Two posts in one month – aren’t you all very lucky. I did one of those things that all bloggers recommend, I actually looked at what people seemed to like reading on this little corner of the internet. Unsurprisingly reviews came out pretty high and it made me think that there are actually quite a few things I have made, bought or done in the last few months that might be useful to others. I also have plans for a slight revamp on the blog but more on that in March. Today’s post is about a knitting kit and some free knitting tutorials.
I had high hopes for last Christmas, I would spend some time practising crafts and baking – then come December time I would lovingly make gifts for friends and family while listening to Christmas music. That really didn’t happen, but I did manage to make way more presents than ever before and even made some I was proud of. I did end up briefly stressed as I realised I had dropped stitches on some knitting and had to rip it up and start again but on the whole I enjoyed what I did make and I aim for more this year although I am going to plan more thoroughly.
I took up knitting in early 2015, thinking I would get a head start on planning for Christmas. I knitted a cowl, then promptly didn’t pick up the needles again until November. I decided to start simple – a scarf for my dad from the free Tin Can Knits range. It is a basic long scarf but with a little pattern in it to break up the stitching and to help expand your knitting skills. I acquired my needles, bought my yarn (a beautiful grey eco wool from Laughing Hens) and tried to cast on. Tin Can Knits have tutorials to talk you through all of the casting on and the stitches but I found the free videos I discovered on Youtube to be way more helpful. Perhaps it is because I am left handed, I’m not sure. So I knitted, and I knitted and I knitted some more. I was using circular needles and really enjoying practising knit stitches and purl stitches – I was fascinated to see something develop from nothing. Then I decided to measure it – that was a crushing moment. I thought I had done a lot of the scarf I barely had enough to go round my neck! This was definitely my biggest learning experience – don’t think you can knit a 5 foot scarf in a couple of weeks if you are a beginner and have a puppy who thinks anything remotely ball shaped is his to play with.
I gave up at 4 foot long, the point where I thought “this can actually be called a scarf and be wrapped around a human neck”. I would highly recommend the Tin Can Knit Simple Collection – I am planning on starting the hat next. Their instructions are simple to follow and the patterns are interesting enough to keep your attention. I also love the fact they give various options to learn different skills and that you can work your way through them building up to a jumper or cardigan. I am actually really proud of this scarf and my dad seemed really pleased with it, my mum has confirmed he has worn it so that’s even better!
Next up I was looking for something simple and quick. I have actually now bought and used two kits from Stitch and Story and have just stitched the seams on my 2nd hat on Tuesday night. I doubt that experienced knitters would enjoy the Stitch and Story kits but I have found them really useful. For Christmas I tried making my sister the Lola slippers and I was successful in a manner of speaking. The kit gave good, clear instructions and contained all the wool and needles I required – however on the skill front, well I was on my own there. I made them a little big, resulting in a comedy moment for my sister on Christmas day whilst wearing them 🙂 Also due to my sister’s mildly insane cat I didn’t add the pompoms so the final article didn’t look as nice as I had hoped.
At the start of the year I then proceeded to buy a hat kit and then some additional wool to make a hat for Mr IHR (requested by him!!!). These kits are incredibly useful to a beginner such as myself. The fact they come with the needles you need and everything is included makes things very simple, both kits are rated as Easy+ by Stitch and Story. They focus on basic stitches and a little bit of patterning on the hats.
Next up I will be trying to knit a couple of baby blankets, a Tin Can knits hat and perhaps a Wool and the Gang Julia Jumper. The Wool and the Gang stuff has been appearing in dribs and drabs on my blog feed and their kits really interest me. I am fully prepared to accept I may be getting swayed by some pretty cool photography and colours but I would love to try knitting a very basic baggy jumper while continuing my learning with the Tin Can series.
I had thought I was a crochet lover but I haven’t picked up a hook in ages while my knitting needles have been seeing a lot of action! I have some plans for knitting in 2016, I’m trying to think ahead to Autumn and how brilliant it would be if I could have the skills to make some of my own knitwear and to create gifts that didn’t either drive me bananas or try to kill a family member. But as with everything this year I’m going to try and approach this slowly and accept mistakes and the lack of perfection – let’s see how I get on!