This is another illicit, in-between-assessing-and-assignment-writing post, stolen in a twenty minute gap along with lunch – which is a tasty little egg sandwich. In the spirit of my current mode of operation, today’s subject is the pleasureful nature of the mindless, fast, gratifyingly instantaneous knitting project.

I’m talking about the sort of knitting project that can be made up in pauses and bursts, in 20 minutes on the train here and 15 minutes waiting for dinner to cook there. I mean the sort of project which can be put down halfway through a row without dire consequences, and which ends up being wearable, pleasing, and joyous at the end of the knitting process; a project which has enough stitch-pattern interest to be fun but not the sort of complexity that might result in the frustration of ripping out stitches. And ultimately, the sort of project for which you probably already have yarn lying around, maybe in the form of ends or odd bits, perhaps an extra ball of DK left over from a sweater…

A project sort of like Dawn Leeseman’s Zigzag Beanie pattern, from Interweave Knits, Fall 2008.

I churned 2 of these bad boys out in April, both from old ends of stash.

The one on the left is knit from tiny balls left over from Layter, knit with a single strand of kidsilk haze. I do like this strategy when working with similar but not identical shades of yarn; knitting a single strand of kidsilk haze along with everything else gives everything a hue-in-common, akin to a wash in painting, so that things harmonise, colour-wise. Plus, I love the fuzzy, ethereal halo that kidsilk haze imparts to an otherwise plain dk yarn.

I have adorned this hat with a beautiful birdie brooch from Kate, and I wear it when in the shade or walking home late in the evening when there is still a bit of a chill in the air.

The hat on the right is for my Gran, who tried to teach me to knit when I was very small and instilled in me a very great appreciation for all things handmade.This is knit from something very lustrous and pretty which I only had a little ball of (no idea what the fibre was!) and some alpaca. I love how the alpaca has a sort of bluish quality, whereas the other camel colour is much more yellow… I like the little stripes and the way the colours work together.

This morning, this hat went on its merry way to my Granny in the post, along with the hat I made for my Grandad. I don’t worry about sending them woolly hats at this time of year, since they live by the sea and there is often a cold breeze and I think a nice hat will take the egde off the chill when they are walking along the seafront.

I hope they like them. It is very nice to make something for them; over the years they have made me many, many lovely things… a wooden rocking chair (made by Grandad) with a patchwork cushion, (made by Granny) when I was very small, (child-sized so no longer in use by me!) knitted fingerless mittens when I lived in Ireland, (knit by Granny) a dollshouse when I was a girl, (made by Grandad) dollshouse furniture, (a textiles/wood G & G collaboration) beautiful pictures, (embroidered dragons and chickens mostly) and many, many other things. My Granded used to supervise our lego-building sessions and teach us how to arrange our bricks for maximum structural stability, and my Granny used to – and still does – show me her creative projects; mostly watercolours and textile projects. She always has a project on the go and little bags stuffed with embroidery floss, beads and scraps of lovely fabric squirreled away in corners all round her spotless home. I have inherited the squirreling but sadly not the spotlessness, from her. And those early lego sessions with my Grandad have, I’m sure, played a crucial role in developing my DIY abilities!

Here we are, hanging out together on my birthday last year. Please overlook my beer face; it was my party…

And here are the hats. Zigzag beanie from Interweave knits, Fall 2008, knit in very soft oddments in camel coloured mystery yarn and alpaca for my Granny – Margaret – and for my Grandad – Wilfred – a mash-up of Wazz’s Woollen Winter Walking Outfit #1 by Kate, and Turn a Square by Jared Flood.

Hurrah for the quickly-knit hats and for warm heads and pretty colours and hurrah for my amazing Grandparents and all they taught me about making.

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