Monday 31 March 2014

An Ambitious Thank You Project

When I have a lot of knitting to do, I start early. If I am knitting for Christmas, I start in August. I knit a cardigan for winter this year, before the winter ended... if it has, that is of course debatable with the British weather! In this case, its thank you gifts for my son's school teachers.

A bit of context first. We became aware that our son wasn't engaging with pre-school in a typical way a term after he started. We quickly then began the referral to speech therapy, and that steamrolled into other referrals as it became obvious that his difficulties were not speech related, but with social communication and dealing with social situations. That hinted at something else. Things have progressed, and we had his future reception teachers involved in meetings about what he needed support wise in the spring before his transfer to reception in September last year. They have already been working with him a year even though there is a term left of this academic year.

In January he was formally diagnosed as mildly affected with Austim Spectrum Disorder, which explained a lot of his difficulties. but even prior to this, (and knowing it was likely) from the instant he joined reception year at school  the teaching team have been incredible. Where he struggled in pre-school, after a bumpy start he's really taken to school, settled in, and is flourishing. The last parent's evening was incredible, singing his praises, saying he's doing well in all areas, even making good ground in his social skills, even if it is his weakness. They have worked so hard, he has special sessions with the head teacher (who unfortunately is retiring at the end of the academic year) because he is ahead in Maths, (amongst other subjects but Maths is his powerhouse subject) and they are doing their utmost to keep stretching him, keep him engaged, and interested in school. The more new things he is learning, the happier and more settled he is. He's an academic at heart.

In short, the time and effort they are putting in, giving him extra one to one teaching and support is helping him reach his true potential, and he's truly shining thanks to them. And at the end of the year, he will be moving to new teachers (who he is already getting to know), new teaching assistants, and a new head. But I do want to thank them for all they have done for him. I know they will all get chocolates and mugs and all kinds of things like that, but those are easy. they don't really value what the ladies have put in, that thing which is so hard to put a value on. Time. And I wanted to thank them by giving them the same thing back from me. Time. Something that took hours of my time to make, like they put hours of their time into my son.

So I have begun an ambitious project. The idea is to have a scarf ready for the end of year for each of the team. Two class teachers, one head teacher and three teaching assistants... that's right, six of them. Hence I am starting early.

The pattern I have chosen is Boo Knits Dragonfly Wings. A lovely little scarf come shawlette, made with very little yarn, quick to make, but with pretty lace. In a variety of yarns, some lace weight, some fingering weight, and 4 out of the six yarns I have spun myself. I finished the first of the six in some handspun lace over the weekend:

Its a lovely pattern, very quick and easy, and I can knock out one of these in a few days. Which is good, because July will be here before I know it!

I can admit, while I can see the ladies in question often wear decorative scarves, I don't know a huge amount about each of their colour choices. So my plan is to knit in a mix of colours and textures, some brights, some muted, because the age ranges of the ladies are varied, and to give them as one big package and allow them all to choose their favourites. As such, here are the other five yarns:

A real range, including the two gradient skeins in the middle. Hopefully there will be something for everyone in there. I am currently working on the gold, so watch this space for more FO's! I really hope this will be something out of the ordinary for the ladies, and truly thank them for their invaluable work with children, and my son in particular!

Till next time

Monday 17 March 2014


Hi to all. This is a project I wanted to share sooner, but just as I was ready to take pictures of my lovely finished cardigan, the sunshine upped and left for a few days leaving me with nothing but mist, and no light to take pictures in. Which was pretty useless. But here I am with my latest FO.

As I was saying in my last post, my mother was very kind and knit my miss all kinds of cardigans and sweaters for this past winter, leaving me without the chance to knit for her. Not that I am ungrateful, far from it, I have loved those cardigans and miss has been wonderfully warm! But I would like to make my mark on the next winter, so I made a start. You saw this cardigan in progress in my last post and now its finished. 

The pattern I chose was Tricsi, designed by ├ůsa Tricosa, because I love the look of the pattern, though reading the comments and notes was a little daunting, as it has a very unusual construction. But I was up for the challenge. And the designer is on Ravelry which meant if I got truly stuck, I could message her directly, or ask for help on the forums. So I chose some beautiful yarn, Wollmeise Merino DK weight, a huge 200g of soft smooshy goodness, in the colour Turkise Markise:

Its nigh on impossible to photograph this colour and get it true on my screen. Its greener (though not by much), but still incredibly turquoise with the amazing colour saturation that Wollmeise has. And is a colour I love. I whipped out my christmas present from my hubby, my Knit Pro Karbonz interchangeable needles, took a deep breath, and followed every instruction to the letter. 

I have to admit, the contiguous construction is by far the oddest I have ever come across, even if the effect is lovely, and not too hard to follow if you take your time and study the pictures provided in the pattern. Once I got into the swing of what the designer intended, I actually really enjoyed it. And the provisional cast on she used was new to me, but absolutely brilliant and easy to do, allowing me to knot in both directions from the back of the neck with no hassle. It was frankly all very cool.  And I love the result:

The yarn is another one that need to go into the washer and dryer, or my cardigan for a 2 year old could almost fit my nearly five year old, but with a tumble dry it snaps back really well, and is soft and smooshy, just as in the ball. Really very pleased and look forward to her toddling round in it when the next winter comes. If this one ever leaves!

Till next time!