Look back over your last year of projects and compare where you are in terms of skill and knowledge of your craft to this time last year. Have you learned any new skills or forms of knitting/crochet (can you crochet cable stitches now where you didn’t even know such things existed last year? Have you recently put a foot in the tiled world of entrelac? Had you even picked up a pair of needles or crochet hook this time last year?.
I have been avidly reading the blog posts from yesterday's first day of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week :) It's wonderful to see so many people uniting to blog about the stuff we love to do....knit and crochet! It's amazing to see how fibre lovers differ in tastes...one man's meat etc etc :) Today's post is all about newly acquired skills, and although one of the skills I am blogging about is fairly conventional, the other is probably wayyyyy out there...
This year has been a good learning curve in terms of my knitting and crochet. I decided many moons ago that there is simply nothing that cannot be done, or a solution to a problem found, as long as there is a will. So, even if I am paralysed with fear (...does occassionally happens folks...) before attempting something (...right before bungy jumping, as I seem to recall...), I plunge headlong and work it out until I get it right (...don't think I will be bungying again soon though...). With this in mind, I tackled a project that I have been weanting to do for a couple of weeks now.
I recently bought a chunky knitting machine, in an attempt to knit big blankets for my girls for winter. I wanted to use divine yarns, in lovely bright colours...something they can curl up under when having an afternoon nap, or watching tv. Sadly, I found that the average knitting machine bed is very small/narrow, and nowhere near the size I wanted to make.
So, I merrily called the manufacturer and asked if there was some way in which I could join up two machines to make a longer needle bed. "No, it cannot be done...", I was told. Ha! I thought, the magic words! So, I set myself the task of making it happen (didn't have any idea how yet...)
I spent the morning dismantling the two machines to find out how they were put together. The whole mechanism is actually very simple, with only a few moving bits.
I worked out that I needed to saw off a tiny bit of one of the needle beds (to slot into its neighbour and create the width of a needle), and drill a few small holes in the base plate (to have access to the screws that hold the needle count bar down)...really extremely easy and simple to do!
When I had finished the whole process, I had a knitting bed that was over 260 needles wide, capable of knitting up something nearly 2.5m wide...bliss!!!!
The other skill I felt is worthy of mention is learning to dye my own yarn. Again, quite easy to do, but opens up a whole world of possibilities...
I love that I can plan to use a specific colour and dye up any yarn type and weight to match what I want. It also means not running out of a colour... and above all it is addictive and fun!
Another skill that I have begun to understand and (...hopefully...) master, is to knit intarsia in the round. As you all know (if you've read any of my past posts), I HATE seaming anything and will avoid it at all cost.... so I Magic Loop virtually everything! Of course, the holy grail of circular knitting is doing intarsia, entrelec, double knitting all in the round, and I am happy to say, that all that is left of these is the entrelac...perhaps this year will bring the yarns of change and I will have the time to master that skill in full :)
Tomorrow...how I manage my shamefully huge yarn stash...