SHEEP AND LAMBS
Yarns and guidelines
Spinning plant fibres
note on acrylics
Here you can see a few examples of work by friends, most of whom are new to knitting and crochet. All are made from wool-free yarn.
The intrepid Paula crocheted her first garment after having learned to crochet only a few weeks previously. She said "It's my first garment. I didn't follow a pattern, I just made it up as I went along."
(If you can't see how this was done, here's a bit of a clue https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npIsh-o9AM0...)
To show how quickly someone new to crochet can advance - here's something from Paula again, showing her progress within just a couple of weeks!
Another project from Paula - "This is 100% acrylic, 300g of chunky knit yarn in the green shade and just less than that for the other side. Knitted on Pony US 7mm bamboo needles, in garter stitch. The label on the yarn came with a pattern for a crossover cowl but I didn't fancy that and so knitted a cushion cover instead."
What a great idea to have two different sides.
A friend who is a skilled crafter, and also recently a knitter, has sent some interesting photos of a teddy in progress which she has just completed.
Look hard and you will see how it is done! This method of knitting a simple teddy avoids the need for increase and decrease rows, though there is quite a lot of sewing up to do, with each section having two seams. This really does show how friendly and amenable knitting can be - when you've sewn up the seams, you can stuff it firmly, or loosely, and encourage the limbs to look just right, because of the wonderful flexibility of knitted work. For this reason the main stitch is garter stitch, which is the most flexible of stitches (other than open work) whilst the head is made with the smoother and slightly less flexible stocking stitch.
The picture on the left shows the completed body, head and legs - the light brown section in the middle will be folded over, half way along its length, to form the head. The arms are knitted separately. The easiest way to do this might be to knit and stuff them and sew them on last of all - though in this case the stitches have been picked up from the sides of the body before sewing up. You can see more pictures of this work and others on the Vegan Crocheters and Knitters facebook group.
A friend in Scotland has a spinning wheel and has spun lots of plant fibres including soya, hemp, cotton, banana and flax. She did all this partly because at the time it was hard to find yarn made from plant fibres other than cotton, so she she simply decided to spin her own! She says that soya fibre made one of the softest scarves she's ever had and it's easy to spin because the fibre itself is very long.
There's a small section on frugality on the sheepless knitting page - but this lady has childhood memories which put all my own little frugalities to shame. Her mum and grandma were always unpicking garments, skeining the yarns, washing them and then knitting them up into something else. Even more amazingly, her grandma carpetted her whole house with hand woven carpets made from unpicked jumpers and cardigans. Here's a photo this friend sent of some of her previous work. She hints that she would like to take up her wheel and needles again, so I'm hoping to hear more about that!.
Another friend who is not a knitter these days (but who would be a sheepless knitter if she were a knitter!) has shown me a doll which she made quite a lot of years ago. She has understandably kept it under wraps since childhood, but here it is to demonstrate the skill level that was often achieved by children.
Here also are photos of a linen/cotton cowl that was knitted by a friend of a friend. It's a lovely colour and beautifully knitted. What a good friend!
This same friend has also sent a photo of an acrylic jumper that her mum knitted for her years ago. I'm sure her mum chose the colours well and knitted it lovingly with skill. It's a perfect example of a garment that could be knitted without a pattern, using yarn/s of your choice (see 'Guidelines' page). It also shows how hard wearing a decent acrylic yarn can be!
And here is one of the first things made be a beginner:
I've taken photos of the items I've made so far. The scarf was the first item but I can't remember what kind of yarn it was except it was from Barnsley...
The 2nd item was the black, white and grey cowl, all using basic acrylic from B & M bargains, and using slip stitch for the pattern.
The 3rd item is the pink cowl using bobbly wool I got from The Works, I took a photo of the wool before starting it.
(this turned out to be a great start to happy knitting times!)
Talking of Barnsley. It's not what you think of when you think of Barnsley, but the town used to be a thriving centre of the weaving industry, noted for its linen. Textile and garment factories remained in the town until the latter half of the 20th century. There are still some flax fields in South Yorkshire (though flax is no longer grown for linen in the UK) The last time I was in Barnsley I bought these lovely old industrial bobbins from a charity shop (£1.50 for both!) They are 7" high.
To fill the page, here also are some snaps of things I made earlier. Unless stated otherwise they are all made with 100% acrylic yarn.
This is from the book Best in Show
which a kind friend found in a charity shop for me.
Now I must say (quietly) that it was very fiddly and a real labour of love to make it. For easier knit toys, if you need a pattern, I would go first to Jean Greenhowe who was amongst the first to produce knitted toy patterns and they have been amazingly popular over the years. They are designed specifically for easy knitting and there are some free patterns on her website: