‘Out of the way! We are in the throes of an exceptional emergency! This is no occasion for sport – there is lace at stake!’
So go the breathless cries of the exquisite Imelda Staunton in her hilarious portrayal of Elizabeth Gaskell‘s Ms Pole in the BBC’s 2007 dramatisation of Cranford. With the scene in question vividly in my mind’s eye and my new lace knitting project in my hands (actually, I don’t have the knitting in my hands right at this moment as it would make typing an awful lot harder, but if ever a sentence called for a smidgen of dramatic licence, surely this is it), I feel a sudden and urgent compulsion to buy, trim and don a bonnet.
OK, so my lace isn’t that kind of lace. It’s more of a lace-like pattern in reassuring chunky yarn. Which probably isn’t a bad thing in light of the fate that befalls the Cranford lace. Chunky yarn, even chunky yarn that is coated in a generous helping of creamy milk, has surely got to be infinitely more difficult for a hapless feline to swallow than Mrs Forrester’s antique collar. I do hope it is, anyway, for – as we all know – curiosity and cats do not the purrfect pairing make.
I found the kit at Fringe when I was on the hunt for a new knitting project. I liked the pattern, I liked the yarn, I liked the colour of the yarn. All good. I didn’t spot until I got home and had cast on, however, that the experience level on this kit is ‘Expert’. Not necessarily quite so good. Possibly a little bit scary even. For a beginner like me.
That said, I don’t appear to be doing too badly:
With the front nearly complete, all that remains is to start shaping the neck. And that’s where I’ve got to so far. Terrified as I am by the prospect of this – which seems rather more daunting than usual given the lace-like pattern – I’ve introduced a brief hiatus in proceedings. In an attempt to justify this cowardly pause to my cowardly self, I’ve worked hard to convince said self that I urgently need to do a bit more work on my rockin’ robin. And it seems I’ve done quite a good job at this convincing lark because the conviction has already resulted in the robin acquiring a head (more on that next time).
Anyway… what’s in the Stitch & Story kit, then? Here’s a list of the loveliness:
- 4 x 100g balls of Stitch & Story The Chunky Wool (100% merino wool; colour, Silent Night)
- 12mm bamboo knitting needles
- sewing needle
- the pattern (always helpful to have!)
- basic knitting instructions (useful for non-experts like me!)
- ‘How to sew together’ booklet
Now, these bamboo needles…
Bamboo: lovely. Size: quite massive, but manageable. Straightness: proving somewhat problematic. I’m used to circular needles, you see. I have a large stock of circular hand-me-downs and you get used to what you’ve got, of course. And used to circular needles I most certainly am. So the 12mm traditional bamboo needles are a challenge, and are exercising muscles in my forearms that I didn’t even know were there. Blimey.
But somehow I’m sure I’ll get there. Once I’ve overcome my fear of shaping the neck and abandoned my self-inflicted hiatus, naturally. And, yes… I may have massive forearm muscles by the end, but I’ll also have what promises to be a lovely jumper!