Knitting talk

Not interested in knitting? Scan on through this meaty post then... You're supposed to blog each day answering each of the questions in turn for 30 days but I haven't time for that so I'll do it now! Questions and idea from the hero complex via Helenknitsuk (a Ravelry contact who knits amazing blankets).

What was your first finished project? 
It was a scarf for Rich that I knit with dk yarn on ridiculously thin needles, totally wrong for the yarn weight so it took ages to grow and it was stiff and starchy - too short to boot!

What is currently on your needles?
A cardigan (Ursula by Kate Davies) and a tunic dress version of Kate Davies's Scatness Tunic cardigan. 

Do you have any other WIPs (works in progress)?
Not at the moment - I don't even like having two WIPs, I prefer to have one only, I can never focus properly when I'm working on multiple projects...

How did you learn how to knit?
My mum taught me when I was about 6. I was given a little knitting kit by Father Christmas, I remember it had red plastic needles and green wool. I can remember knitting in the car & pulling in to our street.

How long did it take from the time your learned how to knit, to finish your first project?
What, from when I first learnt? Ha, probably about 19 years! But from cast on date, probably about 6 months.
What is your favourite piece that you’ve knit?
The Betty Mouat dress, it is perfection
Your least favourite?
I've had so many it's hard to choose. I remember a hat by Ysolda that didn't work for me, it kept popping off my head because I'd knit it too small!
What’s your most challenging project?
The Betty Mouat dress!
What fibre or yarn do you love working with?
Wool is a real favourite but I also love alpaca bend yarns, they're so soft! My favourite yarn at at the moment is Shetland Spindrift by Jamieson's of Shetland.
Do you have a favourite pattern or designer?
I've been a fan of Kate Davies for years, she's a fascinating (& funny - ha ha, not weird) woman who writes a brilliant blog. She has such an original way of approaching the whole pattern writing thing "her patterns contain a wealth of historical knowledge and techniques of knitting".*
Her background is in academia, she was a lecturer in (something quite particular and clever to do with women in the eighteenth century...) for years until she had a very serious stroke and was unable to work, in fact her whole life changed. Her blog then focused on her slow recovery, she was so honest and brave (and never self-pitying) and as she recovered she started to design more patterns (she had designed several popular patterns before her stroke). I learnt an awful lot about strokes through reading Kate's blog. I had no idea of the catastrophic effect a stroke can have and how long they take to recover from.

*Great British Yarns

Do you have a “Knitter Hero” or someone that is just way too awesome for their own good? Do share!
See above. K.D. is the only hero!
Where do you keep your stash? Post pictures!
I'm not going to fanny about with pictures. It's all stuffed away in Laura Ashley boxes, Maureen's lovely old wicker work basket (Rich's Grandma) and an old enamel bread bin! I love opening the boxes up and finding something I'd forgotten and just looking at and touching the yarn. That sounds very weird but it's fun to plan projects and look at yarn.
Do you have yarn that you love but can’t find a project for?
Yes! I have this wonderful discontinued Rowan yarn, Soft Lux. It has a metal thread running through it and a tiny bit of angora blended in too. Very soft, hopefully the angora came from happy rabbits... 

What’s the worst yarn/fibre that you’ve worked with and why?
I'm not super keen on working with 100% acrylic yarn or superwash wool, it can be a little sweaty for my hands. Or should I say, it makes my hands sweaty? Either way... It's great for gift knits though, that way the recipient can bung it in the washing machine - excellent for non-knitters.
What was your least favourite pattern and why?
I hate anything top-down, I don't like the way my stitches look as though they're upside down. I've started a few top-down cardigans and dresses and I always end up unravelling them as they annoy me.

Have you ever had a knitting related injury?
Only wrist strains from knitting too much - interestingly both times I was knitting with acrylic yarn. Annoying because they stop me knitting and if I'm knitting that hard I strain my wrist then I've probably got a gift deadline!

Have you ever had a project that you loved become ruined? What’s the story behind it? 
My first perfect cardigan which was knit in a teddy-bear shade of Rowan's discontinued Soft Lux, it was such a lovely garment... I put it in the washing machine! I didn't understand about felting but I did after that episode.

Do you knit English or Continental?
I knit a Georgie-style English, I don't loop my working yarn over any of my fingers, I have an annoying pick-up/drop way of throwing the yarn. I have thought about learning to knit 'properly' but can never be bothered to do it - I knit fairly slowly but I'm happy as I do it.

Do you watch films and/or listen to podcasts while knitting? What are your favourite things to knit to?
I like to knit in bed at the end of the day while I listen to The World Tonight on Radio 4. I love to knit and watch films and TV programmes too, Rich and I are currently watching Breaking Bad and I'm still not sure if I like it but it'll be over soon (we're just starting season 4).
Do you knit in public? Was anyone offended/incredibly happy/curious that you were doing so?
People are always happy to see me knitting and generally always comment on it. People like to tell me of the things they used to make when they knitted.
I try not to knit in inappropriate places although I'd dearly love to be able to - wedding services and wakes are the best examples. I just like to knit as I sit and chat, I can knit and look at people so I don't see the problem, it's perfectly social! And when I say I'd dearly love to be able to knit in these sorts of settings I'm not lying, I have a real compulsion to knit and get annoyed that I've missed out on knitting time.

Do you knit gifts for friends and family for the holidays or birthdays?
Occasionally, I'm not crazy for gift knitting though. 
Have you ever stricken someone off your to-knit-for list because they didn’t appreciate/take care of your last knitted gift to them?

If you had the supplies (and patience) for it, what project would you start today?
I'd love to get cracking on my fair isle dress but I have to finish a couple of other things first. Plus, that will be a fun project for when it turns colder.

Have you ever made your own pattern or dyed your own yarn? How did it turn out?
I made my own pattern once, it turned out OK, could have been worse. It was a little shrug and I wore it a few times! I can't be arsed with yarn-dyeing or spinning, I'll leave that to the experts!

Do you have a knitting book or a place where you keep patterns, ideas, size measurements? Post a picture of it!
No pictures, I just have a few scrappy books. I did buy a special knitting book from True Brit Knits though - it has the plans for a cardigan and for my fair isle dress in it so far.
Have you ever been a part, or wanted to be a part of a knit-a-long? What was it? If not, why?
I've done a few on Ravelry, they're a fun way to stay motivated through the knitting of a pattern. I like the forums on Ravelry... Funnily enough, that's how my Betty Mouat dress came about as there was a Betty Mouat KAL in March this year.
How do you acquire most of yarn? Online retailers, local yarn shops, swaps, or large chain craft stores? What’s your favourite?
Generally online as its easier, Jamieson's of Shetland and Jamieson & Smith are favourites.
Do you do any other crafts besides knitting? What are they, and did learning to knit come before or after learning these other crafts?
No other crafts, unless you count painting but I count that as my job.
Do you have any tips, or things that you’ve learned from knitting?
Just check your numbers. If I was a better knitter I would tell you to swatch but I don't swatch, I can't be bothered, I'd rather chance it & start with a sleeve. I knit by eye a lot of the time these days and can see when something's off and won't fit me. To be fair, I made a lot of mistakes over the years but I don't care, I still prefer not to swatch. 

What’s your name on Ravelry? If you don’t have a Ravelry account, why?
It's very original, it's georgievinsun! I absolutely love Ravelry...

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