My First Knitting Adventure
So, I finished a couple of knitting projects recently, my very first and second ever knitted things. I wanted to share with you the process of making them, and my first attempt at washing and blocking.
First up, was the delightful task of creating something from the Andean Silk Lona sent. I had plans for a scarf, which are quite frequently the first things someone ever knits because it’s easy, but realised quickly that there just wasn’t enough of it. 2 x 50 gram balls wasn’t going to go the length. Having just received my new knitting needles, I decided to embark upon my first knitting adventure and make a cowl/infinity scarf and learn how to use my circular needles.
Circular needles are two needles joined by a wire, examples borrowed from Google Images below.
You cast on your starting stitches, and they eventually travel off the end of the needle and onto the wire. When you have enough, you start to knit until you come to the end of your row…but instead of turning your work and going back the other way, you just join straight onto the next stitch, essentially making a circle or round. And around and around you go adding on rows. This is why it’s called knitting in the round.
I chose The Very Gifted Cowl from Churchmouse Yarns. If you would like to grab the pattern, you can do so here: https://www.churchmouseyarns.com/products/very-gifted-cowl. It’s extremely versatile because it gives you directions for whatever thickness of yarn you have. It really couldn’t get any easier, because it’s a cast on, knitted in stockinette stitch, which when knitting in the round, is just knit stitch over and over and over again. It got so easy I could do it while watching tv.
And this is what it looked like when the cowl was finished! As you can see, the edges were curling as they are wont to do with stockinette.
Closeup of the stockinette stitch.
I decided to order some wool wash and blocking mats so I could get some of that curl out of the fabric but as that was going to take a couple of weeks to arrive, I started knitting Jason’s scarf. I was feeling full of confidence after kicking butt on the cowl but wow, did that come crashing down. Stay tuned because in the near future I’ll go through what happened there.
I threw aside the scarf in a fit of rage and picked up the ball of yarn called Dishie, a specific cotton yarn KnitPicks has for knitting dishcloths and cleaning cloths. (Just realised that yarn wasn’t in my previous knitting stash post!) It’s a 100% cotton yarn which is great for these cloths as they dry reasonably quickly.
The point of knitting this, was to get the hang of doing a simple pattern, where you move from knit stitches to purl stitches and vice versa. (You can check out this http://www.craftsy.com/blog/2015/08/how-to-knit-and-purl/ if you’d like to know the difference and how to do them). Now mind you, I had just quit my job and obviously was under a bit of stress because I just couldn’t get it, forgetting to move the yarn from the back to the front, or front to back when changing the stitch, or doing too many knits before going to purl and buggering up the pattern. I must have restarted this darned dishcloth ten times over. I threw it aside as well and took a two day knitting break.
Lo and behold, I must have gotten past whatever was screwing up my concentration, because this little beauty finally came together the next time I tried. Ain’t no dishcloth gonna hold me down!
You can find the pattern here: http://www.knitpicks.com/patterns/Reversible_Pips_Dishcloth__D55549220.html
Because I didn’t like how the instructions jumped straight into the pattern and only had a border on two sides, I added some garter stitch rows (those rows made of continual bumps) on either end to make a border all the way around. I’m trying to ignore the fact I didn’t count correctly and there are more rows on one side than the other 😛
Basically the pattern was two rows that repeated, the first row was Knit 3 stitches, Purl 2, Knit 1, repeat the Purl 2/Knit 1 until the last two stitches and then Knit 2. The second row was just knit all the stitches.
Here’s a closeup!
And the other side of the dishcloth. It actually looks pretty cool as well.
Finally my KnitPicks order arrived and I could wash and block my two finished projects. Blocking mats are in this case, interlocking squares that you can set up to however big you need your mats to be, that allow you to pin out your project and let it dry into the shape you want. I got out three mats and my T pins.
And my new basin just for washing my wooly projects, my Unicorn Beyond Fibre Wash, and an old towel. That’s a really little bottle but I only needed 1/2 a tablespoon to 2 litres of lukewarm water. (Silly thing made me convert gallons to litres).
Look! Knitted goodies having a swim! I read earlier in the day that you shouldn’t agitate it very much or use hot water, as both of these make the yarn stick together and can cause them to felt, which is a really cool effect but not what I wanted to happen. So I poked it a little bit, left it to sit for five minutes and then rinsed gently under lukewarm water, careful to support the yarn and not let it hang as this can stretch the stitches. Gosh, is yarn fussy or what!?
Gently squeeze out the water from the yarn and lay them on the towel.
Roll up the towel, gently pushing the excess water out of the yarn as you go. I had my doubts about this, but it really helped. That towel was sopping afterwards.
Lay out your items on your blocking mats…
…and pin into place, gently pulling it into the shape you want. Ta da! That’s looking pretty straight to me.
Same for the cowl, though the edges still want to curl up. The wash really brought out the fuzzy softness of the yarn.
It seems the yarns were not quite colourfast….that water is definitely blue.
It took a day and a half for the two projects to dry completely, and probably because one of those days was quite cool.
Looking good cleaning cloth! You’re so pretty I really don’t want to use you. However, the plan is to make some friends for it so they can clean the house and save money on those disposable Chux as these can be washed and reused.
I had Jason help and take some photos of me modelling the cowl. I don’t think I’ve taken that many photos in the last decade as we did in that ten minutes. I melted in about five minutes because it was 25 degrees but at least I’ll be warm when winter finally turns up!
Hope you enjoyed this lengthy knitting adventure. I’ll be back soon with more things I make.
Until next time, have fun!