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Commitment and cables.

I’ve been a bit quiet of late. I have been doing some crochet but not very much just working on a granny square blanket and finishing up the little dark stars rainbow cardi (it’s been ongoing since the early this year!).

I have completed a big knit throw in cream, it was a present for a newly wed couple. I didn’t get a final snap before it was wrapped and gifted but I’ve asked if perhaps they will take a photo for me to pop on my Facebook page.
Here it is nearing completion.

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It is beautifully heavy and drapes really nicely. As usual excuse the poor picture quality (and the crayon on the wall “its ‘wainbows’ mummy!”) I don’t have a fancy camera I just use my ipod or ipad.

I confess I am feeling a little less productive than usual, I still have a million ideas and projects in my head but I’m really struggling to find/make time to work on anything very often. I still love and enjoy crochet immensely but it’s been a difficult time recently and that’s impacted on my ability to create anything.

I am a quarter of a way through a Big Knit throw for my living room sofa.
This is the casting on.

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I’m using many strands of DK instead of big yarn or fabric strips. It works really well but you have to be vigilant you always pick up all the strands as you are working.

My upper middle child was recently able to collect her finished exam pieces from Graphic Design GSCE. I absolutely adore them, not just because I like the actual final result but also because I know how very hard she worked preparing and practising her ideas for the final two day exam sessions. I’m very proud of her for her commitment, passion and creativity. I asked if she would mind letting me have them to frame and put on our wall above the settee. The throw is being made in colours that will compliment her work really well.

Whilst I have been working on my sofa throw she’s put in a request a for a bed runner for her newly decorated and refitted bedroom. I’ve got this idea in my mind I want to do a Big Knit throw in cables, her ideas for the colour work to match her new room and my urge to make a cabled throw seem like a really promising combination except……. My knitting is really basic and I don’t know how to cable.

Enter my marvellous knitting nan!

We’ve been trying to schedule a visit for ages now but first she was unwell, then I had commitments, then she was unwell again and finally this weekend we managed our weekend together.

We had discussed a visit to a new yarn shop for supplies so she can knit me a new cardigan and for her to teach me how to cable so I could make the new throw.

I’m glad despite my challenging week I kept to my commitment to have her come and stay because despite it being hard work we had a really lovely day on the Sunday (huge lovages for my wonderful Husband for helping facilitate that by taking care of cooking us all a wonderful stew so I got to spend lots of time with Nan instead of the pots and pans!).

Nan completed all the seaming of a sweater she started knitting for The Little Dark Star last time she came to stay. Its taken her a while as her 80 something year old hands sometimes don’t want to comply anymore and she can only knit as and when she feels up to it.

It was a lovely moment, her finishing up the last of the sewing and then seeing the excited toddler trying it on straight away and saying how it will be “warm for the garden” and “Thank you Nanny for my jumper” I know we made a lovely memory there for us both to enjoy.

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With the sweater done Nan set about teaching me to cable. We sat hip to hip on the sofa whilst she showed me what to do, then watched as I attempted it myself. Proud to say I picked it up fairly quickly but we had a lot of lovely giggles over my mistakes (how can a person suddenly forget how to cast on? Or do a whole row of knit instead of purl?).

Here’s a little line of cable I’ve made.

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My Nan comes originally from Germany so when she knits she hold her yarn in her left hand (like crocheters do) and kind of picks it up with the right needle, whereas I knit “English style” which means I hold the yarn over on the right and wind it around for each stitch. I’ve been fascinated by her way for a long time, it looks less of a big production, faster and more like what I’m doing when I crochet so I asked her if she would mind showing me how to do it German or ‘Continental’ style. She was really chuffed I asked and was incredibly patient with helping me work it out. I kept doing my yarn overs the wrong way round, which is what most people I have taught to crochet always do when very first learning the basics. I cracked it before she left and I have to say I really love the new way of doing it. My tension is much neater but it does make my hands ache more than my usual knitting style. Nan assures me as I find my own rhythm and my muscles get used to it the ache will subside. I wish someone had taken a photo of us sat there with each other and her patiently teaching me. I’d have treasured it forever.

I think most rewarding thing is hearing Nan say how chuffed she is that “someone will be knitting like me now even after I’ve gone” I think we both sensed we had made a special kind of connection that will last long beyond the immediate moment. I know every time I knit that way I will be thinking of my Nan. Not just our recent weekend together, I shall be thinking about the mountains of knitted things she has made for me and my brood that have been made with her Continental method of working. From now on as I make things using the same technique she does, my hands will be mimicking hers and she will be part of it. If anyone notices my method and asks about it I will talk about her teaching me.

Now both my grandmothers have given me a tangible skill and memory I can invoke each time I pick up a hook or knitting needles.

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