I have spent a couple of enjoyable hours in the belief that if you carefully pin, tack, baste and then sew a number of strange and awkwardly shaped pieces of fake fur fabric together, you might just end up with something recognisable. Actually, by the …
For a couple of years now I have admired the animal-based patterns of Hansi Singh, and the book ‘Amigurumi Knits’ is one that I have almost bought about a hundred times, but never actually clicked the button to finalise the purchase. But the other day I thought I would treat myself, and on Thursday it was waiting for me at the Post Office.
And the book has arrived at a really good time. I have found it difficult to knit over the last few days, partly because I am tired and partly because my work has been really stressful recently, and I have returned home at the end of each day feeling unhappy and stressed. But the cheery quirkiness of Amigurumi Knits has provided me with at least some knitted entertainment over the last few days as I have flicked through the pages to enjoy the pictures, and eventually I found enough of my knitting mojo to cast on.
I have cast on the most often knitted pattern in the book – the Common Octopus, with no fewer than 1,300 projects logged on Ravelry. I always think that a good sign of a pattern designed to standards above fabulous as being when you look at the projects page for a pattern and every one looks fabulous, and this is one of those.
The pattern is well thought out and clearly written, with step by step guides to any unfamiliar techniques. Perhaps my favourite thing about the pattern so far is that the legs are knit lengthways, a detail that I love simply because they absolutely fly by – I finished all eight in the time it took to watch a movie.
These legs are currently just as knit. There is the option to leave them like this, unstructured and with a natural twist that brings them to life, or to use pipe-cleaners to give the legs some structure, so that the octopus can pose and grip onto items, which I think is something that I will do.
I’ll look forward to knitting the rest of this little guy and piecing him together, especially as I hope that it will bring my knitting mojo back for other projects.
A year and a half ago I was wandering around a bookstore when I picked up a book called ‘I Love Knitting’. I couldn’t tell you what made me pick it up, but I felt like I should buy it. On the way home from the bookstore I called into a general homewares shop that just happened to stock two sizes of grey powdered aluminium needles and three or four shades of acrylic with all of the tactile crunchiness of fresh cornflakes.
That evening I cast on for the first time and before even trying it decided that I did not like Garter Stitch. Even in the pages of the book garter stitch looked clumsy and childish next to the smooth, uniform fabric of stockinette stitch, or the interesting textures of the other simple stitches on display.
My very first piece of knitting wasn’t in garter stitch. In fact, my first ever attempt at actually knitting a few stitches was done in moss stitch, for some reason. I even have a picture to mark the occasion.
I couldn’t understand why anyone would enjoy the look of garter stitch – it looked so naÃ¯ve. Surely it was the stitch that people learned to ‘get used’ to the knit stitch before going on to learn properly, and which they then forgot about when they learned how to do the proper stitches?
This view seemed to reside in my subconscious for quite a long time, until one day I saw the most simple short scarf/cowl you might imagine. Made with chunky yarn and in simple, naÃ¯ve, beautiful garter stitch. Like paring a piece of furniture down to its most basic elements, this stitch achieved such a simplicity of design in this scarf because of its properties – edges that don’t curl, identical on each side, and a lovely thick, warm and stretchy resulting fabric.
I had a quick look around for small and quick pattern done in garter stitch and found the Knitted Kitty pattern.
(The kitten found the ball of Noro he was playing with to be rough and full of twigs)
I kept it to a small project because I wasn’t sure if the garter stitch, despite my new-found appreciation of its form, would keep my interest. I am only now attempting my first garter stitch project of any notable size, and just past the half-way point I can feel that I am starting to tire of the monotony just slightly, but I have an audiobook on the go to keep me occupied in a secondary way, and the constantly changing colours of the yarn I am using are at least providing an element of surprise eery few inches or so. Hopefully I shall be able to judge in a day or so whether the effect of the finished article was worth it.
Yarn: King Cole Big Value DK