Tuesday, 23 September 2008

A Bit Woolly

Well, today I set off for my new course starting at 10am, armed with the bag I made yesterday.   With its contents revealed, I think you'll know what I was doing...

Yes, knitting and crochet! This seemed like a natural step for someone who loves crafty things and seems to collect knitted "people", tea cosies, blankets etc. I tried to get on the course last year but had left it too late and it was fully booked by the time I got round to applying. Well, this year there was none of that and I was on the 'phone the day the applications opened! That was a couple of months ago and I've waited very patiently for today to come. I even managed to wait until last Friday before raiding John Lewis for wool and a few essential supplies.

We were a group of about 12 people. Some of my fellow classmates has attended the earlier course and so were not absolute beginners. The consensus amongst the rest was that we'd like to try crochet so that's what we started doing. Perhaps we shall move onto knitting at a later date. It took me a while to master the first chain but I soon had it sorted thanks to our cat sitter who, bizarrely enough, also happened to be taking the course. Funnily enough, she didn't even recognise me without a ginger or black furball attached! She'd done crochet before so she helped me out. Unfortunately, my enthusiasm could not make up for the fact that I found it very difficult to hold the crochet hook and feed the wool through because I have arthritis in my hands. I've practised quite a bit today and although I know what I am meant to be doing, it's very slow progress and I'm not sure I'm going to be able to make it work because I have to keep stopping every thirty seconds and rewind the wool through my fingers. Ah well, I guess some things are not meant to be. My little chain might be the furthest I get...

I've spent the rest of the afternoon fiddling with all things knit and crochet related. I've built up a little stash of vintage pattern books which are so bright and colourful, it cheered me up just looking at them.

There are some fab projects inside. Lots of which seem to centre around tea cosies. Whatever happened to the tea cosy?

The Munchkin was more interested in this...

Surely no self-respecting HenHouse should be without one of these...

Well, if I don't master the art of crochet or knitting, I have been enjoying amassing a little collection of knitted items over the past year or so. These can be picked up really cheaply from car boot sales and charity shops. Given the time and skill put into making these , they really are a bargain.  I hope whoever knitted these toys knows how much I like them and how in awe I am of their crafty skill.

My nan is also a very prolific crocheter.  She is now in her mid 80's and fills her days happily with crochet.  Unfortunately, I cannot get her to produce "granny squares" anymore, like the blanket on top of the stack below.  She made this for me when I first went to uni.  Crikey, make that 15 years ago, I feel ancient!  The one on the bottom of the stack, in lilacs and minty greens, she made for me for my bed in the first flat I bought (with a mini version for my cat!)  I like it that each one reminds me of her and a different time in my life.

She still enjoys making blankets ( as one big square rather than lots of little ones) and these make welcome gifts for friends who have had babies and also for the Muchkin, who seized one and takes it to bed.  They keep my knees warm during these colder Autumn days.

All in all, not quite the day I envisaged so I must surely be due a glass of wine about now.  On a cheerier note, our coal was delivered today so hopefully this evening, we shall enjoy our first fire of the season.


  1. If you lived closer I would be quite happy to teach you knitting and crochet. I learnt when I was about six, and when I was about eleven I taught a teacher at my school to crochet, and I am still learning, about two years a go I learnt to knit socks!

  2. Hello again. The knitting needles were a gift from a friend but I think they are called Seredipty Knitting Needles from Stash Yarns Putney. Also there is a crochet book published by Coats about learning to crochet still being published but I bought the orginal in the seventies!

  3. I was lucky to have an Auntie who taught me to knit and crochet. First thing I ever knitted was a fair isle jumper and it sent her into shock that I actually completed it.
    You will like crocheting - it is much faster than knitting- and you will soon be making granny squares.
    Good luck with your course.

  4. The knitting and crochet patterns are very cute - I love the three toned pink/strawberry teacosy with the little flowers around the top! If you have the pattern is it possible to get a copy of it? I am sure you will pick it up in no time and be creating all manner of lovlies!

  5. Good luck with your knitting and crochet!

  6. Oh, lucky you learning how to crochet, I'd love to be able to do it too. I also have trouble with my hands so I don't know how successful I'd be. Hurry up and learn and you can do my crocheting for me Ha ha!
    I love those tea cosy patterns; particularly the caravan one in the background...cute!
    My grandmother was also an ace crocheter (alas, not with us anymore) She could go hell for leather whilst never taking her eyes off the tv!
    Deb xx

  7. I can't knit or crochet. I never wanted to learn when I was younger and I regret it now. Good luck with your lessons. I'm sure you'll be posting about a completed project soon enough.

  8. Hi Hen,
    Im sure you'll get the hang of crochet soon. (I self-taught, so probably hold the yarn and hook all wrong (!) but get OK results, so that's all that matters. I made all my baby girls their cardigans with crochet rather than knitting - it grows so much faster, I find, with lovely lacy effects)

    Love all those blankets made by your Nan!

    Keep warm,

  9. I do like your blog.....we have the same love of CK.....your sewing box is sweet!
    wish i could knit n crochet....i'm so bad at it.....my firend has tried hard to teach me.....but it hasn't paid off!
    Looking forward to lost in austen tonight...have you been watching?

  10. Oh honey - hope your poor fingers manage to make granny squares! Lovely yarn colours! t.x

  11. Ooooh I too am starting my first big crochet project, a blanket of course. I look forward to seeing what you end up making :-)

  12. I started making one of those. Let's see how it goes.

  13. Oh Hen, you must make the Golly! Just something simple to start with!
    Imogens florette had its second outing today to Bristol and she had 3 comments!!!!! It looked lovely. She loves it and tells everyone; "It's a florette you know", which always makes me laugh!
    Bought the very same mouse sock slippers for the girls today to put away for Christmas! Gorgous aren't they?
    Jane. x

  14. You have collected some wonderful patterns there. I sometimes buy them but unfortunately can't knit or crochet, I end up looking at them and wishing.

  15. I wish I could knit. I love knitted tea cosies, a few years ago they were seen as naff but now they are very chic and the prices of them!! I saw one for £45....It was nice though

  16. I am so going to learn how to crochet , very soon, yes very soon indeed :-) I keep putting it off but will learn before xmas !!! am back from my hols thank you for your comment :-)
    Lesley x

  17. I think we need a "Bring back the tea cosy" campaign!

    I've just been catching up with your blog & admiring all your fabulous finds!

  18. i have wanted to learn to crochet for a while but havent tried as yet.
    i do hope that you pick it up.
    im knitting cat toys for christmas this year for all 3 cats so thats been an awful lot of fun.


  19. I've been looking for a cottage tea cosy pattern for ages, so thanks so much for sharing the whereabouts of the cute one you found here. I was actually able to find a copy of the "Bazaar Times. . ." online -- looks like it has lots of other good stuff as well.
    I wonder if you would tell where you found the little tea cosy with the chickens on it also?
    Many thanks and love your blog.


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