30 May 2011

Knitting Pretty

One day a very talented woman posted a picture of her latest quilt on her blog.  I commented that I liked the backing fabric and even though I'd never met her and she didn't know me from adam, she quick as a flash emailed me and offered to send me the remaining fabric, just like that, for nothing!  I was extremely touched.
It arrived whilst I was re-establishing my intermittent knitting identity.  Though I've not knit a great deal I have managed to acquire quite a number of needles, which loll about in an old plastic nappy bucket filled with yarns and stitch holders and such.  They get tangled up in wool, one of a set of double pointed needles invariably goes missing, and they are far too accessible to small hands in which they become eye gougers and tongue pokers.

A solution was required and this piece of groovy fabric, once a doona cover, then an op-shop find, then a cast off from a quilt, now became a needle roll.

Whilst I do not consider myself a stupid person, I have an infinite capacity to fail to learn particular lessons. One of those lessons is about handwashing knits, and another is that taking short cuts in sewing is very rarely time saving. The particular short cuts I am always tempted by are: failing to measure things properly (or at all); and trying to get away without changing the colour of thread in my machine.

I decided I'd use one of the (many) nifty functions on my machine and stitch numbers corresponding to the knitting needle sizes. Because I couldn't be bothered changing the thread and was using white, I decided to sew the numbers on a bit of old red bias binding so they would show up. This worked okay, except that, because I had failed to measure the thing very well, the ribbon ended up longer than the internal dimensions of the roll, necessitating a number of nips and tucks in the ribbon, to decrease the size between the numbers, all of which took about 400% longer than changing the thread would have.

And my failure to measure the thing meant that the space left for the 12mm needles is too tight a squeeze and I have to store one in the 11mm space. Luckily I don't have any 11mm needles.

I reckon what would have been a very quick project if I'd sat down, thought it through, taken some measurements and done it properly, ended up being a night's work, with a reasonable amount of frustration along the way, and a not particularly professional result. Still, the fabric is so cool it makes up for the sewing deficiencies. I'm not giving it to anyone as a gift (though I frankly hang my head in shame at the thought of some of my early sewing efforts that did end up as gifts - sorry about the lining on that proto-type bag, Nik). And afterall it is just something practical thing to keep my needles in.

There is something about the satisfying heft of the thing, full of needles, rolled up and tied with that sturdy black banding (and yes, I sewed it on with the white thread...) that pleases me rather a lot.


  1. That first thing you never learn? - I finally had that one banged into me by guilt when I 'felted' two of my son's beautiful hand-knitted jumpers (head is now hanging in shame - I sincerely hope my sister-in-laws mother never ever asks me about that.) That second one - nope, I aint learned that one yet either!

    I love what you made. Especially the numbers and that fab stitching around them. Love that you got gifted the material too.

  2. That needle roll is beautiful. And Shannon is so generous isn't she? I once commented on how awesome her 'eye chart' tea towels were and she sent me one for free. Plus she's now ignoring all requests for her address so I can send something in return for her new babe.

  3. Ah hah, I have her address (or at least I think I do, it was on the return address on the package and I've sent something to it and it wasn't returned to me so....safe to assume?) I'll email it to you.