Wednesday 31 August 2011

Knit Club

(for some reason I feel this post has a dreary tone. My apologies to those who usually pop 
by for a giggle. It's the damn mojo problem I fear)

It's like Fight Club only we brandish kniting needles rather than fists. It's great. I love it.  It's only once a month for a few hours on a Saturday morning and I look forward to it immensely. I've only been going since March (I think) but everyone is so welcoming that I feel like I've been attending for much longer. I met Helen and Jo, fellow bloggers, there too who are super lovely. But it's a bit wierd when real life collides with cyber. They know so much about me!!

Debbie Bliss. *Sigh* Purchased from The Wool Sanctuary.

Suzie who owns The Wool Sanctuary where Knit Club takes place is bonkers in the bestest way ever. Never ask her for diet tips for she will tell you to aggressively eat a doughnut but chew then spit don't swallow. I kid you not!!! She is a skinny minny so maybe that is the answer...hmmmmmm...

I stole this fab pic from Suzie's blog. Watch out Suzie I WILL steal this
frock of yours on Saturday!!

The Wool Sanctuary is like the bestest part of John Lewis, rammed to the rafters with Debbie Bliss and Rowan yarn and some other scrummy yarn. So inspiring to be able to sit amongst the yarn and knit. Also there's the added bonus of having a group of women there who are ready, willing and able to help me out when I get stuck....every five minutes when I've lost count of rows......every ten minutes when I've dropped a stitch. I am hopeless. It's so hard!!! I can remember my Mum teaching me to knit as a child. I took to it ok. I would chant "up the little rabbit hole, round the little tree, up pops he and off goes she" so that I could remember the moves but I ended up with a triangular shaped piece of knitting that looked like the front of a pair of knickers and it was holey like the moths had had a nibble.

I know you have heard me grizzling about knitting in the past but I have hope that I will conquer this knitting thing. I did think I was a Natural Born Knitter. Rather smugly in fact. I cast on easily. No problems there. I knitted. I purled. I cast off. "Cor!" thought I "What's the big deal! This knitting is easy peasy!" but then I started doing patterned stitches where each row is a bit different or the stitches alternate on a row and that is where my problems start. I simply can't count my rows unless they are all knit or all purl. If I drop a stitch I can't pick it up according to the pattern sequence. I end up with a mess and the air turns blue. I have no patience with knitting and I get in a nardy strop and start frogging and frogging and rabbiting as Alice calls it. Alice has even given me very clear instruction on how to pick up stitches as has Sandi but alas, if it's a patterned piece I have no choice but to frog the stuff right back to the slip knot because I also find it hard to pick the stitches up again and even when I do I get them twisted  (even if I could pick up each stitch I'd still have no idea where I am in the pattern as I cant count rows) and I always have a dropped stitch or eight which I can't pick up. See? Soooooooooooooo frustrating. Cue frenzied frogging. Imagine Animal from The Muppets on the drums and you'd not be far off.

 I was saying all this at Knit Club during 'Show and Tell' or 'Woe and Tell' as far as I'm concerned, one of the ladies, lets call her Genius Girl, said I should run a peice of yarn through the stiches on my needle at strategic points so if I go wrong I can frog to there and the stitches will all be on the yarn marker and they'll all face the right way and wont get lost. When I'm done I can them just pull the yarn marker out. It works a TREAT! She really deserves the title Genius Girl. I've found using embroidery thread in a contrasting colour works best.

This is the free yarn and it's a bit too rough and squeaky for a nice blanket
I have been practicing basic knitting by making these Innocent Smoothy hats which you can read about here. In short people like me knit these little hats and send them to Innocent Smoothy Head Quarters where they get plonked on a bottle and sold in the shops. For each be-hatted smoothy that is sold 25p goes to Age UK. There's a crochet pattern here but I reckon an egg cosy would work too. If you want to make some then either get in touch with Suzie or Innocent Smoothies for details of where to send them.

this is NOT the free yarn
For the smoothy hats I've been using the free yarn that came with the above knitting monthly magazine which promises to teach you to knit by creating a different square using a different technique/stitch each week.

