Knitting

The Needles Have Been Flying

The Needles Have Been FlyingThe Needles Have Been FlyingOver the last few months my knitting needles have been flying, literally at one point as I took my knitting with me when I flew down south. In my post “How Much Yarn Will You Need?” I mentioned a vest I had just knitted. The first time I wore it to church a friend of mine was really taken with it and said she would love to have one. She chose some lovely navy wool (unfortunately it looks grey in this photo) and I managed to finish it for her before she went overseas at the beginning of June.

The Needles Have Been Flying The Needles Have Been FlyingIn the meantime I had also been busy with my “Winter Birthday Presents”, and had finished a red child’s cardigan. The cardigan went to a young friend of mine for her little girl to wear. It was a nice change of colour from the pinks of several other garments I had made for her.

Not long after finishing the birthday presents, I found out at the last minute that I would be able to make a trip south that I had really wanted to do but thought I would have to miss out on. I went down for the wedding of one of my nieces, and was able to spend a few days with my daughter and her family.

The Needles Have Been Flying The Needles Have Been FlyingI hastily started a couple of jumpers for the two children as soon as I had confirmation that I could go, and was mildly hopeful I might be able to finish them before I went home. Unfortunately, but predictably, this didn’t happen. I made the most of my bonus time with my two grandchildren and ended up posting the jumpers down to them earlier this week.

The project I have started on now is woollen singlets and cardigans for the neonatal unit of the local hospital. I will be posting more on this once a bit more progress has been made.

Karen's Korner, Knitting

Baby Knitting

Baby KnittingI have been a bit slow getting this post done, but I am happy to report that I got the baby knitting finished just in time. I also remembered to take photos of my “pink knitting” before I sent it. As I said in my post “The End of the Tail”, I was really excited to be able to do some pink baby knitting for a change, so I made the most of it.

Baby KnittingThe recent spate of baby knitting has got me thinking again about what is the best yarn to use when knitting garments for babies. I have always preferred to use wool, but there are a large number of acrylic yarns around these days, and even some yarns made from bamboo fibre.

One of the main drawbacks people have seen in knitting with wool has been the need to hand wash it. It is obviously a lot more convenient to be able to throw all your children’s washing in the machine together, especially baby clothes which require washing so often. Time is often very precious for mothers so anything that can be seen as saving time is considered beneficial.

Today’s woollen yarns, however, are often manufactured to be machine washable. Modern washing machines are also a lot more versatile and most of them have at least one cycle built into their programmes that is wool friendly. These are complemented by a range of laundry products which are also designed to be gentle on wool or other delicate fabrics.

I will look more closely at the comparison of natural and artificial yarns soon, but I thought this article would be a good place to mention a worthy cause associated with baby knitting. The Plunket Society was founded in New Zealand in 1907 by Sir Frederick Truby King. His vision was to help mothers and save babies dying from malnutrition and disease. Today the Plunket Society (now called the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society) runs a programme called “Knit For Plunket”.

This programme encourages people to donate hand knitted bootees and vests for babies in families in need. The page on their website includes a downloadable PDF with patterns for both, including photos of them. It also has details of where you can deliver your donations. This is a really worthwhile cause and I encourage anyone in New Zealand to support it. For those of you in other countries, I am sure you will have similar local organisations which you could donate knitted items to.

Lace Making

Steps to Making Torchon Lace

Steps to Making Torchon Lace
Image courtesy of Google

Torchon lace, which falls loosely in the category of ‘grounded’ laces is one of the oldest types of laces around and is indigenous to Europe. It differs from other types of laces – heavily patterned stitch areas, by having lesser pattern stitch than ground stitch areas. In grounded laces, the threads travel directly from one section to another and have patterns and nets areas that were worked on at the same time.

Torchon lace making uses a combination of attractive motifs, a geometrical ground style and a simple range of stitches to produce exceptional fabric. The technique is so basic that it is the debut project for budding lace makers. Made popular by the middle class folks for its inexpensiveness, it uses small amounts of bobbins and thicker threads to make strong and significantly strong laces.

Torchon lace was originally for sturdy usage – curtains, table cloths, bed covers, cloaks, undergarment trimming, etc. This is not the case today as the torchon lace making technique is used to produce whatever type of fabric is desired. The patterns are played with to produce different results and they also use different varieties of thread – fine, heavy, thick, thin, plain, coloured, etc. Torchon lace making design can be used to produce fabric for any kind of clothing as deemed necessary. Dress laces, decorative, household or other miscellaneous items; the many practical applications, decorative ground pattern and endless design possibilities have greatly increased the sophistication and demand for torchon style laces.

Torchon lace design is becoming a popular hobby once again and the number of people enrolling in lace making classes is on the rise. You probably won’t have the patience or commitment or resources to go commercial but the advancement of threading technology opens up a lot of small scale application for it. Find out how you can be a lace maker today!

Chris has written this article and he likes to write and share articles on topics like torchon lace making and torchon lace patterns.

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Crochet

Just to Prove a Point

Just to Prove a Point
Image courtesy of Google

A couple of days after doing my post on crochet terminology, I had a phone call from a friend who wanted help learning to crochet. She had already worked out some of the basics herself, and when she came to see me she had a project with her.

I asked a few questions and we quickly established that her problem was exactly what I had written about in my last post. She had started off with the UK terminology for crochet stitches and the pattern she had was American. She had been unaware until that point that there were two different systems so, as the pattern was not accompanied by any stitch descriptions, she was finding herself unable to get the results she was expecting.

We spent a pleasant couple of hours catching up and working our way through her pattern. She went on her way with a clearer understanding of her project, and a printed copy of the conversion tables from my post.

I would like to mention a very good book that I have recently rediscovered in my book case. It is the “Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Needlecraft”. If you have a copy you will know why I am recommending it. If you don’t, I really think it is worth trying to get hold of one. It is listed  in My Amazon Store.

This book has clear, straight forward diagrams, instructions and illustrations on a number of needlecrafts. The section on crochet takes you from the very basics of getting started, through a large range of stitches and motifs, to how to design and assemble garments.

I bought me copy over 30 years ago so the copies available on Amazon are later versions than mine, and will probably be even better. Good luck and I hope you enjoy it.