have in mind. Further details on these are available here. 

Waldorf and Waldorf - Inspired knitting projects on Pinterest. Available here.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

A Gallery of Ammonites

In a recent post on a new design, I briefly reflected on why I enjoy creating my own knitting patterns. It turns out that I secretly take pleasure in the hardship of the creative process: choosing yarns, counting stitches, knitting swatches, discarding those swatches and so on, until I arrive at combinations that can be turned into a viable design. 

Ammonite in Moonlight Sonata (James C Brett Yarns) 

Monday, 15 September 2014

Damn Damsons: Foraging in Kent

I'm the victim of my own frugality. If the opportunity arises, I simply have to forage. The prospect of turning wild-growing, Kentish damsons into jam was just too tempting. 


Wild Kentish Damsons


About 20 minutes of intensive damson harvesting in the more affluent outskirts of Sittingbourne produced roughly 3 kilos of destoned damsons. Despite the presence of gloves in the house, I opted to destone the damsons with my bare hands. (I'm so hardcore.) 


Thursday, 11 September 2014

Free Pattern: The Nameless Choker

Nameless


The Nameless Choker is a simple and quick lace project, specifically designed to use up a small quantity of sock yarn (approximately 10 - 20 grams), i.e. roughly the amount of yarn you might have lying around following the completion of a larger project. The quantity of yarn I used for my choker hardly registered on my set of kitchen scales and the above estimate is rather conservative.

It is also an ideal pattern for beginner lace knitters, wishing to get to grips with two of the most common knitting decreases (k2tog and ssk), without having to commit too much time or too many resources; or for all those knitters who enjoy creating knitted accessories and jewellery, either for themselves or for others.


Materials

You will require the following materials:

  • approximately 10 - 20 grams of sock yarn (for my choker I used Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light Sock Yarn in Victorian Gothic)
  • 3mm knitting needles (or the size specified by the yarn manufacturer)
  • scissors
  • darning needle 
  • 2 buttons 

Nameless Choker in Progress

Gauge

Gauge is not essential for this project but you should have a rough idea of how stretchy your chosen yarn is. This is a made-to-measure project, and as neck circumferences differ, you will have to regularly check whether your choker has reached the desired length. If you decide to knit this project with an unfamiliar yarn and you are not entirely sure how far it will stretch after blocking, it may be beneficial to knit a small gauge swatch and block this in order to get an idea of how the yarn will behave and, most importantly, to check its stretch.


Nameless Choker in Progress



Project Instructions

  • Set - up:

    • Cast on 12 stitches, using whichever cast-on method you are most comfortable with.
    • Knit 4 rows

Once you have completed the set - up, you are ready to start on the lace sequence of the pattern:

  • Lace Pattern:

Row 1: K3, YO, K1, K2tog, SSK, K1, YO, K3
Row 2: K2, P8, K2
Row 3: Repeat Row 1
Row 4: Repeat Row 2

Keep repeating the above sequence until both ends of the choker almost meet, when it is fitted for measuring. Bearing in mind that the choker should fit relatively tightly around the neck, I left a gap approximately as wide as the top of my index finger to allow for a snug fit following blocking. 

When your choker has reached the desired length, stop knitting the lace sequence on a purl row. Next, continue knitting three rows in garter stitch and proceed to bind off.

Nameless in Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light (Victorian Gothic)
  • Blocking:

Blocking your choker is an absolute must in order to open up the lace. I opted for wet-blocking.

  • Finishing:
Following blocking, it is time to sew in ends and to add two buttons for fastening the choker. The buttons can be attached to either end of the choker. I decided to place mine on the cast - off edge, as this usually turns out slightly wider, directly underneath the openings of the yarn over increases. The  first holes created by the yarn over increases on the opposite end will serve as button holes.

Your choker is ready to be worn. 

Nameless in Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light (Victorian Gothic) 

Enjoy!

! Update: One year, I am revisiting the Nameless Choker. I am currently in the process of adapting the pattern to non-traditional knitting materials (cotton thread / leather etc). More on this venture is available here. !


For pattern support, please feel free to contact me via Ravelry (ClariceAsquith), Twitter (@Slipstitched), leave a comment below or by e-mail: clarice.asquith@googlemail.com.

This pattern is for personal use only and may not be reproduced for commercial purposes without permission.

An update on knitting a variation of this pattern (pictured below) with non-traditional materials is available here


Nameless Cuff, More here.


Nameless Cuff, More here.

© 2014 Clarice Asquith. All rights reserved. http://makedoandmendnovice.blogspot.com

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Lichen and Musings on Yarn Dyeing



Lichen on Apple Tree (Kent, UK)

A few days ago, I had the pleasure of spending an entire day in an apple orchard somewhere in West Kent. For all those not familiar with the county of Kent, West Kent is commonly associated with Royal Tunbridge Wells. It is, as it were, the posh half of Kent. It offers textbook Kentish countryside combined with easy access to London: hops, oast houses, apples and a so-called "high-speed" rail link to the capital. 


Laxton Superb

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