Hello there – just a quick holiday note to share a holiday experience: teaching a kid to knit!

 

Many knitters I met often told me they had learnt the craft when they were a child, mostly with their grandmas – for some of them it just clicked while others did not knit for many years until they picked it up again.

Obviously, knitting has evolved a great deal over the last three or four decades.

When my grandma tried to teach me to knit, the endless red garter stitch acrylic scarf was the only option, sometimes with antediluvian supplies. Giving up the whole thing was very tempting then.

There are definitely nicer ways to go around it today although the main difficulty is still the kid who can get bored soo easily.

My guinea pig has been a very sweet seven-year-old girl who is always eager to do new activities with grown-ups.

She and I have been doing crafts for a couple of years now: necklaces, drawing, scrapbooking etc.

For knitting, I had a few ideas on how to proceed:

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Obviously, cheap, synthetic yarn is still the way to go, preferably of a colour the kid likes, quality Sport because it knits quickly.

 

Addi makes coloured needles for kids. The great thing about them is that a pair is two-colour, which makes it easier for a child at the beginning!

 

Then comes the question of a first project, which basically has to be garter stitch rectangle.

 

A scarf for a kid is way too long and boring, but a scarf for a teddy bear or a headband for a girl are more interesting options in my opinion.

Personally, I just went for a tiny bow made of a few rows of 8 stitches each. Once it is done you just roll a yarn at the centre and here you go! Then you can put it on a bag or a hairpin.

 

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We eventually decided to go further and knit a small purse.

Tutorial:

– CO 20 stitches on 2 pairs of needles and knit two garter stitch squares.

– Then knit a couple of extra rows on one of the squares before decreasing every row until you have six stitches left.

Sew a button and make a few simple crochet stitches to make a buttonhole.

The purse strap was just a plait of several yarns.

At this stage, I feel quite silly because I forgot to take a picture of the bag before the kid left.

Fortunately, Gimp (kindof) made up for my  oversight.

 

 

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Ok so no, it does not look ridiculous, it just matches the anarchic stitches of my pupil.

To conclude, I have a mixed feeling on the experience. I am positive she liked it, but mostly because she had a bag at the end- here I must add that I knitted most of it toward the end so that she could actually leave with it! I think she was just a bit impatient for knitting, which is ok given that at 7, children just begin to learn in a serious way, but may be reluctant to do so for activities which just seem fun.

 

Any experience to share?

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Spinning with a Fantasia wheel

I have been busy for the last few days practising my latest passion!

My birthday gift this year was a fantastic spinning wheel! Not an old thing bought from a garage sale with a warped wheel but a brandnew machine, ie the Fantasia by Kromski that I found on a secondhand website from a young woman who had decided spinning was not her thing after all. As for me, I am still busy trying to convince my friends I have not turned into a crazy survivalist but that it is a true, noble hobby.

 

So this is a Fantasia:

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Obviously, it does not look like a vintage item, I wouldn’t have minded because I am rather fond of Saxony-like/princess spinning wheels – it has a modern, curvy design and it just works perfectly.

 

I have been sitting on my baclony looking on the sea with a (gorgeous! sensational!) BFL roving from Oxford Fiberworks and I pumped away on this two-treadle beauty.

 

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A moment later, I had some yarn on a bobbin:

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The key-thing about spinning is the same as in knitting, crochet or sewing: it’s all about getting the right tension!

Here my yarn is not perfectly even but it is fine – it is a single yarn. To make it more resistant it has to be plyed with another yarn.

And here again, tension is the key – the tension is not quite even on my skein – I tend to underply.

 

 

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And lastly, a tiny knitted gauge where you can see the irregularities – but I am happy with my skein, it is warm and soft and will make a cool project.

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I am currently spinning part of Coco’s fleece – Coco is a lovely alpaca from Oxfordshire, I will show you the result shortly.

 

This is what I see from my balcony (Ploemeur, Brittany).

 

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