Sunday, 21 December 2008

Knitting for peace

What do you do when you are about to decamp for the festive season for the Isle of Wight and you have one weekend to finish off everything you have left undone until the last minute? You go and sit in a gallery on the South Bank for two days knitting baby hats of course.

Knitting for Peace is the brainchild of Hilary, one of the members of my knitting group in Golders Green. Internationally, a network of knitters create useful things for each other but more importantly come together across divisions that the politicians seem unable to bridge in places like India, Pakistan and Rwanda the simple act of creating things together is used to create connections where none existed before. The hats that I and my fellow knitters have been creating are destined for Afghanistan.
Now this sofa looks a lot like the one that I am sitting on right now (except my sofa isn't white and is a lot saggier...)

People were fascinated to look into the gallery and instead of the conventional art work found these comfy sofas strewn with half finished projects, yarn and needles and were invited to start something of their own or just to add a few rows to an existing project. A few people learned from scratch, others regained skills they thought they had lost and with that remembering came stories of family and community and the things that bind us together . Listening to people's tales of childhood and traditions was an unexpected privilege.
Here are a couple of my hats - probably the simplest baby hats in the world - aran/worsted weight superwash wool, cast on 60 stitches onto a 5mm needle using the Magic Loop, knit until you have five inches of work above the rolled brim then:
Row 1 K3K2tog, repeat all the way round
Row 2 K2K2tog, repeat all the way round
Row 3 K1K2tog,repeat all the way round
Row 4 K2tog all the way round
Repeat Row 4 until there are 3 stitches left, break yarn and thread through stitches, sew in ends with a tapestry needle and start another one! I found that mine took about 40g of yarn.
It's nice to do something utterly simple and quick for a change because as you know, I tend towards the small of needle and complex of pattern...
Not that I have entirely abandoned that habit - here is a glove pattern that I am test knitting for Littleberry. So far,so good - I think it is very pretty but as you can see, I have hesitated at the fingers - I really should get a grip! If you go over to Littleberry's blog you will see that she has made hers in black and deep pink. I thought I'd use a completely different palette and went for a sludgy green and blossom pink in my yarn of the moment, Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift. And no, your eyes do not deceive you - I am having yet another go at that pesky Magic Loop!
Here is the back of the mitten with the traditional Nordic Star.

And here is the more simply patterned palm. I think these two colours give a lovely tweedy effect to the fabric.

I promise I will show you glove fingers - very soon...well, soonish...

In other, more everyday news, I have finished the Fassett Mansocks. Despite being completely over the fairisle style pattern yarns, I do still have a soft spot for Regia self striping yarn, especially the Kaffe Fassett series at the yarn is of good quality and the colours are strong, bright, saturated and well combined.
So pleased was I with this outcome that I cast on for another pair of Mansocks, this time in Austermann Pro Natura which contains bamboo instead of nylon as a strengthening fibre for the sock. The fabric has a slightly less fuzzy feel too. I think they are looking quite the thing for the more adventurous man!

Sharp eyed knitters may also have discerned that I am not using my usual bamboo needles -not only am I using metal needles - these are square needles!

Advertised as being especially good for those with arthritis,joint pain or carpal tunnel syndrome, none of which I can speak of as I remain mercifully unafflicted by any such illness, I can say that they handle very well and don't 'roll' like round needle so I can see how they might be easier to grip. They have good points and rarely snag the yarn. Being metal, however,they don't hug the yarn as well as bamboo so I have to remember to put stitch stoppers on the ends of m needles to avoid finding that they have parted company with my knitting at the bottom of my bag when I come to take the sock out for some homeward bound knitting.
Speaking of homeward bound, it's past midnight and I haven't started packing or cleaning the house yet and am planning to head off tomorrow. Alarmingly I will be spending the festive season entirely without internet connection unless I drop into the local internet cafe so, if I don't speak to you until the new year I hope that your Christmas and New Year are everything that you hope they will be and more.
Thanks to everyone for reading the blog and joining me on my rambles - it's lovely having you here.


m1k1 said...

And thank you for sharing snippets of your life with us. Merry Christmas.

LittleBerry said...

and you said I'd been busy!!! think you're just waiting for a grand finale.... everything looks great and I love the colour combination you picked for the gloves that's the thing with fair isle everybody elses colour choices make you want to do a pair just like it....

sussexyorkie said...

Need more details for the square needles, please. Have a lovely Christmas.

RooKnits said...

Merry Christmas Jane, and have a very Happy New Year. Enjoy your time with your family. I look forward to seeing your creations when you get back... I wonder how many balls of Shetland you can fit into your suitcase?

Auntie Noo said...

I bet you'll have some lovely weather on the Island! - We may be down on Hayling Island for a long walk at some point so I will wave !! Have a fabulous Christmas x

Cornflower said...

Happy Christmas, Jane!
(By the way, I'd never heard of this gadget - found via someone's blog link - but it must solve the problem of stitches falling off needles while in the bag: )

Kathy said...

I love the colors in those second socks! I am always amazed at how much you manage to knit in any amount of time. I haven't begun and finished a single pair of socks this year. But I did start a lot of projects...

knittingtastic said...

Happy New Year to you Jane.
Please can you pass on details of where to send Knit For Peace baby hats to...I completely forgot about the meet-ups.
Many thanks

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