The first few squares of the blanket

It wasn't going well what with all the frogging and the mental block. I said as such on my blog a while back which prompted Wendy to leave me a message to say she had a fab book that taught her to knit. She told me all about it and then asked me if I'd like it. Of course I said YES!!!

Lovely lovely Wendy (who is a bonkers prolific crafter and does some aMAYzing stuff) posted it to me and it has totally cleared up a few of my smaller issues and reassured me that my bigger issues will go with time and practice. There are some great patterns which expand your skills as you work through the book. Edited to add: do pop over to Wendy's today for she has a very funny post up about the woes of crafting.

Wendy sent a gorgeous book mark and card too. Look at how neat her stitches are.
I think I'll have a go at these projects:

But maybe I'll not try this knitted tie, not sure Mr C would be very kind about a knitted tie.

Once I am done with the book I am going to offer it out to a fellow blogger who wants to learn to knit. I shall pop Wendy's blog details and my own in the front and whoever receives it after me is to do the same. Once they have learned to knit they are to send it on to another fellow blogger.  A bit like a library book with provenance. I love the idea that this book will gain more scribble through out it, more notes and ticking off of rows to go along side my own and Wendy's.

Wendy's ticks

At the beginning of Knitty Gritty it is advised to knit on large needles so I made a snood from a pattern from The Wool Sanctuary....

.....except I had trouble wealding the large needles and my usually tight tension became way too loose and the size is all wrong. It doesn't fit like it should. I should have done a tension square. But I will still wear it as I can wrap it around twice so all is not lost. Tis also a perfect excuse to buy more yarn in a different colour for I have changed my mind about the bright pink....I think a softer colour next time.

It's been a busy old time in the nest of late (Mini is ill) but I have been trying to make the most of it since the boys return to school next week. I figure I'll catch up with myself and all of you then. Until then I shall enjoy having the kids to myself and not having to do the school run twice a day. Before I go I must acknowledge the fact that I won a giveaway over at Sew Sweet Violet. I am beyond chuffed and want to spend a little longer waxing lyrical about the heavenly bunting I won and I shall do so in another post another day. But for a little peek go over and have a look at this and all the gorgeous stuff Jooles is making.


ps. The Yicks are doing very well. The Biggun's are loving having a free pass to piddle all over the enclosure and so far no fox has been spotted. We get two eggs a day and they come running over for a cuddle whenever I go out there, the chickens, not the eggs. Eggs can't run about. Oh how I love those Yicks!!! They come over and let me pick them up so there will never be any problems putting them to bed. I can pop them in whenever I need to rather than waiting for them to go to bed as the sun sets.

pps. My delight with Mollie Makes magazine continues (apart from one issue which I was disappointed with) especially as they have done away with the crappity crap horrid felt free gift. The material one is much better. I mention this as MM has just plopped into my post box so I will be even more quiet as I hide in the utility room having a read but pretending to be sorting out the washing. Ha ha haaaaa!


  1. Am i still a 'no-reply' blogger? :-)
    Lots of knitting above, I will go and read it now!

  2. Thanks for all the knitting ideas! I love to crochet but like you, having recently tried to pick up knitting. I can not get the purl stitch right. I have tried every tutorial I can think of!

  3. Very pretty, I love that yarn!

  4. It was on my 'to do' list at the beginning of the year.....but as yet, it is still a 'to do'!

    I did buy a pattern book for cardigans (which sounds very 'ahead of myself' seeing as I cannot knit at all, but it was aimed at beginners. The stitches were plain and easy (apparantly), and done on big needles with chunky yarn. I've yet to give it a go, but want to. Maybe when I stop trying to do everything else I might just give it a go! I don't want to be stuck doing long plain scarves all the time! My M-I-L gave me knitting books, big needles and yarn so I have no excuse. Just need to get my HUGE bum in gear!

    Off to take a peeksie now at the other blogs............


