I was so enchanted with my iPad case, I felt compelled to make another one almost right away. So, after spending a few days on lacework for one of my pieces (clouds for my flamingo picture – the ‘fit bird’ in my life), I am back knitting in the round with my favourite faux-Fairisle. And what a jolly little ball it is, all pinks and blues with a dash of brown. Not having used this particular dye pattern before, I am intrigued as to how it will knit out.
Two journeys in (remember, I am knitting in the car) and this is my progress. Casting on stitches with a chihuahua on your lap (yes, I am a total cliché, my dog never far from away from my knees) is somewhat challenging, especially when ‘said’ canine is reluctant to sit still. But we got there in the end and I managed to cast on, join and begin in earnest, to the tune of: click, click, click.
What you can see above is the brim (think hat) or cuff (think jumper). Essentially ten rounds of knit, then a round of yo, k2, followed by another 10 k. The result, when folded and sewn down: a picot edge. Having used it before with hats and socks, it is familiar. It is also that little bit more interesting than a basic rib and rather pretty without being unnecessarily tiresome or complex. Sometimes one needs nice and simple; for the motion and the focus to be the purpose of the thing, its meditative rhythm, healing and calming, slowing the inner banter, quietening it.
I have been working for a little over a week – my knitting time restricted, permitted only in certain locations and at certain hours: typically those bookmarking the morning. They amount to the too’s and fro’s of my life and, like retail therapy, provide valuable diversion; the only difference being that here the distraction is from commuters not change, the antagonists people in charge of cars.
As I have advanced, the pattern hidden inside the wool has revealed itself. It is different to my expectations. I had anticipated something paler – more yellow and pink, less green and brown. I imagined it would be summery, in keeping with the current season. Instead, its palette reminds me of autumn, of gathered fruits and fallen leaves, of sweet and savoury sensory suggestions, a kitchen alive with cooking things, like chutney, jam and cakes. It rewinds me to a previous life, to a different year, to the crunch of dried things and early sunsets, to orange soaking the sky with the promise of a clear tomorrow, to the embrace of a familial landscape and the security of being young. I become nostalgic, lusting after a yesterday that I’m not sure ever was, craving a storybook illustration when the reality was somewhat more generic, mass-produced and black and white.
My attention focused, I proceed quickly, secure within the pattern. Freed from my notes, I slip into trance, my thoughts drifting in and out, sinking down and under. I feel at peace, the journey no longer a source of antagonism. Each time we arrive (me and whoever is driving), whether at home or away, I am slightly disappointed, part of me longing to prolong my containment. This is a good sign. It means that the process is working, the piece filled with energy, intention and love.
At the close of each journey, I measure the case against my Kindle to stop it from running wild. I am conscious that in my relaxed state it could easily grow ferrel, freedom enticing it to take the control from my hands.
Finally, I reach the end, deciding to fold over and secure the open top before committing to the closed bottom. An extra line of security, so to speak, allowing me one last measurement before I swap my KnitPro Symfonie Circulars for a Clover “Chibi” Bent Tip.
I fold the picot in half to create a seam. This gives the undulating edge, which always reminds me of castle battlements and medieval stonework. One of these days, I shall have to substitute the bow for a gargoyle to complete the effect. As an idea, it appeals, being somewhat quirky.
I can now bind off with confidence, safe in the knowledge that I am knitting in accordance to rather than against; that, upon completion, I will not have to retrace my steps. Believe me when I tell you that casting off too early is devastating, being meticulous, painful, somewhat dangerous and repetitive. Besides, not one to endorse mistakes, holding to the belief that everything happens for a reason the exact way that it is, I would also be stuck with continuing, reinventing the purpose of the piece, item or garment in question, finding somewhere else for it to fit in amongst the plethora of things I wish to make. Sometimes successful, sometimes not: it is better with specific items to proceed slowly, holding back rather than getting carried away, even if that means ten minutes of travelling at speed on the motorway with nothing but the blur of passing cars and the straight line of the horizon (interrupted sporadically by farmsteads and tree clusters) to distract me.
