Knitting Inspiration to Help Survive Lockdown

Posted on May 14 2020

Christel Seyfarth book
You know when you log into a website which leads you to another and before you know it, you are still sitting in your pyjamas and it's gone noon. Well, I seem to have been having a few of those mornings lately....!

The good news is that I have discovered lots of new knitting related sites which I would like to share with you. First off, I had an email from one of my knitting blogs I'm signed up to, which told me that I could join 'Knit Stars' for an early bird offer. Needless to say, I then googled Knit Stars and ended up, not only signing up to the forthcoming event but also purchasing Season 3 for a 'special price'. I chose this particular season because there were a few names that I had already heard of and I was interested in learning more about them. It also gave me the opportunity to discover some new designers.

Arne and Carlos probably need no introduction to many of you but their YouTube videos make easy watching and they have now become part of the Rowan design team stable. This video on how to do layered coloured work is particularly interesting.
Arne and Carlos Carise for Rowan knitted in Alpaca Soft DK
Carise knitted in Alpaca Soft DK

It was fascinating listening to Ann Shayne and Kay Gardiner of Mason Dixon Knitting which is a site with lots of useful tips and worth a browse. I am signed up to their newsletter and am amazed to receive something in my inbox each morning which I admit to not always opening straight away. However, I am still in awe of their output.....There is absolutely no chance of you receiving a newsletter from me everyday you may be delighted to know!

I watched Ann Budd teach steeking - I have attended a lesson on steeking in the past but Ann made it look so easy. Steeking is definitely worth learning for those Fair Isle sweaters which are so much easier knitted in the round and carrying the yarn behind the knit stitches rather than trying to carry the yarn across on the purl rows. The secret is to work out how to knit in the round for colour work and this is exactly what the next designer does - even for shawls.

Christel Seyfarth is a Danish designer whose work is amazing and influenced by the scenary and history of the island where she was born and lives. This led me to her website, which then led me to a series of podcasts called 'Fruity Knitting'. I have spent the last couple of evenings, headphones in, whilst knitting and watching this 'husband and wife team' interview designers from all over the world. There are over 100 episodes and so plenty to keep me going during lockdown!! With my knitting trip to Venice cancelled, I have put Christel's knitting festival on the Danish island of Fano on my list of things to do although, I am not convinced we will be travelling in September so that's a visit that may have to wait.
Christel Seyfarth garment
A Christel Seyfarth design

I have yet to complete all of my Season 3 Knit Stars sessions, but I did listen to Cecelia Campochiaro whose book 'Sequence Knitting' I bought last year and is the most expensive knitting book I have purchased to date. Basically, she writes about how simple sequences of knit and purl stitches can create a myriad of patterns depending on how many stitches you have on your needle and how you knit the sequence: stopping at the end of the row or continuing the sequence on the next row if not completed. A fascinating journey. 

Sequence Knitting by Cecelia Campochiaro 
Sequence Knitting by Cecelia Campochiaro 

The problem of course with getting so much inspiration is that there are still only so many hours in a day, and with a house full at the moment, the time I can spend on knitting is limited. With 2 projects currently on my needles I have ideas for at least another ten......that leads to the next issue; instead of just enjoying the making, I am rushing to finish current projects to move on to the next one......! Not quite the meditative state knitting is supposed to put me in!! 

Anyway, I hope you get chance to take a look at some of the sites mentioned above and get inspiration yourself for future knitting projects.

I know that many of you have sewn some beautiful quilts and I did go on a course a couple of years ago to learn to quilt myself. However, despite purchasing the necessary rulers/set squares/cutting implements etc I still found it very hard to be as precise as you need to be in order to create the perfect shapes. Knitting is so much easier, if you make a mistake you just unravel.
log cabin patchwork
My sewn log cabin attempt in batik fabric.
Unusual choice for me as I always use very neutral colours when knitting!

Anyway, my favourite patchwork pattern ended up being 'Log Cabin' and I recently came across the knitted version. The pattern is a free download and the video makes it extremely clear so this may be a project for some of you to use up all those scraps of yarn lying around. You can make the blanket as big or as small as you like. This sort of project is nice to have on the go whilst knitting more complicated pieces.
log cabin scrap knitted blanket
Log Cabin Scrap Blanket by Very Pink
Halfway through writing this newsletter I joined a Zoom meeting for Rowan retailers which lasted nearly 3 hours but which updated us all on the latest news and products for Autumn/Winter 2020. Rowan has now been sold to the DMC Group which also owns Sirdar and Wool and the Gang; the plan is for Rowan to keep its own identity going forward.

One of the new yarns for this season will be a cashmere from the same Scottish mill that I purchase (as did Patricia Roberts before me) my Lambswool No.1 and No.2. I had been hoping to buy my cashmere from this mill myself but the minimum quantity I needed to buy was a huge investment for a small business. I think the initial range from Rowan is quite small and it will be retailing at around £35 for a 50g ball - definitely not cheap but then good quality cashmere never is. The new yarns are due to be released in September so I will keep you updated....plenty of time to save up to treat yourself! For those who love knitting with Cocoon, this yarn is to be discontinued so now may be the time to stock up.

Kylie Beanie knitted in Cocoon from The Knitter's Yarn 
Kylie Beanie Knitted in Rowan Cocoon
Cocoon Headband and Fingerless Mitts by The Knitter's Yarn
I hope you and your families are keeping safe and well in the uncharted landscape that we face today. The golf course has reopened and so I can now play with another person so long as we keep to social distancing - easy to do with my standard of golf.....However, it will be a long time before we get back to the real beauty of the game which is the camaraderie  enjoyed whilst playing and afterwards in the Clubhouse. The same is true of any group activity and I am looking forward to celebrating when we re-start our knit and natter groups at the studio and the charity knitting group within the local care home. Let's hope 'normality' returns soon and that the economic downturn is not as horrendous as has been forecast. 

Wishing you all good health in the coming months.

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