Extreme Knitting Part One

Have you ever knitted on oversized needles?  What are the largest knitting needles you own?  Looking through my stash, my largest are 1cm in diameter.  I can’t imagine a yarn chunky enough to knit with them.

But, durrr!  Use more than one strand then!  Why didn’t I think of this before?  OK then, here’s 7 strands of DK yarn on my 1cm needles:

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After a big of googling around, I realised I was dipping my toe into the phenomenon which is called ‘extreme knitting’ – using multi-strands of yarn on huge needles. There has even been a world record attempt by Rachel John, who managed to knit with 1000 strands.  It’s extreme all right!  Check it out.

Inspired, I set about finding the largest possible knitting needles.  Good old ebay came up trumps again, and I got hold of these hand-turned 2.5cm babies:

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I placed one of my favourite No 10 (3.25mm, US no 3) needles alongside to show just how much bigger they are.  Radical!

With great excitement I set about selecting suitably contrasting yarns out of my stash to pull together into one giant strand.  Twenty strands was about right, and I knitted this:

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I cast on 10 stitches and worked 10 rows in garter stitch.  My sample measures 23 x 15 cm.  That is not a lot of knitting for a piece of fabric that size.  And this is the easiest, most basic stitch.  Nothing fancy required.  So to say that it ‘grows quickly’, would be right.

But, the huge needles and 20 balls of yarn were tricky to handle.  At first, the balls of yarn were flying all over the place attracting my overgrown kittens to come and play.  It was like an extreme version of the black kitten in Alice Through the Looking Glass.  So I tipped all their toys out of their toy box to distract them, and quickly threw all the yarn into the box.  That made it a lot easier.  I had to make sure that I kept all the strands even.  Grappling with the massive needles required some muscle.  It was hardly a delicate and feminine activity.  In fact, this could be knitting for blokes.

The finished fabric is wonderfully thick and soft.  I am using it as a back rest on my rocking chair.  I love how the yarn ends make an instant tassel.  I also love how the different colours can produce different effects. Lots of potential here.  My kitchen chairs need new cushions.

Time to go and buy extreme amounts of yarn…..

Till next time,

L x

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Creative Space

To be creative, you need the time, space and inspiration to express yourself in your chosen medium.  If you are trying to create around a full time job and other commitments, that time and space are all the more precious.  I am loving my new workroom!

Due to a massive re-organisation of stuff upstairs, I now have a whole room for my creative space.  You don’t really need a lot of room to knit in, but it makes a difference when you are surrounded by the yarn and objects of your choice, rather than someone else’s gear relating to their project.  This room was previously a music studio, but that has gradually been moved downstairs.  A few bulky bits of gear were left, but after nearly 2 years of no use at all, we decided to clear it all out.  OH built me a worktable using the leftover piece of beech kitchen worktop and beeswaxed the surface.  I re-organised my yarn stash and gathered all my knitting books and resources together on the shelves.  It’s a fantastic hangout for me and the lads, when music stuff is happening downstairs.

Workroom Larry

From my chair I can see every ball of yarn in the stash.  Which tells me that I’m going to need more shelves.

I also have space for my spinning wheel.  I haven’t learned how to spin yet, and my wheel needs some attention, but for now it’s a beautiful and inspirational object and I love it.

Spinning Wheel

The stand next to it is a 1930’s cake stand.  I can just imagine it loaded with cakes, and the waitress in a frilly apron….  So where better to keep my knitted cake samples, in cake tins, on the cake stand.

Having said that, I feel that I’ve ‘done’ cakes, and it’s time I moved on.  I have a few ideas in the pipeline, but creative decisions take me a long time.  Hopefully my new creative space will help me to get moving.

Till next time,

L x