The Hippy Blanket

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I’ve been teaching myself to knit. cat_tied

I have knitted before. Twenty three years ago, when I was expecting my son, I knitted a baby cardigan. It was a sort of green twill. When it was finally finished he was both already born and too big to wear it. I’ve never knitted since.

I have also had other things to do while I’ve been sitting since my last surgery 12 weeks ago. I work online, so I’ve had plenty to do there – though there may have been a certain amount of prevarication thanks to Facebook games. I also have a counted cross-stitch on the go – a map of the British Waterways surrounded by small pictures of boats, castles, roses, birds and animals all related to the waterways and fine writing around the outside. Because it is both counted and extremely fine I do need quite good light to work on it. The only good light I have here is in the conservatory, which is also the coldest place in the house.

I have other things I had planned to take up. I have the equipment for lace making and a lovely book of instructions and lace making cushion sent to me by a friend, but again it feels as though I need good light – and it really is a new skill to learn. Thinking it was just a bigger version, I also thought I’d try crochet – but for some reason it just doesn’t see to go right and keeps being pulled back.

A colleague suggested to me soon after my last surgery that I might enjoy the book The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood. I did – and I was inspired. I was at the Post Office one day and realised I was parked outside a craft shop. I went in and asked what I would need to start knitting. I left with a ball of jazzy coloured double knit and a pair of size 4 needles – and off I went. 

I have a lovely book called The Complete Practical Encyclopedia of Needlecrafts. I opened it at knitting and set of with 50 stiches thinking I might manage a scarf. About 50 rows in of basic stockinette I decided I was ready to move on to trying out patterns. 

I went back to the wool shop and bought some poppy red and jade green wool to tone with the jazzy mix I had first bought, sat back down with the book and the hippy blanket was conceived.

I have now completed squares of stockinette, moss stitch (golly that was boring), double moss stitch (better), and blanket weave (much better!). Ok – they are more rectangles than squares. What I didn’t realise that 50 rows did not measure the same as 50 cast on stitches. The tedious moss stitch just went on forever and still didn’t measure the same as the stockinette – always needing just 2 more rows. However, they should all hopefully eventually fit together.

There are mistakes, dropped stitches I had to pick up, 2 whole rows I had to pull back and pick up (badly) because I lost count and did the wrong thing – but it is a work in progress – as am I and my arthritic, but gradually being replaced joints. And I find the knit/purl counting stitches oddly calming and therapeutic. I need to concentrate, unlike my mother who can knit, watch tv and read a book all at the same time – oh – and talk! But the concentration calms my mind and I find myself drifting through thoughts as I feel tension seep out of my muscles.

My book has some patterns and projects, but I wanted more. I found a site http://www.craftcookie.com/knitting-stitches  and roughly counting find I could make a blanket of well over 50 squares of completely different patterns based on the basic knit and purl stitches. Now isn’t that amazing!

… and no, the cat has not (yet) caught my wool and pulled apart my work – but there is always time for that when she is lying on the completed hippy blanket.cat_sleep

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