Monday, March 20, 2006

needled (again)

Did anyone spot the review of an Atomic Kitten concert in today's Grauniad? It caught my eye when the word "knitting" jumped out of the page at me. Do these ladies knit? Don't think so, the reviewer, however, suggested that perhaps if one of them stabbed another with a knitting needle then maybe they might be a little less syrupy-sweet.

Friday, March 17, 2006

wrapped in love

Over the last few weeks I've spent every Wednesday evening teaching beginners to knit. The course is organised by the local community education service and my class consists of 16 knitters, 3 of whom are young American girls (aged 9) who have dragged their Moms along, too. One of the mothers has been heavily pregnant so once her husband came in her place. He's a dab hand at making twisted cords now, I think! Last week neither she nor her daughter made it, as baby was being induced. I'd asked everyone to make some swatches of garter stitch and of stocking stitch for homework and we spent the first part of the evening joining seams: oversewing, backstitch and matress stitch. Then the other 2 little girls hit on a brilliant idea. They begged the rest of us for the swatches that had just been seamed and proceeded to oversew these together to make a blanket for the new baby. Now imagine it: yarn of every colour, weight and texture. Thin swatches, uneven swatches, squares... garter stitch, stocking stitch, seams on the "right" side, seams on the "wrong" side... The girls took it home and one Mom crocheted a blue border round the edge. This week the new big sister came to the class (complaining that Dad was away, so she was on night duties for her new brother) and we presented her with the blanket for baby Keiran. She was speechless and then said "you all made it, everybody?". And we told her that yes we had. Now I do remember reading in Interweave Knits a couple of years ago about a knitting circle that used its gauge swatches to make blankets but as one of the members was Kaffe Fassett's sister, these were really artistic. But I don't think there's ever been a blankie quite like the one the class made. Just wish I had a photo to show!

Sunday, March 05, 2006


Ever get the feeling that maybe there's been an unexpected planetary alignment designed to cause frustration just for knitters? Who knows what movements up in the heavens have been happening this week but they seem to have caused some rather bizarre knitting needle incidents for me and a couple of friends. How often, for instance, does a bamboo dpn snap because one has bent to admire a two-year old's miniature steam train? (Leeds, last Sunday). How many puppies develop a taste for addi turbos? (Near Cambridge, mid week...happily, I hear, the pup preferred the needles to the knitting). And how often does your cat decide to vomit over the edge of the sofa, narrowly missing your knitting bag but splatting one of your favourite bambooo needles? (My house, Thursday night). Have your needles been affected?

Friday, March 03, 2006

It runs in the family...

I do worry about my Ma sometimes. She's been known to speculate on where on earth my knitting addiction comes from. Happily her sister, my lovely Auntie Joyce (who has left her Barbara Walker books to me in her will!) has come up with some photographic evidence. The place: Worthing beach. The date: 1950. The subjects: are, (l to r) my Ma, my Nan, Auntie Joyce and my great aunt, Auntie May. And what is my 21-year old mother up to on this fine, sunny day? Looks eerily like knitting to me! And which member of the family loved yarn so much that they nicknamed her Moth? You guessed it. (And that's why I turn up on Yahoo groups as Mothsdaughter). I think what really upsets Ma is that both she and Nanny tried to teach me to knit but I was having none of it. Whenever I made a mistake I told Mum it was her fault (stubborness seems to be a family trait!). But I think seeing nanny knitting almost non-stop whenever she visited, and seeing Mum head straight to the nearest yarn shop whenever we went on holiday (be it to a nearby beach or to France) must have had a subliminal effect. Ma rarely knits these days (too much pain) but she still loves mending clothes (her darns are a work of art). Auntie Joy, though, is busily crocheting a blanket using oddments of about 40 different yarns. So there you have it: I'm descended from total knitters on Ma's side of the family and a bunch of weavers, spinners and dyers on Dad's (see a fibre-filled fortnight, part 1). And still Ma wonders why I knit...