11th June was the 2022 World Knit In Public Day. A day for not just knitters but crocheters and all yarn lovers to get out and do the craft that they love in a public space. Personally I knit and crochet in public all the time. I have mentioned previously the joke in our house is that I organise my knitting project before calling for an ambulance. If I know I’m going anywhere that I’m going to be sitting for a period of time I take my knitting. In 2019 I even took my knitting to a music festival.
I usually meet up with members from my Knitters Guild for an organised event if I’m around, it usually falls on the June long weekend in Sydney and sometimes I’m away. This year our group decided to hold our event at a local garden centre / plant nursery. Originally Mr StitchNSew was going to tag along as I’d been promising him for months we would go to that place. Once I organised a weekend away for us around a knitting in public event in the city so he used to being around knitters, he reads we knit. Unfortunately on the morning he was sick so I went alone.
The nursery has a lovely cafe with a function room so that is where us yarn folks sat spread out on many tables. It was nice to be around yarn friends again. I hadn’t attended any Knitters Guild meetings in person since before Covid. I had joined a few zoom meetings but there is nothing like meeting up in person. I sipped coffee and opted for a sweet treat for lunch instead of something savory. It has been a long time since I’ve sat at a cafe and done that. In fact the Knitting In Public Day was the first time that I had eaten out with others aside from my work tea room since March 2020. Mr StitchNSew and I have eaten takeaways but they have been in a park or outdoors away from others. Last month I caught Covid so I was a little more confident about being around others without a mask for a short period of time knowing my chances of getting it again within 12 weeks was low. Even though it isn’t compulsory I still wear a mask when out and about.
As it was in a garden centre some of us made flowers to leave for the staff after we had finished. I made 3 using a basic pattern from a book in my stash. I thought I had blogged about the book before as I often use it so I might need to write a post about it. The flowers were crocheted in 8ply from leftover scrap yarn. I don’t often make decorative stuff like this so it was a nice change.
It was a nice morning out so I’m glad I went a long. It did make me realise how much I missed hanging out with my yarn friends. I’m hoping to get to our monthly meetings regularly in person in the future again. Little steps back to normal life.
The Virus shawl pattern has been around for many years and isn’t one of those Covid inspired patterns. The pattern was given the name virus as just like a virus it grows and grows. I have made the pattern twice before, once for myself and once for a friend.
For many years in my stash I had a skein of 2ply mulberry silk yarn. I tried knitting with it once before but it was so fine that I struggled with it. It sat in my stash waiting for the perfect project. After starting another project in similar weight yarn I remembered this yarn in my stash and decided a virus shawl was the perfect project for it.
The virus shawl pattern can be a little tricky as there is some counting and you need to get your crochet hook into the right spot in certain rows. Online I have read that a lot of people have struggled with it. It is one of those patterns you either take to easily or you don’t. Bella Coco has a great Youtube tutorial which I re-watched upon starting this and I do recommend the printed chart of the pattern which you can find online. Once I was familiar again with the pattern I didn’t have to refer to the chart. The pattern just repeats over and over so you can make it as large as you want. I have only used the one colour but you could change colours as much as you like. For the edge I just did a single row of trebles with a single crochet (UK terms) between each cluster section.
Crocheting with 2ply wasn’t as tricky as I thought. It was actually easier to crochet than knit with it. Initially I started this as a project whilst Mr StitchNSew underwent a procedure in hospital as I wanted an easy project to work on which I could pull back if I made a mistake. Working on this took my mind off watching the clock waiting for the nursing staff to call me when it was over. The downside to my job is that I make a terrible family member when I’m on the opposite side of the operating table as I think of every horror situation, I get nervous waiting even for routine procedures. Not long after the procedure we had a trip to the emergency department resulting in a long day sitting in a waiting room and again this shawl got me through it. Once you understand the pattern you can easily put it down and pick it up again. I was counting the stitches after I finished each cluster and of course the times I didn’t count were the times I missed stitches and only found out a row or 2 later when the stitches didn’t add up to the pattern repeat. Crochet is so simple to frog back (rip back) I just placed a removable stitch marker at the point where I made the error and pulled the yarn back to there.
I’m not going to wear this shawl spread out so I didn’t actually bother blocking this but had I it would have become even larger. I’m going to wear it wrapped around my neck. The reason for using this yarn in this project was so I could wear it close around my neck and it wouldn’t bother me. Sadly the reason I haven’t worn my original virus shawl much is that even though it is soft due to my yarn sensitive it still irritates my skin if I get hot under it. I crocheted this as a replacement for my original one which I will now pass on.
I seemed to have spent more times knitting and crocheting this year which really is no surprise given that knitting and crochet is more portable and easy to pick up and do a bit when you can. I have really enjoyed my yarn projects this year. It has helped calm during stressful times such as the house move and Mr StitchNSew’s hospital admission. Yarn in my hands made me feel more at ease.
