Tuesday, June 11, 2013

WWKIP 2013 | guest blogger | bells knits

This is the week that knitters take to the streets, to create a spectacle and take part in World Wide Knit in Public Day (WWKIP). As well as hosting two WWKIP events this week, one in Canberra and the other in Sydney, I am honoured to be interviewing five wonderful ladies on my blog. Asking them about their knitting (or crochet) journey and all of their knitting secrets, including UFOs and stash size! 

So sit back, maybe with a cup of tea and enjoy today's guest blogger the inspirational bellsknits. Click on the 'read more' link below.

First up, do you knit or crochet or both?

I happily do both, with a heavy bias towards knitting. I was originally a crocheter but around 2003 I inexplicably dug out some knitting needles and a ball of Patons 8ply and made a hot water bottle cozy, dredging up long neglected knitting skills. I never looked back. Now I spend most of my time knitting cardigans, shawls and socks. 

Tell us about how old you were when you learnt and who taught you.

My mother is a knitter and thanks to her I knitted my first scarf for my dad at five or six. It was full of holes but he wore it on his frosty morning walk along the track to work in country Tasmania. I do remember feeling really proud. Then the mother of a school friend taught me to crochet when I was eight, just before we got on the boat to leave Tasmania. I fumbled my way through it on the boat and when we arrived in Melbourne, my partially blind great aunt took my crooked granny square and sorted me out. I loved it from the start.

Tell us about what project/(s) you have on the go right now.

I fight a losing battle to maintain something like project monogamy.  I do try and keep it to under five projects otherwise I feel overwhelmed. I need a sense of finishing things in order to feel like all that time and money I spend on knitting amounts to something. 

I have several projects on the go all for different moods and knitting opportunities – so at the moment I have a fair isle cardigan for me, a scarf for my husband, a cardigan for my niece and a huge Estonian lace shawl I’ve been working on sporadically for over a year. And I have about three things lined up I’m dying to start.

Tell us about the project that you hold most dear. 

When my niece Alice was born in 2009, I had all sorts of complicated feelings around the realisation that we were unable to have our own children. It was a difficult time. I’d sworn off baby knitting because it was just too painful for me when I wanted so much to have a baby of my own. But Alice came along and I was quickly falling in love with her. I knew I wanted to swallow that pain and make something special. When she was 8 weeks old I made the famous Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern, Baby Sweater on Two Needles, also known as the February Baby Sweater. I made it for her in ice blue Koigu which is one of my favourite sock yarns. 

I also made a matching hat and booties. People said I was mad for using precious Koigu on a newborn set but I felt really strongly that I wanted to make something special, even if it was only worn once. Thankfully, my sister made sure Alice got maximum wear out of it. Now it lives in the top drawer in her room as a reminder of her first handknit. It's a sentimental piece for all of us and now I knit for her constantly. It's a joy and she's of an age now where she requests knitwear and has input into the pattern and colour choices (mostly it's purple!).

We never stop learning or perfecting our craft. Tell me what is on your 'to learn or conquer' list.

I’m still never comfortable with short rows. I find it really hard to make the technique stick in my mind. That’s something I’d like to overcome – it would help me a lot with getting the fit of garments more accurate. I’d like to become more proficient and finishing – all those little details that really bring the hard work together. Those are the things on my wish list for technical improvement.

Just because we want to rid ourselves of some guilt…
How many UFOs have you got in your cupboard? 

Not too many, I’m glad to say. A crochet blanket I’m unlikely to ever finish and may repurpose the squares; a Shetland Tea shawl that just never spoke to me and will be ripped one of these days; a tunic for Alice that was never going to fit and has to be ripped. That’s it.

Could you open a yarn store with your stash?

No but I could have a pretty good market stall. It’s mostly all in 7l tubs in my spare room and my dream is to create some order, stashing by weight. I try to not go overboard buying any more but I do love being able to lift my mood by opening a box and rifling through it for delicious, smooshy treasures.

…and because we're curious
Are you a year round or seasonal knitter/crocheter?

Year round. Every day, seven days a week, anywhere, any time. I’ve probably had only a single day in the last year when I didn’t knit a stitch and it felt very odd.

Do you have a favourite fibre or yarn that you like to work with?

I’m particularly fond of alpaca. I used some Suri Alpaca I bought at the Murrumbateman Field Day last year that turned into a luxurious shawl. I’ve got wide ranging tastes though. I love everything from the good, basic yarns at Bendigo Woollen Mills to speciality sock yarns like Sundara or Wollmeise to delicate lace like Kid Silk Haze. I love it all. 

1 comment:

  1. Having followed bells blogging adventures for many years, I'm not really surprised by any of her answers - or that the last photo is of a photosynthesis shawl [ which she assures me is now her 'go-to' pattern ]
    Lovely to see/read the story behind Miss Alice's first outfit.


Thank you for taking the time to read my blog...I especially love it when I get comments. Have a great day, suzy xoxo


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