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Published on February 25th, 2013 | by Serena

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Knitting competition runner-up: Inventive Accessories

Another runner-up to warm this freezing Monday – well two actually; we just couldn’t decide between them!

 

Knitted Pouf by Jennifer

This project started when I was sorting out my knitting yarn from storage, having collected many different types of yarn throughout the past 15 years.

I was looking for some inspiration for a large cushion to replace my old non-matching ones, when I came across a knitted pouf which uses super-chunky yarn – but my yarn stock consisted of aran and double knitting… This is when I got the new beginnings of an idea where I knit with 4 strands of aran-weight yarn with a large circular knitting needle to create a thicker project which grows quicker, this is how I came to making a small pouf for my son using space-dyed yarn. I was inspired by a similar free pattern from Pickles.

It was amazing how my boys loved playing with the knitted pouf: sitting and standing on it, rolling it like a ball, balancing it on their heads – and at one point fighting over it! The only solution to that was making a larger one for my oldest son; this time I used thicker yarn with 5 strands.

This exciting new beginning of customising and creating my own new knits, using strands of different types of knitting yarn, has inspired me to use up my yarn stock (which had built up during my 5 years of looking after two small boys) and create more new projects like a larger cushion and textured blanket – and this is just the beginning!

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We love: the wonderful textures of these poufs – and the thought of Jennifer’s sons having sooo much fun playing with them!

Knit it yourself: get a free pattern from Pickles, a pair of 10mm circular needles and some aran yarn – and you’re ready to make a pouf just like Jen’s!

 

Swiss Cottage Teacosy and Seaside Blanket by Jill

In the autumn of 2010, I was at a very low point in my life after one of my very closest friendships came to an end. I was absolutely devastated. One afternoon I watched Kirsty Allsopp’s homemade crafts programme on Channel 4 and was completely enraptured by a small ‘house’ tea cosy that she made with her new-found knitting skills. Her enthusiasm was infectious; having not knitted for 25 years, I remembered the joy of crafting with my hands.

Turning my focus away from personal problems was just the tonic I needed. I hit the computer and searched for my own little house tea cosy to knit. After much searching, I stumbled across my Swiss house tea cosy, with its eye-catching design and colour palette, and an opportunity to use my very rusty embroidery skills to convey the impression of roses in the window boxes and accompanying garden.

Armed with my pattern, I sought the assistance of the amazing staff of Honora wool shop in my home town of Christchurch – especially Kate who reminded me how to cast on, and the exceptional Sue who searched for bargain double-knit yarns. I eagerly began on the first side and was delighted to see my cottage take shape. As each stitch was completed, I felt a sense of peace and achievement.

Kate and particularly Sue continued to encourage my efforts. When I encountered a tricky part of the pattern, I only had to call into the shop and Sue would demonstrate how to overcome that step. Nothing was ever too much trouble and she treated me like an additional daughter, always praising and encouraging my progress.

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It took me two months to complete. I was incredibly proud of my cosy and it has pride of place whenever I make a pot of tea in our house. It has also restored my faith in myself. When the world seemed a very dark place, I took the step to do something positive, to remind myself of the enjoyment I could achieve through using my hands and to show myself that I could achieve something worthwhile for myself. Such was the restorative pleasure of my tea cosy, I was extremely keen to continue with another project. This Rowan Glace Seaside blanket leapt out at me. It took me 14 months to complete – although I did not knit intensively on it.

On another positive note: having got the knitting bug, I looked around for like-minded people to knit with and converse with, and discovered the Knit and Stitch group meeting each Thursday in Starbucks in Westbourne in neighbouring Bournemouth. Seeing the vast array of knitting projects and learning from veteran knitters is so inspirational, and I have met interesting people who welcomed and mentored me. I look forward to each Thursday afternoon not just to make further progress on my latest project – my first cardigan for myself – but to feel that developing friendship and kinship.

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We love: these beautiful and so original home accessories, together with Jill’s story of finding peace and new friendships through knitting.

Knit it yourself: the Swiss Cottage Teacosy uses any DK yarn, 3.75mm needles and a pattern from eBay; the Seaside Blanket pattern is from the book Blankets and Throws to Knit by Debbie Abrahams – it was written for Rowan Glace but Jill used a different 4 ply cotton yarn. The blanket also uses a cable needle, 2.75mm needles and 3mm needles.

Jen and Jill will each get a 20% discount code to use at loveknitting. Check back for our runners-up in Dabbling in Designing, Beautiful Baby Knits and Healing Knitting…


About the Author

Serena loves sunshine, strawberries and Great Danes. She has gone from non-knitter to yarn obsessive in under two years, and is determined to drag the rest of the world along with her.


Last updated: December 6th, 2013.

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