I find my Kindle and slip it inside the case, pulling the cuff right up to the top and then a little over, making sure it is both snug and comfortable, roomy but not oversized. It fits. I can now sew up the open end and declare it finished but for a bow, which I started making yesterday and plan to complete today.
After some deliberation, I decided upon a pale blue for the bow. It went well against the colouring of the case, matching the palette within the pattern, drawing focus to it. In addition, it was more interesting than a pale or medium pink, there being a lot of that already and my having only just completed work on one of those for another piece. Besides, I like that it clashes slightly, the blue contrasting the green like two flavours of mint gum or a stripped toothpaste; they fit together, while simultaneously standing out: a bit like me and my personality.
[ A slight deviation detailing my personality: On the outside, I am conservative and painfully polite. I wouldn’t say “Boo!” to a ghost, or even have the confidence to stick around long enough to try. Dig deeper and get to know me, allow me to trust you and grow to like you, and the real me comes out: dry-witted and mischievous. When dressing, I purposefully wear combinations that don’t ‘technically’ go: putting red with pink, blue with black, circles with stripes and cotton with silk. While classical, conventional, a homage to both the Victorian and Elizabethan eras; it’s quirky and edgy because it’s different, because it isn’t currently in fashion, because it won’t be and hasn’t been for quite some time. The eccentricity of it suits me, allowing me to express myself in subtle ways, revealing only what I feel confident enough to share. On good days, I go wild, really experimenting with it. On bad ones, I reign it in, placing my feet carefully. My wardrobe is a veritable sweetshop offering a rainbow of choice. I have fun with it.]
Casting on four stitches and using garter stitch, I knitted until I had achieved enough rows to tie the length created into a comfortable bow, testing it (you can see I like to do this: test, try out, make sure before committing; it’s something that expands into other areas of my life – sometimes aiding, sometimes hindering it) before casting off. I then decorated the bow with pearlescent beads, taking care to space them evenly – one above the other, three to a row.
Done, pleased with the result, this was then stitched onto the front of the case using a technique called invisible stitching: the secret, matching the colour of the cotton to that of the wool, using small stitches and stitching neatly. Anything slapdash and it will show.
Especially for you
If you would like a case of your own, please don’t hesitate to email me; I would be more than happy to make a few for the right people and price. There are easily six weeks of summer left to survive before the madness abates (see: I spy with my little i for an explanation) and I shall be clicking without interruption throughout.
I’m also planning on making iPad, mini-iPad and iPhone cases, so keep your eyes open for these links to light up as I manifest my offspring. As with here, I will be documenting my progress throughout. Interested parties can sneak a peak, arouse their inspiration and pick up a few tips – like where to get wool and what wool to get, whether to use circular or dpn needles, which size works best, how long it all takes and ideas on how to accessorise once you are done.
Below are images of the yarn that I used and links to where I brought it. If you would like to make your own case or something similar (like a jumper or a scarf) you can easily order from here. I have to warn you though: they have discontinued the line, or at least this colour run, so stocks are running out. The same stands for those of you wishing to commission a replica. While I am more than happy for you to pick a ball from the site, I cannot guarantee I will be able to order it for you. It might perhaps be safer to order the desired ball on sight and then to have it posted on to me at my residence. That way, we all remain happy, our hearts achieving what they desire.
I bought this yarn from woolwarehouse.co.uk. They are super-reliable, quick to act and prompt to dispatch and even post abroad at very little cost. That gives them five stars from me.
What colours will you choose?
So far, I have ordered one with my dog’s name (Bella) and one with my childhood cat’s (Fifi), for that reason alone. I also have a healthy collection of others and now possess over twenty different shades, although I have no idea which one is my favourite. I love them all, my preference shifting along with my intention and in line with my mood.
If you would like to see them in action: my flamingo’s hair is made out of Bella, the grass in The Fairy Princess and The Frog Prince is Nessie, and the background for Angel Delight and The Chocolate Bunny is Elsie. And that’s just off the top of my head…
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