This year my knitting skills developed a little more. On basic garter stitch knitting I learnt how to pick up dropped stitches, in previous years I would pull the project off my needles and start again. I never posted it on here but I knit a face cloth following a printed colour chart. I did it as a test knit of the chart to see if I can use it in a double knitting project. I’m going to play around with the chart a bit before I use it in the project I have in mind. I set myself the challenge of working my way through all the editions of the Better Homes & Gardens Knitting and Crochet collection magazines I have in my magazine stash. I’ve actually now made 2 items (yet to share my second project here) Knitting the baby vest was another way of how my knitting skills have increased this year. Understanding the pattern and adapting it to be knit as one piece is something I’ve never done before, I’m slightly proud of that. With setting myself the challenge I found I am looking at the magazines more as I’m going to them first when looking for ideas on items to make.
My yarn tastes became more apparent this year as I took notice of the knitted and crocheted items I chose to wear and when. For items close to my skin like cowls and shawls that go directly near my neck I need to have cotton or silk yarns. There are some amazing wool and acrylic yarns out there but I can’t wear them due to my sensitivity issues. I do have a lot of lovely yarns in my stash which I don’t want to get rid of but I will have to really think about the project first before I use them. Future yarn purchases will be of those I can wear at any time. I did acquire yarn this year (birthday gift from Mr StitchNSew) but for the most part I’m working my way through my stash. I’ve got tubs of yarn to get through so it will keep my busy for some time yet.
Charity making was again something I did this year. With the exception of the nest I finished off for our overnight guest my focus this year was making items for my charity bags. I’ve already started on making items for my 2021 bags. Using yarns from my stash I’m sticking to simple patterns, I’m hoping to add in a couple of other knitted or crocheted items that I didn’t add in this year. Next year I’m hoping to get more items done for WIRES as I miss making items for wildlife rescue.
If I had to pick one favourite project it would be my Purl Crush shawl. It seemed to fly off my needles quickly. The colours I picked on a whim looking through my stash one day, together they look so bright and cheery. It was my project to focus on whilst I was packing. They day I finished it was a bittersweet moment. I was so happy that it was finished but I enjoyed knitting it so much I didn’t actually want it to end.
Looking ahead to 2021 I only have 1 toy I want to crochet apart from that I have no set yarn plans. I’m just going to go with the flow and see what projects I feel like trying. Even if I don’t get to make all the ideas I’m thinking of for my charity bags isn’t a big deal. I still want knitting and crochet to be my relaxing moments.
Years ago I subscribed to or regularly purchased a lot of craft magazines. Last year I stopped buying and subscribing to them. Prior to moving I got rid of most of them as I just wasn’t using them or even at times reading them. I did keep two lots, an American sewing magazine which is no longer in publication and Better Homes And Gardens annual Knitting and Crochet magazines. It is my tradition every year to buy this mag, sit down read it and relax. To be honest I think I have only ever made one pattern (Custard Beanie) from them. I knitted my sister a scarf once and I really thought the pattern came from these magazines but I have gone through them so many times and I can’t find it. I had put the project down for some time and lost the pattern that I had photocopied from the magazine and I had trouble finishing the scarf.
Upon purchasing this years edition of the magazine and sorting out my craft magazines and books I decided if I’m going to keep these knitting and crochet magazines then I need to start using them otherwise what is the point of keeping them? I have 7 magazines and an additional mini mag which was a supplement with one of their monthly magazines. I have set myself the personal challenge of knitting at least one item out of every magazine. This is a fresh challenge so if by chance I have made something from them that doesn’t count. There is no time limit to this challenge. I’m not limiting myself to just working from these magazines so if I fall in love with a pattern from Ravelry I can make that before completing this challenge. I just want to be more aware of the patterns I already have and use them. I might make items for me, charity, friends, gifts. I have plenty of yarn so that shouldn’t be an issue however I still may pick up some yarn for particular projects if I have none suitable in my stash.
I am currently knitting a large gift at the moment so that is taking all my yarn attention but this challenge is certainly milling in my head. I have flicked through the magazines a couple of times and there a few patterns I have yarn ideas for.
I can say it now we are moving!! We have purchased a unit and later this year will make the big move. To help me remember how I had my set up before I started packing I thought I would share it on here. Crafting can take up a lot of space with supplies and machines. I’m always curious as to how people have theirs set up
I had 4 main areas within my rental unit that I used plus my garage which I kept fabric and my first sewing machine which I called my travelling machine in.