  5. I love this!!! I wish so badly to knit. I have books, brochures, and needles, but to get it to work out for me hasn't happened. You can do SO much when you know how to knit AND crochet. I wonder what you will come up with as you grow your skill :)

  6. I love your Debbie Bliss wool - such gorgeous colours! Good luck with the knitting - you can do it!!

  7. You are doing really well, that blanket looks way neat* - I continue to plod on with my knitting but have similar frustrations. Loving the idea of a yarn marker, I will definitely be doing that in future. Fee has tempted me with some quick result crotcheting at the weekend but I really want to persevere. I am going to have a look for a knitting class in Huddersfield after hearing of yours. My Mum is a great teacher but it sounds like a nice way to meet people with similar interests and will hopefully be another reason to keep doing it!
    Nelly xxx

    * as in 'tidy', not the slang for good from the 90's

  8. Hi Cuckoo, well done with the knitting. My Nanna, who was an expert knitter, taught me and once I made a baby jumper but I can't imagine managing that now.
    That group sounds like a fab place . Hope the seeds arrived OK. I've already scattered yours. THANKYOU :0)

  9. The little hats are lovely, your knitting looks really good to me. Since discovering crochet I have not gone back to two needles, although I look at other people's knitting and wish I was better to attempt to do something 'proper'. I have only this week come across the 'lifeline' on another person's blog, it is a brilliant idea so aslon as you move it, you know you won't have to go back too far. Happy Knitting!

  10. I thinks is great that you kept trying, I would have given up.

  11. Looks to me like you are doing really well with your knitting. The little innocent hats are lovely and your squares are perfectly made with a neat tension. You will be whizzing along with your needles before you know it and not even thinking about what you are doing. I'm liking the look of knitty gritty book.

    I would love some chickens..... I have a plan but it involves convincing Mr that it's a good idea. I'm working on it.

    Melanie xx

  12. OOOOoooh I'd not read this post until after I sent my email! Firstly I do so hope Mini is better now x I also apologise if I don't make much sense but I endured taking the Cupcakes to Chessington today so my mind is scrambled! I just love the colours of your 'nice' wool, they are gorgeous! The squares are looking pretty wicked too! Using the different coloured thread is such a bloody brilliant idea when knitting.....genius indeed :)

    Hope you enjoy some quiet time with the Cuckoo's this week :)

    Jo x x

  13. I know exactly how you feel about Knit Club!!!!!! Thanks as always for your kind words on my blog and for my link on here! Your hats and squares are fab - you are a knitter. Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday.
    Jo x

  14. Glad the yicks are all good. Hope Mini gets better soon. You're wrong Mr C would love that tie- any man would :)
    Also despite your warning at the beginning- this was not a dreary post at all- it made me smile or laugh several times!!
    Your little smoothie hats are just so cute, and high five for your tenacity in sticking with the knitting!

  15. Knitted tie? Genius!!!
    I'm temped to make a crocheted version and then tell the Mister it's the 'in thing' (like he'd know!) I'm thinking a pallatte of brown, orange and yellow for that seventies' vibe.
    Ha ha!
    Good on you for learning the knitty thing. Alas, crochet is the only yarny magic I can muster.
    Enjoy the rest of your week!

  16. Oh have just read through my comment and must apologise for spelling errors.
    Must put glass of wine down and concentrate more thoroughly.

  17. Your knitting looks pretty fine to me, mrs. I learnt to knit a long time ago and was pretty nifty at it but I think crochet is easier because you can't lose the lot if you go wrong and can't pick up stitches. (I can't, very well.) You will get it in the end, you're a dab hand at the crochet and sewing so it will all fall into place.
    I feel your pain with the mojo thing. Post holiday lethargy is my excuse along with being snowed under with washing that I can't do because I can't get it dry.
    And you thought your post was dreary...!!

  18. Wow, I have EXACTLY the same knitting problems as you and I have that book but *blush* haven't really done more than flick through it, I'll have to put it in my knitting bag.

    With the yarn marker do you use a yarn needle to thread it through the stitches on the needles?

    Sorry Mini is ill, sending him {{{{healing vibes}}}}, hope he is back to normal soon.

    Was it issue 3 of MM you weren't so thrilled with? I thought it might have gone off the boil when I got that one but it seems better again this month.

