Home and away

P1160645After deciding two years ago that no, I couldn’t take my sewing machine on holiday with me – not even if Mr Wardrobe agreed to power it by cycling – I took up knitting.

For me, the best thing about knitting is that it’s so portable. You can take it almost anywhere and if you’ve only got ten minutes, you can still make some progress. I’ve knitted on trains, in waiting rooms, in hotel rooms, and in a fair few holiday cottages.

Last week, I visited my parents in Yorkshire, and it felt like the perfect time to start a new project.

If the worst thing about going away is that I can’t take my sewing machine, then the upside is definitely getting to visit new crafty places. So I used a trip to Leeds as an excuse to drop in on Baa Ram Ewe, an independent yarn shop in north Leeds. Baa and away (!) the best place to snuggle up to local yarn in Leeds, the shop had some fantastically strokeable alpaca yarn and some gorgeous tweedy colours to choose from. I have my eye on this for when I’m ready to try knitting socks.

I came away with the needles and some Debbie Bliss merino yarn to knit up a hot water bottle cover. Plus a sheepish project bag to keep it all in.

This coming week I’m going to be in woolly north Wales, so I suspect I might return with more yarn.

Which craft do you like to take on holiday? Or do you just stack up a mountain of hand stitching and take that instead?

Where knitting meets sewing

Call me ignorant (on second thoughts, please don’t), but until recently, I’d never really considered how knitted garments are made up.

Having just about mastered a knit and a purl, it came as an unpleasant surprise to learn that I’d also have to learn garter mattress stitch, stocking mattress stitch and backstitch to bring my first few garments together.

A child’s cardigan I’ve just completed – except for the sewing up.

I’m not finding this easy…

You can see the untidy seam at the back of my first knitted hat in this picture.

I don’t rate the section in the book I’m using, Knitty Gritty, on sewing up. The author admits that she doesn’t enjoy it, and I think the pictures are too small to see what’s going on.

I’ve tried a selection of YouTube videos, but so far, I haven’t uncovered one that makes it simple to follow.

The best resource I’ve found so far is a Craftsy class – The Essential Guide to Finishing Handknits, taught by Anne Hanson. It’s a lot more information than I need right now, but it’s clear and relatively easy to follow.

Can you recommend a great book, tutorial or video on sewing up handknits? And what do you think is the best way to learn a skill like this?