Today I’ve challenged myself to come up with five favourite things associated with my knitting. There is no way in the world that these five things are my “favourite” in each category, but they are one of my favourites in each category!
A favourite knitting bag
Well, this one is easy because I don’t really do project bags, although there are hundreds of project bags available and they are all, each and every one, absolutely wonderful. I, however, have my Knitting Basket and that is where my current work in progress resides, togther with my big bag of knitting accoutrements and some random things that don’t really belong, but live in there anyhow. The basket was a very much appreciated gift from one of my sisters and I chose it at a French-themed exhibition we visited in London many a long moon ago. I love the design of this basket – it is lined (vital for knitting wools) and the lining zips up at the top for the times when you want the basket to be neater (I hardly ever zip it up). I expect this to be my knitting basket for the rest of my life.
A favourite knitting book
My all-time favourite knitting pattern book is Jaeger Handknits JB16 – catchy title, eh? This book/brochure was published in 2003 and its tagline advertises that it contains “20 designer garments by Martin Storey using Matchmaker Merino 4 ply”. I turn to this book and knit versions of my favourite garments time and time again. It is standing up to use quite well, although the cover is no longer stapled to the contents; we can live with that can’t we? I love a good 4-ply (fingering) weight garment and this book has a good range of staples; cardigans and jumpers, cropped and longer-length, textured/plain/lacy/cabled and an odd one or two with coloured stripes or contrasting bands. I haven’t made any secret in this blog of my love of Martin Storey and this book is probably the biggest factor in that hero-worship. If I could only knit from one pattern source for the rest of my life it would be this book, although I’m happy that I’m not ever likely to be asked to make such a nonsensical committment.
A favourite knitting tool
This was hard. I rely totally on a tape measure and row counter, but the day has been won by the 6″ gauge ruler which I think I bought on a trip to London from the marvellous Islington haberdasher Ray Stitch. I love this because it has a sliding red marker which helps you to narrow down the stitches you are studying. Also, measuring your gauge is just so crucial, and we all do it, right kids? Okay, no, but when I do, I find this ruler really helpful.
A favourite set of knitting needles
Knit-Pro Symfonie, 30cm straight in whatever size I need. Whilst I am on the fence about most of the other categories, I am very definite about the needles. I have different brands of wooden needles; I have metal needles and plastic needles; I even have some circular needles. The 30cm Knit-Pro Symfonie straights are way out ahead as my favourites. They are lightweight and warm to the touch and comfortable to hold and the stitches have just the right balance of stick and slide to make the knitting as easy as possible. 30cm is my Goldilocks length, not too short, not too long. I like to knit garments in separate pieces and seam them together and I can comfortably get the back of most garments bunched onto a 30cm needle and work easily with it. I love these needles; and, no, that does not stop me buying loads of other needles, but I am not claiming to be perfect here.
A favourite knitting yarn
Any hand-dyed sock wool from Mr B Yarns in Brighton. I adore the design aesthetic of this hand-dyer and I even like the ones he dyes in colours I wouldn’t naturally be attracted to. I have only good things to say about the two pairs of socks I have knit so far (in colourways “Where The Wild Things Are” and “An Inspector Calls”), am enjoying the one I’m currently working on (colourway “Dr Foster Went To Gloucester”) and looking forward to using the final colour I have in my stash “Isambard”. When I have ordered from the Etsty site, the wool has arrived promptly, well-packaged, and entirely ready for me to gloat over. I generally put it in a cut-glass flower vase that belonged to my mum until I’m ready to use it, so I can feast on the beauty even before I start knitting.
A bonus extra
My favourite place to knit is on the settee, as I have shown in the photo. The lamp isn’t quite good enough for knitting light, but it is adequate and nothing else I have tried has pleased me as well as this. With a Yankee Candle wax tart melting in the burner (currently a choice between White Tea and Ebony and Oak) I am cosy and all set for a knitting session. Which is, essentially, where I will probably be in ten minutes’ time.
Here is more of a close-up of the basket and my favourites.
I hope you are carving out time in your autumn days (or, indeed, spring days if you are the other side of the equator) to pick up your knitting and work on some of your own favourites.