I ate a lot of m&ms this week

I’ve just switched the radio off to be able to write this without distraction (further distraction, that is – the dual temptations of sunshine and Tim Tams are already doing their best to lure me away, whilst the thumps of the dishwasher suggest not all items are properly secured within – but I can deal with that post-cycle. Right now, we are blogging). Okay, so today’s post contains fun news and even some pictures. Because I have been knitting! And not just any old project – argh, the dishwasher sounds terrible; I’m telling myself the noises are coming from the unit above rather than the kitchen – but a hot pink project!

For info, today is the first day of Spring here in beautiful Australia. So technically I made this item in winter, when we were shivering in temps below 20°C. You’ll see why this detail is relevant when you look at the pictures of the latest knitting project...

Oh, one more thing about this project – it was for a knitting workshop that I facilitated/presented. So I made the whole thing in almost one go to test the pattern, make meaningful notes etc. And to establish that in no world would we ever complete the project in the three hours allocated for the workshop. But that’s never the point of knitting (in my book) anyway.

I’m excited to share this with you! And I have cool pictures too – wait until you see the materials we used! In fact, don’t wait – here you go.

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The kit we worked with was by a super-cool outfit known as Wool and the Gang (WATG).

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We had massive wool.

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Massive needles.

A cute Vivienne Westwoodesque pin to add a hint of punk to the finished object.

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And it all came in a giant paper bag.

This is how to entice people over to the knitting side – who wouldn’t want to live like this?

The kit we used is called Snood Dogg. The workshop participants chose pink, navy, black and grey/blue wool to work with. All the colours are beautiful, actually, but I was delighted to have been given the hot pink for my test pattern (the stitchwork shows up better – perfect for demonstrating at, say, a workshop).

Not everybody cares about the ins and outs of knitting, so I’ll gloss over the technical stuff and just tell you that it was a fantastic project (for me!) and get onto the workshop day itself. None of the attendees had ever fiddled with needles before, but the course is aimed at welcoming complete beginners to the joy of knitting, so this was not unexpected!

Mmm, I just went into a bit of a flashback/daydream recalling the day. I love sharing skills and teaching. Seeing the group progress from breaking down the stitches into smaller steps to completing a fluid knit or purl stitch in one go was ridiculously fulfilling!

The snood is moss stitch, which looks like this (with apologies for the atrocious photo – something's not right with my camera so these are all iPad shots and the glare is somewhat distressing).

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This may also be my new favourite stitch. It’s so tactile/bumpy. A pretty good stitch for beginners, as you are both knitting and purling, thus learning more; at the same time, it’s quite a stitch for your first project as you have to remember to move the yarn to the front or back of your needles before every single stitch. My lovely knitters soon incorporated this yarn moving into their stitch sequence, however – they’re very clever (or perhaps they just had the mother of all knitting teachers).

The time absolutely flew by, but we were able to cover casting on (a cable cast on, for those interested), tension swatches, slipping, knitting and purling. An excellent day’s work (ably assisted by a giant bowl of m&ms, situated gloriously yet dangerously close to my seat).

By the end of the session, everyone had the beginning of their snood on their needles and had reached a point where they could continue the pattern alone. Hopefully, in time, they’ll all produce a Snood Dogg that looks something like this...

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For anyone thinking this looks like too much fun and they really must get in on the act, the Wool and the Gang website can be found here.

For anyone worrying about the contents of my dishwasher, some kind of road work has started up outside, completely drowning out the disturbing sounds, so forget about it. An appliance full of broken crockery is surely the very worst outcome; trivial on the scale of Problems People Have.

Yours x