Knitting is a lot of fun for me, but it hasn’t always been easy. There have been some disasters and immense frustrations, many dropped stitches and some fierce tantrums, but now that I’ve been knitting for more than 10 years I feel that knitting and I have finally reached détente.
Here are nine knitting projects I’ve completed over the last few years that have helped me come to respect this complex yet cuddly art form.
My earliest projects were all scarves. Scarves really are a good knitting project to start with, long straight creations where you don’t need to remember how many rows you’ve done and if you drop a stitch, it’s not the end of the world. However, they can be pretty dull to knit, especially if you’re using one colour and a simple pattern.
My early scarves included a football scarf and lengthy Tom Baker-era Doctor Who scarf. I also knitted my sister a Gryffindor scarf.
2. Wild animals
I was introduced to Sarah Keen’s amazing designs through her book Knitted Wild Animals. I had a lot of fun with these, and I knitted a monkey, tiger and elephant from the book.
As shown by my dedication in completing a massive Doctor Who scarf, I’m a bit of a fan. So when I found this pattern for a knitted Dalek, I had no choice but to try it.
4. Noah’s Ark
My favourite knitting projects are, without doubt, small colourful toys. I’ve recently discovered there is a name for this – Amigurumi. Amigurumi is “the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small, usually cute stuffed animals and anthropomorphic creatures”.
I received an email from the Book Depository one day for “Geeky knits” – they knew me too well. One of the books was Knitted Noah’s Ark by Sarah Keen. I adore these patterns. I haven’t knitted two of each animal, but I’m sure I will one day.
This was my first pattern that I designed myself. It was for a competition to knit a portrait, and it is a miniature knitted version of my partner’s sister’s kelpie. I based it on the zebra in the Sarah Keen Noah’s Ark book, and I was amazed when it actually worked out. I gave it to my partner’s sister and her husband as a wedding present.
6. Baby clothes
I received the DK Big Book of Knitting for Christmas and I’ve made heaps of projects from its pages. Many of my friends have had babies over the past few years, so I had a lot of fun making booties, mittens and tiny beanies. I’ve no idea how long they would have actually fit a baby, but they’re fun to make.
My arch-knitting-nemesis is gloves. I have tried so many times and given up so many times while knitting gloves that I nearly gave up completely. I still haven’t managed to knit fingerless gloves, but I finally managed to produce some that worked and fit from the DK book. I’ve also knitted a snood and beanie from this book.
Also from the DK book, I tried my first large clothing project – a cardigan. It never really worked due to my errors and doesn’t really fit but it’s warm and is perfectly fine to wear around the house.
I did succeed with a long-line tunic, which I love but I’ve worried I’m wearing it too much, as it’s starting to pill.
For my birthday this year I received a bunch of knitting and sewing books from my family. My favourite is Mini Knitted Toys by Sachiyo Ishii. This is an absolutely adorable book. My first project was to knit ALL the dinosaurs. My fiancé said I needed a T-Rex as well, so I designed my own. He looks pretty ferocious.