I’ve finished knitting a thing. It’s a big thing. 110cm (43″) square, to be precise.
You’re looking at 123 500 stitches which, it’s fair to say, took a good while to complete. It’s made of Jamieson’s of Shetland Spindrift, and it weighs in at 500 grams. That’s a kilometre of yarn.
It was knitted in the round with a steek, which I then cut. (Steeks aren’t as scary as folk think, I promise. Here’s a quick how-to.) I used 3mm needles for the stranded work, then 2.5mm needles for the non-stranded sky.
Want to watch some knitting being cut?
Some of you asked* about the design process that led to this picture, and I’ll write a separate post about that in a couple of weeks’ time, if that’s OK? But today’s
self-indulgent post is all about the finished object.
So, this is a picture that I plan to stretch over a canvas frame and hang on the wall. It includes two fascinations that I’ve had since mid-childhood; freshwater life and geology. (This post explains the freshwater life thing, plus the wildlife pond that I dug last summer.) As for the geology, well I discovered my father’s cache of geology books at an early age and I’ve been hooked, ever since. (One day, I’ll tell you about our family dinosaur.)
But let’s have a little tour of this piece of knitting. You might notice that there’s not a great deal going on above the water’s surface. That’s deliberate.
Yeah, there’s the dragonfly, because dragonflies and damselflies were amongst the first and keenest visitors to our new pond:-
And there’s the flag iris and the yellow (‘brandy bottle’) lilies.
Our last house was on the river Thames in rural-ish Berkshire. When I say ‘on’, I really do mean: back door–>small patio–>river. I wish I’d had my blog back then because man, I could tell you some stories about our shenanigans on the river. Here’s a photo I took ten years ago, of one of ‘our’ lilies.
And whilst we’re lingering by the Thames, a weird coincidence of scheduling meant that I was back in that same village yesterday for an appointment, so I took the opportunity for a photo. Our old house was just off to the left of this picture:-
But the lack of activity above the water is because I’ve always been fascinated by what’s beneath the surface. (Maybe that’s why I became a psychologist.) When we lived in that house, I used to wonder what treasures lay buried in the silt beneath the water. Sure, there were probably coke bottles and car keys, but imagine what else might have been down there.
A 17th century helmet from the English civil war? A stash of Roman coins? A Medieval goblet tossed overboard by a careless nobleman? That’s why in this piece, I’ve included a few archaeological treasures, just waiting to be uncovered.
And below those, the bedrock. Some folded blocky limestone, as it so happens.
But it was in the water that I had the most fun. There are a couple of things that shouldn’t be there – the shopping trolley and the boot – but aquatic life is carrying around these things as best it can, because no matter how murky or and dried-up a water body may be, you’ll always find life hunkering down in the mud.
When I was a child, nobody yet cared very much about pollution of our waterways. I have memories of splashing playfully about in the local river amongst submerged shopping trolleys and broken bottles (yikes!)
Plus, there was the ever-polluted micro-stream that flowed across the bottom of our garden and which left me with angry red rashes on my skin every time I tried to dam it (which was often). But even there – at the risk of sounding like a bad parody of David Attenborough – there was always life; tiny fairy shrimps and water lice, braving the pollution.
There are fish, too, in this knitted picture. The pike was fun to create:-
And this chap(pess) is looking at you:-
Also, there’s this frog, diving down:-
And that, my fine fibrous friends, pretty much covers the major elements of the picture. The knitting has had a bath:-
…and stretched out across blocking mats, its stitches already look much more even than they did beforehand. When the finished thing is up on the wall, I’ll show you an update.
*Honestly, they really did. I know bloggers are notorious for saying things like, “Lots of you have been asking why I’m so stunningly beautiful and where I got this £500 handbag” or whatever, but I promise that in this rare case it’s true that at least several of you have asked. (About the design process I mean, not about how I maintain such traffic-stopping good looks – nobody ever asks about that, strangely enough.)