Sunday, January 31, 2010

Knitting - my guilty secret or a great pastime

I haven't posted any of the pictures of my handknits here, so now's as good a time as any, I guess, seeing as I have a few creative types following my blog whose work is seriously covetous and leaves me in the ha'penny place. Have a look at Rudee's blog and Stephanie V's blog and you'll agree.

Nonetheless, here I am writing this wearing my latest creation (see photo) - well, Lidl's actually, as I got the wool in our nearest branch of the German chain store that has revolutionised supermarket shopping in Ireland in the past decade and broken the near-monopoly of the existing multiples, Irish and British. The nice thing about Lidl is that they have the most bizarre and eclectic stuff on sale which changes each week with their offers, detailed in their weekly brochure or online.

Next week they are selling wool and knitting needles and I see they have some more of the same wool I got last time, and which I used for this deliciously furry waistcoat I'm wearing right now - it is just so cosy and was a doddle to make. I finished it last night, using 5x50gm balls of Rio wool in a burgundy random-dye shade, and it is feels as warm as it looks. Total cost - €5.98 if you want to be pedantic as a 4 ball pack is €4.99. I don't cost the labour as it is therapeutic and totally relaxing for me to spend an evening knitting as I read and/or watch TV and chat. They include a pattern for a scarf, jumper or waistcoat with the wool which is a great bonus if you are afraid to embark on any knitting project without the security blanket of a pattern to follow - as I am!

I made a nice grey, black and white random-dye scarf for Jany (son Shayne's partner) at Christmas and that wool was also from Lidl. So they have a struck a chord with me for their wool and given that it can be a very expensive product in craft shops I am always pleased to get a good deal - especially as it is excellent quality and great value.

I made a scarf for myself this month with another pack of wool from there, in an electric blue which I combined with a deep cerise I had leftover from another scarf I made last year and subsequently lost. You can see the result - it is warm and cosy and perfect for this chilly winter we're having.

I will have a look at what they've got this coming week and probably get some more bargain-basement wool for some more fun projects. I started knitting a few years ago when a craft shop opened in Lismore - sadly it closed over a year ago, victim to the recession and high rents although it has relocated to another town. I got a lot of lovely wool there and some patterns as well, and have used them a few times for boleros, a jumper and a mohair cardigan/jacket.

I got this lovely knitting book for Christmas which has great patterns for timeless as well as contemporary clothing and accessories and I even adapted the Lidl waistcoat pattern to include armhole shaping from the book.

A couple of years ago I got a knitting diary which was meant to be maintained for all my projects -needless to say it has sat gathering dust as I am not that organised; perhaps blogging about them will suffice until I get time to get organised! And of course with granny-hood imminent I should start on baby knits, as all I have done to date has been strictly for myself or Jany - teen daughter's way too cool for my knitting - until it catches on as a retro must-have!


Stephanie V said...

It's nice to have a yarn source that's nearby and makes you happy. That blue and cerise is lovely and bright enough to banish any winter blahs.

Thanks you for the kind mention...can't wait to see some of those baby knits.

Are you signed in to Ravelry? It's a great way to keep a record of all your knitting projects.

Jeannette StG said...

Good that you are doing something for yourself! Yes, I agree, do not wait too long with your baby knits:) I soon have to start with that too! (On Christmas day my daughter made the announcement, as you can read in my post This Tree keeps growing).

Jo said...

Hi Catherine, I love those fantacy wools and every winter I knit dozens of scarves for myself, family, friends. What a lovely passtime. Your knitting is WONDERFUL. It's good to see you again. (((hugs))) Jo (North Africa)

Rudee said...

I aspire to "Knitting in no TIme." Wouldn't that be nice to cast on, knit a bit and like magic, you have a new item to wear instantly?

That's an excellent bargain on the fiber and the colors look fabulous on you. Nicely done.

Thanks for the link. Two days in a row yet! I'll work on the meme tomorrow.

Ann said...

I am an avid knitter. My very first project was a dress for my Barbie doll. Knit all the coming home outfits for my babies, christening jacket,(matinee coat) cap and blanket. At the moment I am working on an afghan blanket. I left a project in progress(cardigan coat) on my coffee table in Abbeyside to be continued on my return in May. It keeps me out of trouble, most of the time. LOL Your projects look wonderful. Isn't knitting fun! Looking forward to seeing more of your creations.

Niamh said...

A knitting diary - how cute! It'd be great to have everything together. I'm always so impressed by people who can make time to knit and do other crafty things!

Catherine said...

Thanks for all the comments!

STEPHANIE V - Thanks for the tip about Ravelry - I will check it out! I got some pink wool in Lidl and also some denim random-dye 100% cotton yarn which intrigues as I have no idea how it will finish up. loved your high five by the way - trip to Ireland being no. 1 was cool! And I am also fascinated by the ceilidh - I think that's Scots Gaelic spelling - not Irish. You must have Celtic roots! And congrats on your Seniors involvement, sounds great!

Catherine said...

JEANNETTE - congrats on your grandchild to be - must look up that post of yours! I still wait in great expectation! Yes I love the knitting whether it's for me or others it 's the relaxation I enjoy. A friend gave me some lovely baby patterns today and she made two gorgeous cardigans for the baby. So she has a head start on me! I can get going now I have the patterns. Happy days. All the best for now - Catherine

Catherine said...

JO - lovely that you knit scarves too - I knitted some furry ones and now I got more wool in Lidl this week I will probably make a hat and scarf like the waistcoat! And I have baby things to make too! Are you in SA or Sudan? Good luck - Catherine

Catherine said...

RUDEE - That book is probably American as a lot of the terminology is not familiar to me - like bind off for cast off, and stockinette stitch for stocking stitch!!!
It has some fun patterns and great crafty ideas like making yarn from torn strips of muslin or cotton tie-dyed fabric with fascinating results. As well as simple things and then nice caps and scarves from wool that's fairly easy to source.
I'll keep up the posting of my creations!Catherine

Catherine said...

ANN - great to see I'm not the only Irish (ish)knitter here - there are lots of international ones out there! I love it and have just got some more wool this week in Lidl for half nothing and I will make more scarves and am getting cracking on baby gear now as I got some patterns from a pal. I love the relaxation of it all. What's an Afghan blanket? Sounds intriguing. I used to knit Aran jumpers when we lived in Tanzania and I had loads of time with only one baby. Then when I had three small boys in Wales I made loads of jumpers with motifs for them - dennis the menace, desperate dan and other cartoon/comic characters knitted in - and I used a lot of Dutch patterns (counted stitch patterns like cross stitch). So it's dormant but a while since I did a lot of really creative stuff. You'll enjoy taking up the cardi-coat when you get home.
All the best, Catherine

Catherine said...

NIAMH - yes the diary's a great idea if I used it properly! I haven't been that diligent, sadly. Anyway never too late and one day I will gather all the things together. I find the crafty things relaxing and enjoyable, otherwise I'd never do it!

Unknown said...

Love your scarves! I don't knit, but I do make quilts and fabric artsy stuff, so I love anything to do with fabric and yarns, etc... I did try knitting once, and apparently am too "tense", as my stitches just got tighter and tighter until I couldn't work them anymore! Art quilts are much less stressful to me---guess I'll stick to that:)