Sunday, 24 February 2013

Knitting in the tropics

I vaguely remember my mum trying to teach me to knit as a kid and me not being the slightest bit interested. So why on earth would I now, as an adult living in the tropics, decide to take up knitting?  I really have no idea, I guess it just seemed like a good idea at the time.

During the June-July school holidays last year I decided that the monster and I should both learn to knit. The monster had been french knitting for weeks having picked it up at school or after-school care, and I was struggling to work out what to do with the metres and metres of ugly coloured, coarse yarn tubes that she was producing. I figured that if I could redirect her apparent passion for working with yarn into standard knitting there might be a chance of something functional coming from all the time she was spending on it. As a bonus I thought it might be something that we could do together that didn't involve spending lots of money or that needed an electronic screen of any description.

Well I completely underestimated the difficulties of teaching someone something while trying to master it yourself and after a couple of very frustrating days the monster put down her knitting in disgust while I continued working to understand it all. Only a few days after that I was confident enough with the basic movements to be able to help the monster and she started up again. It still wasn't a comfortable relationship between the monster and her knitting needles, but she became reasonably capable of knitting a couple of rows without too many dropped stitches. The monster lost interest again fairly quickly once she discovered that it would take more than a couple of rows to make something that she recognised as useful or pretty, but I've been knitting reasonably consistently since then.

I've managed to finish a few things since I started knitting and have a couple of projects on the go at the moment.

One of my works in progress is a tank top for the monster - it was the 2nd or 3rd knitting project I started so she will probably have grown to big to wear it if I ever do get it finished now (I haven't actually done anything with it since about October last year).

The other work in progress is a "Four Seasons Knit Vest" - a mesh cardigan/vest thingy that I'm making for myself. The pattern is a freebie from Red Heart - it's basically 3 almost identical rectangular panels sewn together with the mesh made using a simple combination of yarn overs and knit togethers.

The promo pic for the Red Heart
"Four Seasons Knit Vest" I'm working on.
Those of you that we caught up with on our road trip over the Christmas/New Year period would possibly have seen the very early stages of this project. I'm using a bamboo/cotton blend yarn in a silver grey colour that has a very slight shimmer to it - it will be interesting to see if my version turns out as nice looking as this promo pic. So far I've finished the back panel and I'm almost halfway through one of the front panels. I must say I'm pretty pleased at how its coming along so there's a fairly high chance that this is one project that will actually get finished.

I've generally stayed away from the traditional beginner knits of basic afghans, scarves and hats - I would have absolutely no use for any of them here; instead I've trawled the web for lighter knits. It surprised me that there are so many functional, lightweight knitting patterns out there (and a lot of them free patterns! I love free patterns!). I have about a hundred bookmarks saved for projects that I might like to try at some stage with about 6 of them being serious contenders for the next project. To the relief of my significant other though I don't own enough knitting hardware yet to have more than a few projects on the needles at any one time.

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