Knitting to sooth the soul…Feb 8th, 2020.

Knitting is easing the pain…
January has been a very sad time for me and my family. My lovely Dad passed away on the 30th at the age of 80. We nursed him at home from October, until the last week when his needs became too complex. He needed two people for 24 hour care and Mum and I couldn’t manage that. Throughout this difficult time my knitting has been my source of comfort.
I was knitting myself another “Beryl Jacket” in Wensleydale Longwool Aran, but it was in a dark teal (beautiful colour but hard work at night time). I needed to have something that was small, easy to pick up and take with me to my parent’s house. Mum attended to his personal hygiene needs and I helped with housework, liaising with the various care agencies, shopping, cooking and trying to occupy his time.
We had a film night where we had Cornish Pasties and watched slides from holidays when we were all young.

Dad loved looking at the old slides and managed to stay awake for 2 hours while we were viewing them. It was a very special night!

Such a wonderful night and it gave my Dad such pleasure.
Heart breaking too.
I put my gorgeous jacket to one side and started to churn out tiny cardigans in stocking stitch, with a garter stitch button band which is knitted as part of the front side and so saves the fiddly business of either picking up stitches (my favourite way) or knitting a long button band and sewing it as I go along. I have discussed this ancient pattern of mine in my previous post. I have knit two of these and also the jumper version. I knit two aran jumpers for my Grandsons which were great in the earlier days when I was able to come home for the evenings. The complex pattern was wonderful to work with and required just enough concentration to be able to watch the TV and do the pattern, and so temporarily fill my mind space with knitting.

I knit the larger one first so that the second one would be a bit quicker. The pattern is a Sirdar Snuggly one, design 4943 and is wonderful. As with all of their patterns the instructions are clear. I used Sirdar Countrystyle DK in a lovely pale grey, shade 0434. Being a wool blend 40% nylon, 30% wool and 30% acrylic it is perfect for youngsters when the garment has to be soft, but also machine washable.

Here is Chester wearing the smaller one. The rate at which he is growing, he won’t be in it for long!

I knit lots of items for my boys with this yarn and it has proved to be very hard wearing and kept its shape. I adapted the smaller one to make dressing a bit easier. I kept the shoulder shaping but instead of casting off on the left side, I knit 4 rows of garter stitch and attached 2 poppers.

This is Miles wearing his jumper, looking very smart!















After they were completed, I had a request from Edie, my 4 year old granddaughter, for a jumper for her doll. You will remember that I knit and made a lot of clothes for this doll when it was her birthday. I had great fun making them but was negligent in thinking about her winter wardrobe! I have this on my list of “things to do” and it will be a case of making up the pattern as I go along, but I know I will have great fun doing it.

Doll’s cardigans, and now I have to come up with a pattern for a jumper!





I have also been knitting myself a lacy scarf. I had bought 2 skeins of superwash merino dk in Erin colourway from Jennie of “Owl about Yarn” and had done myself a hitchhikers shawl. I really struggled with it though as it kept slipping down on the heaviest side. Asymmetrical shawls look beautiful but I had no luck with it. The wool was so beautiful that I couldn’t ignore it, and so frogged it and am now making it into a beautiful but simple lacy scarf. The pattern is called “Birch Trees” by Julia Marsh and is wonderful. It is a 4 row pattern and is so simple, but yet really effective. Knitting with the soft merino in such beautiful colours was very soothing after my Dad had gone. I was contemplating what effect the actual knitting process had, and realised that I was being comforted, soothed by the repetitive action, the softness of the yarn and then warmth of the garment as it was being formed. I am sure that this scarf will always remind me of the comfort it gave me when I was so bereft, and the warmth and soft texture will be cuddling me better.

“Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn’t hurt the untroubled spirit, either.” Elizabeth Zimmerman.

My current WIP (work in progress) is the lovely Birch Trees scarf, designed by Julia Marsh with Jennie of “Owl about Yarn’s” Superwash Merino in Erin colourway. Gorgeous!

For the 4 months from October until the end of January, The Knitting Companion has been on hold. I have posted orders and have been very pleased with the success of “My Knitting Diary”, but have not done much in the way of designing or planning for the shows in 2020. My priority was looking after my parents, and am now spending a lot of my time with my Mother, but am slowly beginning to pick things up, such as designing a new product.
I have had lots of expressed interest for a crochet version of the diary when doing shows, so I am pleased to say that I have now started to plan this new item. I have friends who also have craft stands and they have given me a lot of encouragement and support. In the early days their advice was invaluable and indeed, continues to be so. Thank you Karen Baker and Hannah Baker, I don’t know where I’d be without you sometimes!

I have lots of preparation to do as I have a few shows already confirmed for this year!

Spring into Wool
Buxton Wool Gathering
The Wool Monty
Pop Up Wool Show
Southern Wool Show

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