    S x

  19. Those squares you've knitted are really good so you're obviously doing something right. You'll get there in the end and will be knitting gorgeous socks before you know it - I'm sure it must be like crochet where everything suddenly just 'clicks'. I have to say that the mini bobble hats are wicked! So cute, love the pom poms. They remind me of the tennis socks I had when I was young. Ah.

    I am desperate to find a crochet club to go to. How did you find out about your knitting class?

    So lovely to have a blog update to read from you, I love hearing about your life - we are so the same but you're just better at everything than I am! You seem just as chirpy as normal but sorry to hear your mojo has done one.

    Hope Mini gets better soon, what's the matter with him? Poor little sausage.


    PS would LOVE to see your utility china in a post sometime...
    PPS will get the mortar looked at, thanks
    PPPS I need some fabric covered books, love that idea

    Oh, and laughing at the thought of your boys getting widdle happy. All in the name of protecting your chicks, love it.

  20. Sorry for the epic comment. Oops. Good job we don't chat on the phone, you'd never shut me up.

  21. What a brilliant post hon! First of all, I am truly jealous of your stunning wool. The colours are so serene and gorgeous. Good on you for learning to knit. I can only just manage it, but it requires me to have my tongue poking out in concentration which is not really a great look!!! So glad the Yicks are happy and settled. I bet the freedom to piddle is an absolute bonus for the kids - what a hoot. Have a fab week hon. L x

  22. Don't talk to me about mojo, perhaps mine is hiding with yours ;) Thank you so much for passing on genius girls frogging tip, how many times have i unpicked everything, now I don't have to any more yay. I think your knitting is beautiful by the way but "woe and tell" does make me giggle.
    Emma xxx

  23. Such a nice post...not dreary at all. Your squares & bobble hats are beautiful, Doesn't look like you struggle with knitting at all & you'll just get better.
    Glad all is well..except for poor
    Happy Knitting! xx

  24. I am one happy lady. Thank you so much for coming over to my neck of the woods because now I have seen your world and I see it is a big, beautiful, and hugely appealing place to be. I am hooked after just one visit.



  25. Hey, Mrs Cuckoo, you crafty goddess - you will crack the knitting mystery soon, I'm sure of it.
    Emily x
    PS - I learnt to knit when I was seven and it still defeats me! Dunce

  26. PS - have favicon envy. (Greeeeeeen) x

  27. Hello my good friend, thank you for mentioning me on your blog. You look like you have been very busy with your smoothie hats AND AND AND I love your blanket squares. Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday, you should come early one weekend and have your breakfast with me before the chaos starts. Suzie x

  28. Your knitting looks gorgeous. I can't knit and won't even try as I know I would be crap at it!
    Your little club looks great. I wish I had one. Where I live, some arts and crafts are stuck in the dark ages and a bit crap, but this looks cool and the lady in the lovely dress looks a right laugh!
    Enjoy your Mollie Makes. x

  29. Ummmm, sheepishness, shuffling feet, oh hello Cuckoo, thought I had already made a comment here, but nooooo. Mojo, I think mine is on the way back, it has been awol for a few weeks. You lucky, lucky girl...a knit club I want to go to a knit/crochet club, but I don't think it is 'cool' enough for us over 'ere, mores the pity. What is wrong with mini, poor little man, hope he is better now, cos it is a few days since your post writing.
    Your knitting is beautiful, very neat, think I have said this before, 'don't be so hard on yourself' you are doing a great job. I have gone mad on Apple cosies and have been asked to make some for friends, but...must....stop as I have vests to knit before a baby is born.
    Big squishy hugs x Sandi
    I'm sure Mr C would be very proud to wear a knitted tie :) Oh and love the Debbie Bliss and Suzies dress.

