Reasons to be cheerful, part 3 (still not knitting…)

But I have been sewing up!

It’s been a long process, given that on a good day I could manage to knit about eight rows… and it’s not even for me.

(Oh, apologies for the appearance of such decorative details as light switches and door handles in some of the photos by the way – I had to take them quickly. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.)

Months and months ago, in the brief gap between a steroid injection at the base of one finger working and both thumbs giving way, I was in the fabulous Stash near Chester with a friend. She’s not a knitter, but we’d made a rare and exciting weekday shopping expedition to the hive of scum and villainy that is Chester (think Mos Eisley but with knitting shops – or at least it is Mos Eisley when you live in the wilds of Snowdonia), and I insisted we popped in. While we were there she fell in love. It’s the only possible description – she pounced on a sample garment, tried it on and almost had to have it surgically removed so we could leave without being arrested.

What could I do?

The obvious – I offered to knit it for her.

It’s Pipkin by Jane Ellison, knitted in Noro Blossom. Happily, because there was that sample garment, I was able to note the sort of adjustments my friend wanted – slightly longer body, longer sleeves, the right size (some people are just plain picky) – and, even more happily, Stash had some Blossom on sale.

It did have to mature in the stash pile for a bit – all yarns do, it’s a house rule – and then my thumbs really gave out. However, I was able to very, very slooooowly knit a shawl, and that gave me confidence. (Also the guilt got too much for me; it was rather like having my mother lurking in the stash going ‘fine friend you are, you said you’d do it…’ because every time I went into what I laughingly refer to as the spare room the bag of Noro fell off the top of the stash basket and the skeins tumbled out.)

So I hauled it downstairs.

Now most needle sizes are uncomfortable at the moment, except 4.5mm, 5 and 5.5, but luckily this fitted into my comfort zone so I was able to quiet the persistent Celtic/Jewish mother (they’re interchangeable, honest) that is my stash basket. And it wasn’t the easiest yarn to knit with, even had my hands been flexible, fully mobile and with opposable thumbs that actually functioned as opposable.

But the colours were glorious, and when knitting is problematic and painful when you do too much, happy and vibrant colour goes a long way to helping with the process. I enjoyed the colours so much that I never minded picking it up, and I found it hard to put down even though I knew I had to set it aside. Finishing the back – I always start with the biggest piece – was a major achievement. The fronts seemed to grow quite quickly by comparison.

Then I hit the sleeves. Oh, boy. One of the changes I needed to make was adding some shaping here (in the original, they’re short tubes – elbow length. S wanted longer sleeves, so I had to add some shaping: easy peasy, lemon cheesy. Except I ground to a halt for a couple of weeks, and I’ve no idea why. When I finally picked them up, they also grew quite fast – well, in weeks, that is, whereas before I could knock off a couple of sleeves in (maybe) three evenings.

And it did mean I had something I could take to our Knit and Natter, instead of sitting about watching everyone else producing fabulous garments. Admittedly the general opinion of the nattering knitterers was that this jacket would be better with the knit side outwards (it’s in reverse stocking stitch), and I did have a hiccup along those lines when I started sewing it together, but I was able to undo it without too much trouble and put it back the right way round. Purl side out it was and remains, and I think it works much better that way.

But the thing I’m most pleased about (apart from the fact that I just made it with the yarn – had to do some sewing up with a little bit of leftover Noro Kureyon), is the buttons.

They’re just ordinary two-hole fisheye buttons, but I managed to find four colours that worked with the yarn (thank you, Abakhan at Mostyn). So purples at the top and bottom, red in the middle and a blue and a green in between – and I’m absurdly pleased with it.

So – phew – is my friend. I gave it to her yesterday, when we went to Chester again (shoes, yay!), and she started patting and fondling it before we hit the shops. And she likes what she calls the ‘bobbly side’ outwards, too. What a relief. And if anyone is going to the rugby in Cardiff next weekend and sees a woman wearing something that looks as though it might be this, then it is. It’s being taken on an outing as justification for not wearing a rubbery dragon outfit.

And now my next knitting is for me.


18 thoughts on “Reasons to be cheerful, part 3 (still not knitting…)

    1. kate Post author

      Thanks – I do love Noro’s colours… sigh. Friend very nearly didn’t get it – only the fact that we’re not the same size ensured delivery!

  1. islandthreads

    I second the comment above, it’s soooo beautiful, love the multi colour buttons, you are wonderful to work so hard, take care of those hands though, Frances

    1. kate Post author

      Thanks – I think the buttons made it, really – they just give it a lift. Well, not that Noro really needs a lift, ho ho!

    1. kate Post author

      Thank you – and I wish there was some sort of ‘feel-it’ technology because it feels scrummy too (now there’s a thought – eeeyuwk, can you imagine some of the uses that could be put to? no, perhaps I don’t wish there was, ergh) because it’s a mix of kid mohair and silk and wool… and it’s not mine. It’s not mine. Maybe I could sweaternap it back?

      1. randipants

        Just be sure to talk about how cold you are every time you’re at her house and maybe you can at least grab a little quality time with it now and then.

        1. kate Post author

          Heh heh – suspect, though, she’d be more likely to offer me a dog to keep me warm. Or a cat… maybe I can fiddle with her heating so she doesn’t think she needs it any more? Maybe she’s reading this……….. agh……

        2. randipants

          Maybe you could secretly dye her dog to match the yarn, then she might be confused and you’d have a 50-50 shot she’d hand you the sweater instead of the dog. Maybe this isn’t the best plan.

        3. kate Post author

          Oh, I don’t know….

          Maybe I do. Saw the sweather-owner plus dog yesterday, mind, and I don’t think dog would cooperate (it’s a young collie). There was no sign of the sweater in its owner’s flat, so she’s probably anticipating such a move and has wisely hidden it…

    1. kate Post author

      Thank you – but I’ve been thinkling uncharitable thoughts, about how I might have to ‘borrow’ it back to wash it properly – yeah, right – then accidentally shrink it a bit and … I’m just going to have to knit myself one.

  2. heikeknits

    Kate it’s stunning!!! Blossom…oh lovely Blossom…one of my favourite yarns! What a fab friend you are and I hope you can knit something lovely for yourself really soon. 🙂

    1. kate Post author

      Isn’t it lovely yarn? I wasn’t really into Noro – except Kureyon, for felting – but I can feel myself converting…

  3. Annie

    Wearing a hand knit so you don’t have to wear a rubber dragon suit has to be one of the best reasons ever for doing so!

    Really chuffed for you that you are least managing to knit a bit xxx

    1. kate Post author

      (I don’t know, I think rubber dragon suits have a lot going for them! Irritatingly, it looks as though my op may coincide with the France game which, as a demi-Frog living in Wales, I regard as utterly tragic. Hopefully there’ll be delays…)

      Grr… I got a bit overambitious with the knitting as a result and have to be rescued by the Knitting Natterers tonight. Really can’t use smaller needles. Never mind, end is in sight.

  4. Lindsay

    oh, I would have been entirely smitten by the sample jacket but I really like the reverse side out and the colours are just glorious…but to have to give it away…nooooo, i don’t think so

    1. kate Post author

      It was haaaaaarrrrdddddd…. Just as well we’re different sizes. But not that much; I’m sure it would fit if I just washed it a bit hot… NO!


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