Blends of silk and wool fibres, dyed in varying bands of gorgeous colour, loosely spun and plied into soft balls—they call out to a knitter, just like the smell of freshly brewed coffee entices the tired executive. When they appear quietly, in the corner of a rarely visited website or on the kitchen table of a friend rustling up a traditional stew for dinner—they call out to me, just like the smell of frying onions make hungry kids leave a game, and head to the dining table.
Two incidents happened, in quick succession…
A friend plonked a ruby and emerald beauty on my idle knitting needles…she wanted a cap replete with cables– lots and lots of cables.
A few weeks prior to this, I had spotted a blend of earthy colours on this website
Prompt delivery meant that the yarn reached me before I could think clearly. I cast on a cowl, a long one..Too impatient to knit a swatch, I cast on stitches with a length of yarn exactly three times the desired length. Started knitting with those trusted wooden needles,which turned out to be a wrong choice. The sharp points split the yarn and there was a halo of floss, a few extra stitches when I looked at the TV screen and general mayhem when the wool finished and it was a very narrow, very long cowl.
While waiting for the second batch of yarn to arrive, I cast on this cabled cap and focussed on getting the wooden points to spare the yarn. Knitting through two train and taxi rides, keeping my head down, and deep breathing—it all came together, just how my friend wanted it. This free pattern , used earlier, passed the test of excellent instructions and rewarding knitting. Check out the excellent free patterns on this website maintained by Karen Templar, my blogging idol.
Returned to that long and narrow cowl, and this time, I did it right. Switched to blunter, nickel plated knitting needles ( soon to be my favourites), knitted with full attention ( these are times when podcasts and audiobooks really shine) and used up the entire ball of gorgeous yarn.
Alas, there were three twists in the circular cowl, and I had to smile at the keen interest with which the knitters viewed my disaster. They would have unravelled the entire knitting,that was a given.
Blends of wool and silk fibres, dyed and loosely spun into soft balls, are not made for unravelling. There is too much of floss and split fibres in the fabric. I had to do what every resourceful knitter does..Two lines of small machine stitches twice, a sharp scissor snipping between the pairs of stitches, a deep breath and I am left with a rather smart scarf which needs an imaginative edging.
Working on the imagination bit!