  30. hi cuckoo,well done with the knitting,I used to knit,not very good, but since learning crochet it feels so wierd ,knitting.I saw on a fellow blogger 'crafts from the cwtch' about a knitted hexie quilt and so want to give it a go ,I ve tried a few times this week and it just feels wierd! Lol about the doughnut,thats where I ve been going wrong then!chew & spit,must remember,lol.take care,hun & good luck with back to school,I too am dreading the routine & school runs,hate it and Im going to miss my big babies!love julie.xxxxxxx

  31. p.s . sorry cuckoo, hope little man gets well soon.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxjulie

  32. Ooooh, the trials and tribulations of learning how to knit.....sounds a bit like me but my enemy is crochet! I will conquer it one day! Have a happy weekend x

  33. The brilliant thing about crochet is that it is easier to undo! It still has its complications though, like where to put the stitch etc. Plus if like me you can't count at all both knitting and crochet can be tricky.

    Since I did lace knitting the best thing I learned was how to frog, as for every bit I knit I have to undo a third. I can frog really well now and really it is a useful skill which means you feel in charge of your own knitting. With lace you just have to make sure your yarn is in neural position after you undo a stitch as if you bring it round to the front or take it to the back when it shouldn't be, then you will end up making an extra stitch. As long as you have a stitch on the needle you can untwist it later if you need to. After a while you can see they don't look right and are twisted as your eyes get used to how they should look. As with everything practicing helps. Lifelines (putting the thread in a whole row) is good as then you can just rip out the stitches without taking them back one by one.

    The best way of learning I am finding is by doing. I have done quite a lot of crochet but I had not done granny squares. Just by doing a blanket and now a scarf I have learned to do the squares themselves, new ways of changing colour, plus join as you go, mattress stitch and whip stitch (I played to see which I liked best). If I like something, I give making it a go. Mostly, it works eventually. Sometimes there are tears and tantrums but eventually you get it and you know for next time. There are so many videos and tutorials out there too which I have used. It can be fun just watching other people knit - there are several different ways like English or continental styles (one you hold the yarn in your left hand and the other in your right). Sometimes I have to give up but not often and I do try before I give up. Having said that it's meant to be enjoyable and if it just isn't then I wouldn't do it. Many people find either crochet or knitting easier. I don't mind the techniques of knitting but the process behind it just eludes me, with crochet I just get the whole thing a bit more (but not much!)

    That book is a really good one. I would just make things gradually while taking the pressure off yourself. That is an intarsia square you have made - with the heart on, that's hard! You are doing great, your knitting looks lovely. I bet you could do a hat or wrist warmers easily! You don't have to know everything before you start. Just find out what new abbreviations mean, and if anything looks tricky have a little go first before you make the item itself. Most simple patterns will only have a couple of things at most that you won't have done before.

    Anyway, good luck and enjoy your knitting!

  34. Fabulous post! I, too, love crocheting, but took knitting class and found it SO CHALLENGING! I could not even knit a scarf. :(
    The only thing I mastered was a baby hat and booties. :)

    Thank you, too, for joining my art blog hop!
    I am your newest follower :)
    and wish you all the best!

  35. Now Cuckoo...before you get carried away with the pretty knitting there is a little matter of a helmet to make for the Mr!!!! xxx

  36. Hey Cuckoo! Am utterly loving that knitted tie - that and the expression on D's face when I wrap it up and give it to him for 'C word' is enough to encourage me to pick up some needles! I learnt the very basics when I was younger but, like you, my tension was always too tight. Loving crochet, the thought of TWO implements and hootlingly long ones at that, doesn't really appeal. Your little smoothies hats are so cute and look beautifully neat to me.

    Do hope mini is better soon. All is not well with the world when one of your babies is poorly, is it?

    Keep smiling lovely girl.


  37. Oh poor Mini. Hope he is now on the mend and your mojo is back with a vengeance.
    I NEVER got knitting. Mind you, I hardly get crochet!! Amazed you've picked up both with three small children in tow. Your time management is obviously far better than mine, hee hee!!!
    Can't wait to see you the beginning of October and perhaps we can get another date in after that to meet up again either at mine or yours.
    Speak soon love.
    x x


I L♡VE your comments. Thank you ever so for taking the time. I do try to get back to everyone but I am rather scatty and I have these 3 big distractions....(and I'm just generally a bit rubbish lately, so please don't feel obliged to leave a note) Sorry about the word verification too, too much spam.