Tuesday, 11 October 2011

You can't knit with that... can you?

 The thing about an obsession is, you tend to look at everything in a different way - in a way that encompasses the possibility of incorporating ordinary every day objects into the obsession.  I was joking when I blogged about knitting place-mats out of spaghetti on the first of April this year,  but I have to confess I have always looked at those pliant strings of 'aran weight' flour and water paste and wondered if they could be knitted with.

So it's only a small step to consider the knitting (or crocheting) qualities of  string

Then there's ribbon

Now wire and beads, there's a possibility

And why not all three?  Does any one else remember a time before every shop gave you your shopping in a plastic carrier bag? (and then they didn't).  My mother had large willow baskets for shopping but my father, who took me shopping to the nearby town every Saturday morning for the weekend bread wanted something he could stuff in his pocket - a string bag.  Mr Ptolemy Tortoise also used his own bag when he took lettuce to Mr Jeremy Fisher's lunch party.  Trying to remember my father's shopping bag I made up the  pattern, using chains and DCs, as I went along.

I have taken rather a long time to finish off the Little Model's cardigan It has been sitting in my work basket waiting for me to trim the edges with some velvet and floral edging.  A ribbon flower button hole to go with the velvet trim perhaps?

But the most fun of all was the wire and beads.  I have seen jewellery making projects with knitted wire before and longed to have a go

I'm not sure that I will ever give up knitting with fabulous, soft and silky wool, silk and cottons in all their multiple incarnations but I had fun with this project.

The bag adapts readily to its contents

The cardigan is ready to go

And the table laid with white china linen and new napkin rings

The napkins are made out of beautiful rose patterned damask inherited from my mother.  But it was not till I was ironing them this morning that I noticed that they must have been handed down to her.

E. Spicer 12. Mr and Mrs Spicer were lifelong friends of my parents.  My father and Mr Spicer had met in the cyclists touring club in Newcastle upon Tyne in the 1930s and every year until first Mr Spicer then his wife died they would come and stay with us before travelling to stay with their daughter and family for Christmas.  Their visits felt like the start of Christmas for my brother and I. I have no idea how my mother came to have some of their napkins (I have four of them, all marked) but as my parents married in 1952 when rationing was still in force I wonder if some of their presents would have come from their friends' linen cupboards. They must be made of fabulous quality fabric as there is not a single sign of wear and they are as white as ever. 

The Zimmermann project - part Two

After checking out my gauge/tension the next step was to calculate the number of stitches for the body of the sweater. I am making it for a 38inch chest with an extra 2 inches for comfort - thus 200 stitches.  EZ says in my book that the number is nearly always 200, I don't know how she comes to that conclusion but it is right for me.  She also says that 'this is almost the only measuring and deciding you will have to do yourself' as from then on all you have to do is follow the percentages she has worked out.

I actually began by reducing the number of stitches by 10% for the rib, 180 stitches, increasing one stitch every nine inches on the last rib row, to keep the waist of the sweater snug.  I have already knitted up three balls and am about to begin the fourth

The size is looking fine, I slipped half the stitches onto another round needle and tried it on JTH (he is one size larger than my father) and it looks fine.  But I am also keeping a note of what I do -  in case I want to modify the number of stitches, snugness of the rib etc, next time I will know exactly what I did at the first attempt.




Caroline said...

Brilliant! I have been meaning to give wire and bead knitting a go!
I love the picture of your annotated EZ book! I think books are so much better when they have corrections and comments in the margins.
I am about to start a top for my Mum's Christmas present, and she chose an aran yarn for a DK pattern. A bit of tweaking to follow also I think!

lizzie said...

Another wonderful journey. I can't do anything creative with string, ribbon or wire and beads but I love the textures and colours and the possibilities you bring alive. Excitement is infectious.

A string bag with a few beads would be nice.

Kristyn Knits said...

I love what you did with the string, ribbon, and wire! You're so creative! They're all so wonderful in their own individual way.

Sheeprustler said...

I think you can knit with anything vageuly string like! Whether or not it will hurt your hands, or you will like the results, of course, is another matter, but I have actually seen a pair of miniature socks knitted out of licorice string in a book :)

The Cranky Knitter said...

Lovely! I've been thinking about knitting with wire and I have some yarn I want to turn into placemats, but it is taking so long! Maybe I'll pick them up again. The cardigan is darling.

Jacqui said...

Fabulous knitting - that string bag looks as if it would expand to take anything!
Old linen is so wonderful. xx