The Needles Are Still Clicking Along…

* Please note I am editing this blog post because I goofed up.  The reason behind the initial post was two-fold.  First, to document how much of a knitting junkie I have returned to being in such a short time and two….to win up to $200.00 in goodies from The Interweave Store.  You see, Knitting Daily has a contest going on (Blog it to Win it) right now where you show and tell your knitting project(s)/story on your blog to win free stuff.   I love free stuff.  Who doesn’t love free stuff? Who wouldn’t love to pick out $200.00 worth of free stuff from their site?  Only loco people wouldn’t and I am clearly not loco.  Ok, maybe just a tich loco….but I want to win, mainly because I am just so darn competitive.

These are the items I would love, Love, LOVE to get free:

Knitting Patterns…
Wragby Cardigan
Aryn Tunic Cardigan
Windowpane Coat
Hedgerow Coat
Minimalist Cardigan
(Can you tell I love sweaters?)

and because I just acquired Bob (see post from October 28th here), I need to learn how to use Bob and these 3 things will help me get there:

Log Cabin Infinity Woven Scarf Kit
The Best of Handwoven’s:
Weaving Techniques Digital Collection
Handwoven’s Master Weavers Collection:
Favorite Projects & Lessons from Sharon Alderman

Now let’s get on with my story…..from yesterday…

As I type this, another new project has been cast onto the needles.  This past weekend saw the last pair of socks being finished for my daughter (for a while at least, she has 2 brand new pairs in recent weeks) with a pair of mitts now in the works and a hat to do next.

Which led me to thinking…. just how many projects have I accomplished in the last 14 months since my return to knitting?  Knitting is like riding a bike, once you learn, it is with you forever.   I took up the craft (self taught) about 20 some years ago when I quit smoking,  desperately needing something to keep my hands busy before I ate my way to 300 lbs.  It worked too, 6 afghans were ‘manufactured’ during that first year of nicotine celibacy.

After that, many projects were cast on over the course of about 10 years.  Then for some reason (probably having to go back to work), knitting fell by the wayside.  Heading back into the workforce required a new wardrobe, so out came the sewing machine and I spent many years making my own work clothes as well as various other household projects from curtains to cushions and everything in between.

Knitting was the farthest thing from my mind until last year, when I realized I had ‘Southern Ontario’ winter gear (hats, scarves and gloves), which were not at all suitable for the bone numbing cold of Northern Ontario where our newly acquired Homestead is located.

Hence the unearthing of the knitting needles, and that was it,  I was hopelessly addicted again.  Especially when I realized that there are literally hundreds of websites / webpages devoted to knitters.  I spent hours surfing the internet for all things yarn related….I googled hat, scarf and mitt patterns while enjoying side trips oohing and awing over pretty sweaters before setting off to my local yarn shop to choose the perfect yarns for my chosen projects.

After that, it was knit, knit, knit, knit and knit some more….. In the first 3 months leading up to the Fall of 2012, I made 2 hats, one hooded cowl (for daughter), 5 pairs of mitts, 3 pairs of fingerless mitts, 2 scarves and a purse.

Not too shabby for a first run down the sidelines into the end zone.  But then I had my eye on something bigger.  The Grand PoohBah of knitting.  The Homestead needed an afghan and it had been years since I made one.  I still had the original pattern for all the afghans I made long ago, but I wanted something different.   So it was back to the internet surfing to find the perfect pattern….and I did, albeit the actual dimensions for it were quite small.  Our family requires large afghans, this was a baby blanket size of 47″ x 56″, that simply wouldn’t cut the mustard.

So I altered/lengthened and doubled the size of the pattern.  10 months and 17 gigantic balls of yarn later, my King-Sized afghan was finished.  I stood back and marveled at the size….over 6 feet long and almost 7 feet wide.  There is enough afghan to wrap around a humpback whale.   Then I thought….maybe I made it too big??? naw, no such a thing as a too-big afghan, it was perfect.

Homestead Afghan Finished

I should clarify that I didn’t spend the entire 10 months knitting the afghan as there was a period over the Spring/Summer that it sat in the corner of the living room, patiently waiting for my return.  It simply was too warm out to sit and knit an afghan of giant proportions in 30C heat.

It was during the early Spring that I was introduced to sock knitting.  I had never, ever made socks before.  I actually don’t even like socks, but these were something that were fairly quick to knit up, are great projects for long car drives and they make great gifts too.  The recipient of most of the socks made since then have been my daughter as she is the sock-lover-aholic of the family.  I did make a few pairs for myself and I am slowly taking a shine to them.  I guess it is the self-satisfaction in making a pair of hand-knitted socks that has me almost…almost liking them.

Which brings me back to all the things I have made since my re-introduction to knitting…

one afghan
two purses
six pairs of socks
one sweater
three hats
two scarves
one hooded cowl
eight pairs of mitts
one lace shawl/poncho
four pairs of Santa Slippers
and countless washcloths (I lost count as I was making them for client gifts too)

I still have many more projects waiting in the wings and I try to finish a project before starting another, otherwise I would have piles of needles and yarn stashed in various locations which would soon be classified as UFO’s (un-finished objects) and that is an un-deserving fate for any knitted project.

