making sense

Megan Nielsen knitted tube scarves

You may remember that last year i started learning to knit (slowly, i kind of suck) – and i found it was a really great way to relax. Since sewing has become my job i don’t really use it to relax or wind down as  i used to. Knitting was a nice fit, and i was enjoying doing it while i watched the kids play.

So you know what i’ve realised? Knitting is a hobby that might not really make sense in Australia… I only wore sweaters a handful of times during winter, and i can’t imagine how i’ll ever use a woolly scarf again (which is pretty much the limit of my knitting skills so far).

So what’s a girl to do? Well not wanting to give up – i decided to knit some scarves for my lovely sisters in law before Christmas, who live in cooler climates than I! I knitted two yarns at the same time for Sophie (i wanted to make it extra snuggly for Minnesota), and for Annelise i knitted one colour than the next… hoping it would be a more appropriate weight for Melbourne (or maybe not? i mean how cold is it in Melbourne in winter? Cold enough for a scarf? hmmmm) and i like the colour block look.

I’m sure the hard core knitters are crying right now as they noticed i did not block my scarves (i’m sorry!!! i just can’t get it right… ) – but from a purely style driven point of view, i actually really enjoy the curled up edges – and i’m pretty thrilled with how cute these look.

But I mean, where to now? The real question is, should i find another relaxing craft – or begin a trend of inundating my sisters in law with unwanted scarves?! hehehe

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  1. says

    I wanted a craft that could be done by hand away from my sewing machine and that would be relaxing like knitting (but I’ve failed to get into knitting fully!) so I’ve taken up hand embroidery. I loooooove it so far and although for now I’m doing little hankies and wall hangings, one day I hope to embellish some clothes too.

  2. Nic says

    Keep knitting. Just go for lighter weight wools for our warmer climate in Oz. a lot of European/ US patterns are in 10 ply – way too heavy for us, but there are other divine things around in 5ply or cotton etc worth doing. Don’t give up, it really is relaxing and easier to do while engaged in other activities too, as you really can. ‘Autopilot’ at times. Would love to see what else you knit.

  3. Angela says

    Don’t stop knitting!! Give cotton a go, I love Cascade Ultra Pima. I have made Rondeur for myself and Hine ( both on Ravelry) for my daughter out of it and they’ve worked out really well for our hot climate.

  4. says

    Just switch to warm weather knitting. Lightweight summer sweaters and cardigans, lacy, airy scarves. It doesn’t all have to be winter wear!

  5. says

    I have the same problem :)
    I live in the middle of mediterranean sea and I haven’t worn a scarf yet, although we are in the coldest month of the year!!!
    But I like to knit and crochet toys (amigurumi, knitted animals, etc).
    Why don’t you make a knitted kitty for your kids?
    You can find super simple tutorials here and there!

  6. says

    Oh honey, you’ve got to block! It really is that final step that makes your hand-knit garments look polished and drape nicely – just as you wouldn’t dream of wearing a home-sewn dress without pressing your seams, you should always make time to block your knitting. It really does make that big a difference, it ‘sets’ your stitches into a smooth, even fabric and helps with the inevitable irregularities of tension, cast-ons, etc. (although in this case, it won’t keep your edges from curling – no amount of blocking will take the curl out of stockinette stitch). If you’re using wool, I recommend wet-blocking – it’s exactly the same process as hand-washing delicates, just without using soap. Immerse in lukewarm water, gently swish & prod to ensure full saturation, gently squeeze out excess & then do the towel-roll drying trick, then lay out on a dry towel or ironing board, very gently stretch to the desired shape and size, and let air-dry. Done. No need to pin, spray, or pick up an iron. Just be sure you keep the weight of your knitting supported while moving it around when it’s wet, otherwise it may stretch and distort under it’s own weight.

    I totally sympathize with you on the seeming senselessness of knitting as a hobby – while I definitely live in a cold-enough climate (right now it’s -5C and not even the coldest day this week), I’ve become such a prolific knitter that my collection of scarves and cowls has gotten completely out of control! I have *so many* at this point, but I just can’t seem to stop myself making more…. it’s such a nice way to relax in the evening! And on the subway, hehe.

