Over the last couple of weeks, I been exploring new fabric and practicing knitting and purling stitches on wash clothes and coasters. Each one of the pieces here has a mistake that I have learned from as I have ventured into this new skill. I thought to share the mistakes and think about how they can be turned into opportunities. I also want to encourage other artists and art teachers to share their work in progress.
The small blue coaster pattern and the blue wash cloth comes from the book “Learning to Knit” by Leisure Arts. I washed the Sugar & Cream yarn in a linen bag before knitting with soap and fabric softener as advised by a friend. It made it more pliable. With both the coaster and the wash cloth I learned I need to watch how I am picking up and dropping stitches. One has a hole and one has a “fishtail” from accidentally adding stitches. I made both of these with Sugar & Cream blue yarn and a number 10 needle. I really like with bamboo and birchwood needles. In my opinion, they are easier to handle as I like the texture and the materials does not slide off.
From the green and multi-colored swatch I learned I have to be patient with the purl stitch. I have to watch the wash instructions more carefully. The green wash cloth is made of a washable wool and the multicolored is made from acrylic. I washed both in a linen bag on a delicate setting. I should have put them in with more delicate items than towels. Both of the pieces are distorted. I am also starting to prefer cotton and wool fabrics to the 100 % acrylics. The multicolored acrylic was very scratchy, the cotton was felt like a pair of worn jeans, and the wool blend was very soft like fur.
I will continue to explore and learn how to turn my mistakes into opportunities. Knitting is not like my other favorite hobby photography were I know how to fix the little mistakes. From what I have read so far about fixing issues you are going to have to unravel or start over. When I started with photography 20 years ago It was the same, no photoshop, just back into the darkroom to start over.
As a beginner, I am curious about different needles yarn and resources that are available to to learn to knit. As an art teacher I like to be able to answer my students questions of why and how. For my next project, I went to Crazy for Ewe Yarn in Leonardtown to the “Fast and Fabulous” class with my Mom. The project for the day was a cowl made with Manos yarn from Uruguay. Manos is a non-profit organization that was created in 1968 to provide with jobs to the rural women in their hometowns. The yarn is hand spin and hand dyed. It was beautiful. It retails for about $30 a skien. I cast on 24 stitches and used Brittany needle that was 6.5mm. The Brittany needle is from ethically sourced wood. It is easy to handle and smooth to the touch. The needles will be replaced if they break with in 5 years of purchase. I got started on the project in the shop but ended up taking it home. It ended up taking me several hours at home. I am slow but getting better. The width of the cowl ended up being much thinner than the 24 stitches I used with the Loins Brand thick and quick. (See second Photo in the slide show). I returned to Ellen the owner of Crazy for Ewe yarn for a critique of the cowl and a private lesson on how to bind it off. I watched a few videos but was a little nervous about getting it right after investing time in this project. She is knowledgeable and patient. My cowl became a short scarf one end is wider than the other not allowing for it to be sewn together. I need to work on not picking up and dropping stitches plus, tensioning the yarn consistently. Ellen advised I practice the purl stitch next so that is what I will be working on next.