Knitting has not only been a great joy for me, but it is also a great stress reliever as my job can be quite demanding at times.  I look forward to sitting after dinner to unwind, mindlessly watching tv and letting the yarn do it’s magic on the needles.

Now that I have caught the knitting bug again, it isn’t likely to disappear a second time….

Signature copy

33 thoughts on “The Needles Are Still Clicking Along…

  1. You do incredible work. Just gorgeous, talented, and filled with love….your knitting is nice too. ❤

    Deb, you forgot my cowl neck wrap in your tally!

    • Oh you are so correct Anne! not just yours, but also one each for Trish and Vick! Thanks for the compliment too, I feel the love all the way from Oregon. 🙂

  2. So lovely and the colors just make the background of that room *pop*. You may well need this with the cold winter ahead. What pattern did you use?

  3. Not that I’m not interested in your knitting, that’s why I’m here–but am curious about your log home…is that a “Timber Block” home? If so are you happy with it & is it warm?

    • Thanks for popping in, but no, our home isn’t a log home. It is a standard frame construction with vinyl siding on both the cottage and garage. The cottage is insulated and heated, just like a regular home 🙂

    • Thank you for visiting my site! I have just peeked at your blog and bookmarked it so be sure to post a pic of the sweater when you are done! As for the socks, I was terrified at first to make them, but have come to embrace making them 😀 Good luck with your sock adventure!

  4. Lovely work! I admire your tenacity. I’ve been slowly knitting a sock blankie (a blankie using left-over sock yarn.) for several years. So your complete afghan is awesome! Are you on Ravelry?

    • Hi Jana ~ yes, I am on Ravelry, if you go to the main page of my blog, you will see the link on the right hand side 🙂 Thanks for your kind comments! and an excellent idea on using up old sock yarn! good for you! 🙂

  5. I too put away my needles for a number of years. I was busy working and also discouraged by how cheaply you could purchase things already made. Another thing was not having anyone near me who could teach me some skills related. When I did pick up the needles again, I merely knitted afghans in feather-fan pattern. Now we have a computer and I get my turn regularly. I love all of the tutorials and helps I find here! I have learned all sorts of things and improved my skills. One funny thing I found was that I was purling backwards and did not know it! I caught it on one of the tutorial videos. I wondered why the woman was wrapping her yarn “wrong”. I tried it and now know, it was me. That time lapse did it. Now, my tension is good. Lace patterns are possible too. I was wrapping my yarn the wrong direction all that time. I recently began to use circular needles. Never could before. Again, videos did the trick! Love your afghan. Keep up the beautiful work that you so enjoy!

    • Thank you so much for your king comments, I appreciate all the responses today! and I am a major supporter of the internet ~ if there is anything you ever wanted to know or learn about, look it up on-line 🙂 A BIG congratulations to you on picking up the needles again too, and truth me told, I was knitting the knit stitches wrong when I first started years ago, I was knitting through the back loop and not the front! My MIL showed me the right way and it made a huge difference. Seeing things visually is much easier than trying to decipher drawn pictures in a book. Again, congrats and happy knitting! 🙂

  6. Did you write down how you changed the pattern to look like it does I would love to know so I can make one. I’ve seen the pattern on an don’t like the boarder

    • Hi Loni ~ The only thing I really changed was the length of the pattern and doubling the width. You can eliminate the border entirely, but I would suggest knitting a 5-10 stitch garter stich border so the sides of the afghan do not roll to the underside. If you do this, you will have to make sure you don’t alter the number of stitches needed for the inside pattern, just delete the outside border stitches and add however many you want for a garter stitch border. For length, I did the following: Commence with the original pattern and do 2 pattern sets of the outside border, then I did 12 outside pattern sets of chocolate brown, followed by 2 outside pattern sets in the red-burgundy, then 12 outside pattern sets in the cream. I then finished the cream portion off with the required 2 outside border sets. I then did another one exactly the same but started in taupe, then the red, then chocolate brown so that the brown sections were opposite each other. Hope this makes sense!

        • The border is a 14 stitch pattern, repeated twice on each side as well as top and bottom. If you go to the bernat site and lookup the pattern, you will able to zoom in to see the detail of the border pattern stitch. For every row knitted, the first 3 stitches are garter stitch, then the 14 stitch border (x2), then the middle ‘criss-cross’ pattern, then the 14 stitch pattern again (x 2), then 3 stitches of garter stitch. If you want to eliminate the border pattern, you will have to adjust the middle ‘criss-cross’ pattern to fit the existing width dimension of the overall project. The pattern is free to download from bernat, from there, calculate how many stitches you will need to do just the criss-cross pattern without doing the border pattern. I still suggest utilizing a garter stitch along the sides of the afghan of at least 5 – 10 stitches to stop the sides from rolling under as the criss-cross pattern is done entirely in stockinette stitch which has a tendency to roll under onto itself. Hope this helps!

    • Hi Loni – there are only 2 panels, the left starts with Taupe, continues on with red and finishes with brown (knitted all together – not separately, just add the colours as you go). The right side I started with brown, then red, then cream. For each panel, cast on 164 stitches and follow the pattern instructions…

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