This is where my sewing first started. Before I started sewing in the loungeroom on Mr Sttichnsew’s suggestion I had my machine set up in here in a cabinet, all my craft magazines/books and few craft supplies on bookshelves. If I was going to sew it would only be when I had enough time to set up and pack things away afterwards. I’m lucky enough I can leave sewing projects out without animals or kids touching them but when I was sewing in the study I was limited with space. I would have to pull my sewing cabinet out into the centre of the room and move things about a bit to use it. It was a nice little room to sew in but it was also very isolating. In the end the study turned a storage area for some of my sewing machines which I wasn’t using and I had a spare sewing cabinet which held my overlocker in it and the top it was used for a dumping ground for patterns. My roles of interfacings and pdf patterns rolled up were kept in there too as well as all my foam blocking mats. My bookshelves contained some craft supplies and my remaining craft magazines and books. By the end of 2019 I had sold 3 of my extra sewing machines and sold my spare sewing cabinet. Once I started clearing out my excess craft books and magazines I had space on my bookshelf to store my overlocker so I sold the cabinet.
This is where I kept all my dress making fabrics, sewing notions, yarn most of it anyway. I had a wardrobe which much to B’s amusement I called the “Craft Wardrobe” It contained a shelving unit full of fabric, containers of yarn, a bookshelf of sewing supplies and a heap of other crafting items hanging or squished at the sides. In the room I had boxes of fabrics, another shelving unit of fabrics and all my paper dressmaking patterns. I also had my clothes drying airer which often would have fabric drying on it. I would try and keep this room under control but it did get a little crazy at times… ok a lot crazy. Having my sewing patterns and dress making fabric within the same room meant sometimes I would just go and play around with my patterns and fabrics to get ideas on what to make. Sometimes that was all I needed to help me relax.
In the garage I keep a lot of my general crafting fabric. This is fabric I use in gift making and for making WIRES pouches although I did have a stash of that in my spare room too. My fabric boxes weren’t organised at all and I would have to go through several boxes to find fabric I want. It was fun “shopping” in my mini fabric store but my dream would be to organise it more so perhaps all colours were together or all prints are together. I need to go through as there are a lot of fabrics in there I know I won’t use such as Christmas themed fabric or fabrics which have like a metallic finish on them which aren’t suitable for WIRES pouches. Future me will get this organised and that way I can use it more. In recent times sometimes I have gotten lazy and just brought new fabrics instead of going through it all. As mentioned I would store my travel sewing machine here but I don’t travel with it any more so have kept it as my spare machine instead.
This isn’t one of my main storage areas but I managed to stash a lot of yarn in here. Most of it is under the bed where I also kept my yarn winders. In the bottom of the wardrobe I also had a stash of yarn. This was big lots of acrylic yarn for future projects or scraps from previous blankets.
This was my sewing area and preparation area. I permanently have my sewing machine and ironing board set up. My machine sits on sewing cabinet by the tv so I can watch it as I sew or I can listen to music. We have no dining table so in the space behind the lounge where most people would use a dining room I have my ironing board and craft table set up. My craft table is actually a cutting table which I think you can no longer buy. It is higher than most craft tables which is good for my back as I don’t have to bend so much. With my mobility issues the higher table helps immensely. The table was my mum’s and it was one of the few things I said I wanted when we were clearing out her stuff. Most times it is pushed against the wall but I do pull it out into the centre of the area when I am tracing out/cutting out large patterns as I can get around all sides of it. When I use my overlocker I used it on this table. My craft trolley used to live under my table but I now keep it near my sewing machine as I can reach over and grab things from it.
I have no idea what the set up will be in the new place but I know things will be different. I won’t have a garage to store fabrics in I know that for sure. The unit layout will be different and it will take me a bit to work out where to put everything but I will get there. As with most things I had just gotten the right set up and balance of things before the decision to move was made. I have limited time off before the move so late December I started packing away things I wasn’t going to use in the coming months. It has been an interesting task. I have had to really plan out what I’m going to knit/crochet during that time to leave enough yarn out for projects. I had to also think about the projects themselves, I didn’t want anything too complex as knitting/crocheting is my relaxation from everything else that is going on. It helps keep my sanity. I decided on a few easy projects and so far so good. With my sewing I have kept out a bag of essential tools and supplies and my projects are again relatively simple or things I need to get done by deadlines which may fall near our expected move timeline. We don’t have an actual move date yet but have a rough time frame. I’m even thinking of gifts for Christmas 2020 and as I pack my remaining craft fabrics I’m happy to even make a start on those knowing I can always place them in a box and know where they are as during my packing I’m numbering each box and writing contents in a notebook.
It might be many months before I do an “After” blog post but once I get settled in I will. Ideally I would like to have it as a similar set up but as for the most part it was working for me in this place but I will have to wait and see.
My crochet and knitting level is very basic. A simple way to practise it and at the same time feel like I’m actually making something is to make doll blankets.
These are just your basic Granny Square or Afghan pattern. You can make them any size with any yarn that you have. They are a great way to test out a pattern to see if you like it. I actually worked on one of the above blankets whilst at child’s birthday party. It was light and portable and didn’t matter if I had to put it down I easily picked up where I was up to.
Another good thing about doll or toy blankets is that the kids can never have enough blankets for their toys and they don’t care if you mess up the pattern.