About this blog

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Wales, United Kingdom
In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011


I learnt to knit when I was about ten, and a few of my school friends did too. One day, my mum offered to help me, but was bemused by the way I was doing it - putting the needle into the back of the stitch instead of the front. She told me that would result in twisted stitches and I should change it. I found it difficult to change, got frustrated and cross, and resolved to keep doing it my way, without her help.

The school craze for knitting didn't last long, and although I always intended to come back to it someday, I was left with the feeling that I was doing it wrong and would have to unlearn what I knew then start again from scratch if I was ever to knit the way Mum did, i.e. fast.

Recently I decided that the time had come to get over that barrier and learn to knit again. During the house move I'd uncovered a lot of old children's books, including the Usborne guide to knitting, which seemed like a good place to start teaching myself the basics. I opened the book and, clear as anything, the picture showed the needle going into the back of the stitch. I was vindicated!

My sister is due to have her first baby this spring and baby clothes, being small, seemed a good project to start on. When I suggested this idea to her, she made it clear that hand-knitted clothes made by an aunt who's just learning to knit were not quite what she had in mind for her baby. She did suggest a blanket made of knitted squares, which I have to admit is much more sensible. That's the trouble with my sister - she's bossy, but she's always right!

Don't ask how I came by that ball of pink wool - it was just in a drawer, OK?

I decided to try different stitches for the different squares, and started with the most basic, garter stitch, knitted MY way. It came out fine, and I moved onto stocking stitch; alternating rows of the two basic knitting stitches, knit and purl. I found that following a row of purl, it's the front, not the back, of the stitch that presents itself most naturally to the needle, so I switched to putting the needle into the front of the stitch. Easy. It really isn't the big deal it was when I was ten.

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