|Me knitting on the train. My son who took this says it it is deliberately headless as the look of concentration on my face when I knit is never pretty.|
It's a rare week when I don't knit something. I'd love to knit every day but the pressures of the day job prevent this at certain times of the year.
Knitting is a hobby with relatively low overheads. All you really need is needles, something vaguely string-like to knit with and a couple of simple tools.
So here's a guide to the knitter's tool of the trade and a sneak peek at the way knitting has slightly invaded my house. I think I have my hobby contained but taking these photos made me realise how it is infiltrating almost every room in my house.
These come in a great variety of sizes, style and materials. Knitting needles are commonly made of metal (either steel or aluminium), plastic, bamboo or wood. Antique knitting needles were made of bone, ivory and tortoiseshell. In Australia, needles are now metrically sized in mm. However, we used to use the old UK sizing and America used a different labelling system again. Here's a handy needle conversion chart if you're are like me and have a mix of old and new needles. I have been collecting for about 30 years with hand-me down needles from a grandmother, mother, assorted aunties and a cousin. These days I rehabilitate lonely old knitting needles (mainly sets of sock needles and veteran plastic needles especially faux tortoiseshell) from op shops. I'm personally a fan of metal needles. There are straight needles, sets of double pointed needles (dpns) for knitting in the round and circular needles. There are even a few cable needles and crochet hooks here. A common question for the beginning knitter is "How do I chose the right knitting needle?" For a useful guide with pictures start here. So here's the needle collection. I also have some more bamboo ones which were hiding somewhere obscure.
|These are the antique plastic ones. My menfolk bought me most of the faux tortoiseshell ones. They know the way to my heart.|
Then you need yarn. Yarn is the generic American term for any spun fibre. It can be acrylic, viscose (high class acrylic), silk, wool, alpaca, mohair, cashmere, cotton, linen, bamboo, hemp, mink, bison or even soy silk, banana fibre or milk protein. Once you have sufficient yarn it breeds into a peculiar beast known as the stash. My stash has been fed by cast-offs from the wider family and I'm currently wrestling with getting it down to manageable proportions. The stash has it own baskets where the most recent additions live for ease of petting. After all wool is made to fondle. Those white balls on the top for example are cashmere and waiting to become a future cable beanie. It's like petting a furry bunny.The larger stash has its own cupboard where it is is confined into nifty plastic containers and colour coded.
You only really need a a few simple tools. Scissors, a tape measure, wool needles for sewing up and some stitch holders (They're the giant safety pin like things). A needle gauge is handy for working out what size the odd needles are.
Any knitter needs inspiration and instructions. So this is the excuse to buy books and magazines and patterns. This is where space can really become an issue. Here's a small selection of my bookshelves. The one below is in my bedroom and is an interesting mix of knitting books, kits and textbooks (mainly maths ones).
Granny wants a Latte Macchiato granny rug in progress, a bag full of squares and the wool.