Saturday, 13 November 2010

I can knit ! ... ...

Yes you heard it right, I'm a bloke and I can knit (sort of) so what you going to do about it grrrr ?

Seriously though there is a reason for me attempting to knit for the first time in about 20 years (I learned to knit in school) the reason is that I vaguely remember my nan I think making her own dish cloths and floor cloths, although I think she actually used to crochet them, I tried crochet and failed (I will have another go)

Why bother ? well it goes back to the same thing I've said in a lot of posts, no one makes anything any more, least that's how it seems to me, we tend to just buy it, and usually for as cheap as possible.
I think this attitude (and I'm just a guilty ) is actually harmful, our kids don't know what it's like to pick up a bit of wood and make a tool out of it, why should they ? when they can buy it ? and this mentality means our kids are loosing touch with certain skills, like wood working and such like, and not only that they aren't encouraged to think, to be creative and inventive, this I find is quite a sad situation, I'm not pointing any fingers as to who is to blame, I don't think any one person or group of people are to blame, perhaps it's society as a whole that needs to change ?

Anyway here's a picture of the first bit of knitting I've done in 20 odd years -

I think it turned out okay, after 3 attempts :-)
Okay so it's not perfect, but in all fairness it's a cloth and not a sunday best jumper, it's knitted from parcel string, I had loads of it lying around, I got it cheap from some place or other, and I think you can pick it up by the ball for under a pound most of the time, and for a pretty large ball.

It was easy enough material to knit with (even for me) and the end result is quite pleasing, and not as coarse as you might think, in fact I've seen fancy ex-foliating wash cloths made of rougher material.

As cloths go it works as expected, it's actually better at picking up dirt and grime than any of the bought cloths we have, and I'm not just saying that because I knitted the thing :-) and it can be washed and re-used, unlike some cloths which after a couple of days have to be thrown away, if it gets stained a little soak in bleach will sort it out (if you use it, other wise a very hot wash will do) and when you have finished with it, because of the nature of the string it will degrade, so chuck it into your compost bin and it'll break down pretty fast.

So what about time ? most people these days seem to not have time to do anything (even cook a real meal) well I managed to make the cloths (I ended up with 3 from one ball of string) while watching tv, and a more accomplished knitter would probably have managed this in a few minutes, so time isn't really an issue, even I managed to keep up with the program whilst knitting.

Once I'd finished the cloths I got to thinking about other applications for knitted stuff, apart from clothing, so I started messing around with other materials, here's a picture of some knitted garden string -

Natural garden string.
Now I have to say that this wasn't as easy as I thought it was going to be, I think the problem is that the string wasn't quite as flexible as I thought, and I was using small needles, but it was possible, and after a quick bit of research on line I found that some people have tried similar and knitted hanging baskets and such like, only they have used much bigger needles, so I made a set, which I will dedicate a post to, along with a post about my first knitted hanging basket ;-)

I don't think we have any excuses for allowing the loss of skills like this in our children, it's up to us as parents to teach them things like this where we can, and if not find some one who can, I'm lucky I have quite an array of tools which I will show both my kids (son and daughter) how to use, and I will show him and her how to go about making things, I feel I owe it to them as a parent, and lets face it in this day and age certain institutions don't put the effort in, this is probably the reason why skills are being lost.

All in all I enjoyed making the cloths, there's something very pleasing about linking a length of string / wool together in this way, but then I enjoy using my hands for making things, that's what they are designed for, not just picking something off a shelf and paying at a counter, we were given hands and brains for a reason, I think it's about time we started using both a lot more than we do.

Thanks for reading.


  1. wouldn't have thought of knitting with parcel string. you can get craft cotton that's pretty cheap and would make slightly softer cloths - flannel type things perhaps. Am thinking of making them as gifts this christmas.

    Surprised that you find crochet more difficult than knitting - I'm the other way around.

  2. Thanks, I may have a go with the craft cotton, making face cloths for christmas is a good idea as well.
    I can do the basic chain stitch in crochet, after that I get really confused, I've just knitted a hanging basket from natural string, with the massive needles I made today.