We are currently here in Gero, yep, that’s how we locals say it (only non-locals call it Geraldton), we’ve been here so long (a couple of weeks) – I’m counting myself as one. Being the 2nd largest town in WA (after Perth, and boasting nearly 40,000 people), and after travelling many, many kilometres, it’s good to know you can finally get a good cappuccino here.
Spring is finally starting to show signs of warmth. But the wind still has an unnerving chill factor that, frankly, should be gone by now. I’m starting to get into a bad mood due to this incessant, cold, nagging, hair blowing interruption to what should be delightful, fragrant, spring weather. I am placing total blame on the weather for lack of creativity! ..certainly I can’t blame myself for laziness!! (cough cough ..)
Winter was spent travelling and camping with friends – we had a wonderful time during the cold, bleak and often wet days in the outback. I didn’t even reflect (much) that time was passing. Now I don’t have the benefit of co-camper distraction, I seem to turn to the old question of ‘what am I doing with my life??!! – I’ve only got 1 shot at living as far as I definitely know – should I be whittering it away by travelling around the countryside knitting as I go?? Perhaps I should be doing volunteer work with Medecins Sans Frontieres in a needy, trouble ridden country? Or go to old folks homes and read to them in between teaching them knitting techniques? Maybe I should be part of a community and join in their demonstrations to ‘save the wetlands’ or any other environmental endeavours they’ve got going. Too much self-absorbed thought – thank you (NOT!) horrid wind!
I have started an e-course with the wonderful teacher Donna Kallner on Looping/Knotless Netting techniques. This is a super simple way of using different mediums (string, waxed thread, wire etc.) to create an interlocked mesh – and with different ‘stitches’ or ways of looping, resulting in different ‘stretchiness’ of the mesh. Sign up for her free ‘taster’ class on Into to Looping – you just might like it!
I recently watched some You-Tube videos on Naal Binding – knitting ala Viking style. there are quite a few different ways to do this, the pics below are of the ‘3 stitch on thumb’ technique. Of course I then had to felt the resultant fabric – which totally destroyed the herringbone weave pattern – but made a super thick felt and fabulous scissor-protector! Have commenced the all-important naal binding egg cosy – which will be topped with my (already finished – yay!) knit/felted viking helmet. If you are going to give naal binding a go, and I certainly hope you do, I’ve got a couple of tips.
Tip 1 – Use a supreme felting yarn (eg. Cleckheaton’s California 8 ply): As each stitch is created with a super large, blunt, darning-type needle, all the yarn passes through each new stitch – so every new yarn length is felted onto the end of the last length. Only a length of 2-3 odd metres is used at a time to create the stitch.
Tip 2 – Naal binding doesn’t unravel. If you make a mistake just throw the whole piece with pent up rage (brought on due to constant windy conditions in current locale!) into the nearest bin – have a cup of coffee whilst being buffetted no end in your van – then calmly start (yet) again. I thought I was really smart and had a natural affinity for this technique after successfully managing to create a 10 cm length (… I never seem to learn the old ‘pride comes before a fall’ lesson). So thought I’d have a shot at creating the knitted fabric ‘in the round’, which is how items using this technique are normally created. I’m still not quite sure how I managed to put a mobius twist in my round, but somehow I did it. Gaaaahhhhh!! – again!!
Nonetheless, I thought I’d compound the mobius into 6 twists on the next piece and see what would happen. Advice (again!) don’t felt it if you want to retain the lovely texture this stitch creates.
So my crafty friends, I do hope your results are working out much better than my wonky ones and, if not, just blame the weather.
With kind regards,