  7. Megan says

    Girl, you can knit lots of summer-friendly stuff in cotton, linen, and all the other lovely plant based materials (or plant/animal fiber blends) that nature has to offer. :) I love making summer shawls and scarves out of laceweight linen – it might take some practice if you’re a newbie to get used to smaller needles/yarn, but oh my, it is worth it! Plant fibers might seem stiff at first but after you knit/wear it, they soften up considerably. :)

    There’s also the option of knitting non-garments – toys, baby blankets, household items, bags, Christmas ornaments… :)

  8. says

    I’ll add my vote for summery knits. If you have access to the book “French Girl Knits” (or look up the patterns on Ravelry), there are lots of beautiful ideas for plant-based fibers and summer-friendly knitting. It’s 27 degrees Fahrenheit here, so I’m still in warm and cuddly sweater-making mode.

  9. says

    There are sooo many things to make! Some of my favorite thinkg are baby-wear. If your using a finer weight of yarn; little knit dresses and skirts and pants and caps… the options are endless!

  10. says

    I agree with my predecessors. I think switching to lighter weight yarns (lace, fingering, and DK) and trying a variety of fiber contents (bamboo, silk, cotton, linen, etc…) will help to keep things interesting and practical for you. And, when you tire of scarves, you can always start learning how to construct a variety of garments. Knitting is really versatile.

    I’m biased. I adore knitting. I think I would find a way to make it work, no matter what sort of climate I lived it.

  11. says

    I have never been able to get knitting down pat. Maybe I lack dexterity? Also, I definitely don’t know what blocking is, so…I am impressed with the product. hahaha. During my brief knitting stint, I found weaving thin ribbon through was an interesting if not useful way to hide my lack of skill?!

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  12. Melissa says

    Wool is not the only fiber one can knit with! I would highly recommend trying a blend – cotton/linen or wool/linen. I’ve made some great lightweight sweaters out of linen blends and I wear them much more than my heavy wool sweaters (I live in NYC). Knitting is such a great activity, it would be a shame for you to quit now.

  13. says

    Ahh, these are both beautiful! Love the yarn you chose! I’m very pro-blocking, too. It really evens out all the stitches and makes everything look much nicer. Just make sure you soak it for 15 minutes or so to give the yarn time to absorb the water and plump up. It’s super easy.

    Even if you don’t stick with knitting, it’s really important that you have something you can do for fun or to relax other than sewing. I hope you’re able to find some time for yourself despite your crazy schedule!

  14. says

    I’ve been knitting for a while, but still definitely a novice knitter! My favorite easy project is a hat knitted with circular knitting needles…just cast on, and knit in circles, no need to count! I use #10 size needles with a short connector piece…I had to get them at a specialty knitting store. Can do heavy wools for cold winters or light cottons for summery fun! I can finish a hat in a couple of hours…so you really get to see your results quickly! It is a nice second project after you’ve mastered scarves!

  15. says

    I live on the Gold Coast and I love to knit. I tend to knit a lot of baby blankets and toys to give as gifts. For myself I make a lot of scarves and beanies/berets. The hats get the most wear but I can’t resist making big fluffy scarves even if they don’t get worn much. I also have plans to knit some cushion covers to go on our lounge this winter.

  16. Justine says

    I live in Melbourne and have all my life. I wear jumpers or cardigans all the time. Last Thursday may have been 40.8c but the Sunday before was only 20c which is jumper weather for me. In winter when it is around 12c-16c i’m in thermals!! So to me Melbourne definately has knitting weather. And to all the people laughing at me from really cold places, I asure you I am not the only one, there are plenty of scarf wearers here!

  17. emma g says

    You could ask at your local maternity hospital if they accept baby clothes for premature babies and keep knitting. Or you could try lace making.

  18. says

    There is always room for knitting, even in the milder Aussie climate. I’m a prolific knitter and know a lot of Aussies that knit too. It would seem that the bulk of Australian online knitting stores are found in Queensland and that’s not exactly a heavy knitted garment environment.

    One thing that I’ve discovered a deep love for is the shawl, there are some beautiful ones out there and they are useful in any season, in any climate. They are a timeless accessory and can be the perfect thing to finish off any outfit.

  19. Ilyse says

    Keep knitting! Just use lighter yarn and make friends with cotton and bamboo. I don’t know what Australia is like but I knit year round in humid Florida. I don’t get to wear my hats/scarves/wool sweaters very often but I get a good amount of use out of light tops, flowy skirts and household items. Not to mention, little people always wear sweaters more than I do so my sons end up with a collection.

    And don’t feel bad about the blocking. I’ve been knitting almost 20 years and rarely bother due to lack of patience. Some things needs blocking desperately but I also like that raw look sometimes. :)