Saturday, 22 March 2014

Foray into the world of knitting

A lot of people consider knitting and crochet to be similar crafts.  There are similarities, certainly, but the 'doing' of them seems to need a different kind of mental application.

Personally I find crochet gives quick results and I find it easy to correct any mistakes, as all I have to to is unravel to the error and recommence.

I find knitting harder.  While the knitting itself is reasonably straightforward, mistakes are more tricky to fix, and usually mean that I have to unravel the entire project and start again from scratch, which I find frustrating.

Crochet is great for creating texture, such as this, my last minute scarf . . .


and creating design features, such as these daisies I incorporated into a valance . . .


However it is obvious that knitting has some advantages over crochet.  Knitting can create lovely, smooth, fabrics.  It can also accommodate shaping more easily than crochet - for example, when making garments such as gloves or socks.  Smooth socks are more comfy than bobbly ones!


For example, here's my last successful knitting project - a pair of fair isle socks (the pattern is here).  They are a bit rough (particularly at the cuff), but I was pleased that I got there in the end!

So from time to time I feel I should give knitting another go - and here we are.


My 'have a go' project on this occasion is this baby blanket by PurlBee.  I am using yarn from my stash . . . I figured I should try and use up the self-striping yarn I used on this unsatisfactory project.  

The pattern is almost exclusively knit stitch, so nice and easy.  Hopefully I won't make too many mistakes.  I even went out and bought a circular needle!   Until I did a bit of research on why the pattern called for a circular needle, I had not known that circular needles are also useful for non-circular projects that are too wide and heavy for standard knitting needles - such as blankets.  (Thank you once again Doctor Google!)


With past knitting projects my usual modus operandi  to abandon the project if I have to unravel and start again too many times.  But so far, so good . . .


Interestingly, I think the yarn looks a lot more attractive knitted than it did crocheted.


With knitting I can never be sure whether I will persevere and complete the project.  But here goes anyway!

Nandina

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Mulching the days away

The weather has turned a little cooler and more pleasant.  We are relishing the ability to think clearly and actually enjoy the outdoors!

However, weeds also love this 'in between' weather.  Despite my best efforts in spring and summer, they're back . . .  and I really, really don't want to share my space with these greedy little mongrels:


pampas grass


three cornered jack


creeping spurge (caustic weed)


purslane (pigweed)


mallow


and these broadleaf weeds that I don't know the names of, like this one.

So I have been mulching, mulching, mulching, to smother them and make it easier to pull them out (preferably before they flower and spread their seed).

Another big bonus of my present mulching strategy is that I am also reducing my 'grassed area' (it is too neglected to be called 'lawn') and hopefully slowing down the flow of water when it rains.


In general I find grass pretty low maintenance so long as the area is not too large.  It has also been my experience that grass is far cooler in summer from a microclimate perspective than, say, cement and paving.  However too much grass can be too much of a good thing.

When I first moved here in 2000, almost the entire block was grassed and it took me a couple of hours (usually in the hot sun) to mow.  Once I finish this bout of mulching, only about one quarter of the block will be grassed - some out the front and some out the back - far more manageable!

So, onward ho with the mulching and weeding!

Nandina