There are many ways to greet the rain, but my favourite is with a cup of tea, a spot of knitting and a day spent resolutely in. Why try to carry on with springtime plans when you could revel in a little cosiness instead? As it turns out, a day or so of rain was just what I needed to finish off the cardigan which had been languishing in my knitting basket for some weeks, with just one buttonhole band to make. A drama on the wireless, a blanket on my lap and, in next to no time, it was done.
I have been very glad of it, over the past few days. Finished and blocked, it was ready just in time for a chilly weekend, and goodness knows I wanted nothing more than a new woolly to ring the changes this late in the season. An old red one, long since consigned to house wear only, can now be thrown in at the end of the hot white wash – a quick bit of felting will deal with the holes, and I can make it into a hot water bottle cover, ready to be loved all over again.
I think this may be my favourite of all the knits I’ve made myself, but apparently I say that every time. Still, it is pretty perfect, for me. Made of Shetland 2-ply, it has a fineness about it that I love, but the stranding makes it two layers thick and deliciously warm. I know I’ll love its hopeful green in winter as well as in spring, and the gay yellows and blues bring it to life. It’s bright, but also earthy, with a hardy woollen steadfastness I adore. This is a knit for a busy person, one who needs to be warm in the garden in midwinter and won’t have time to change before cycling into town. The sort of knit I can wear on a campsite. It’s a knit for me, designed by me, ready to meet my every need. The sort of knit everyone should have.
Woven into it are the memories of rather more months than I had intended. Of casting on not once nor twice but three times before making it work. Of filling long winter evenings with a little colour and pattern and industry. Of passing a storm in a bothy, and watching the children fish from a pebbled beach. Of all the long months between Christmas and now, May, when the garden is in bloom and I probably won’t need it much until the nights draw in once more. There are bluebells in this jumper, yes, but also fireside logs and Christmas stars. Knitted over two seasons, this jumper was made to be worn in three or four.
While I was ribbing knit one, purl one with the back of my mind, the front of my mind was otherwise engaged. Because of course with the end of one knit comes the start of another – or several, in this case. We are officially in the season of little knits, and by my side, where I could eye up the contents, was my wool basket. It’s a long time since I filled it at the autumn fair, and only a few odd balls remain. This year I think there might be a few little crochets, as well as little knits. Perhaps the start of a granny blanket, to use up scraps over several years. I can think of a girl who’d like a foxgloves hat to match her big sister’s cardigan, and I’m sure I can come up with a pattern. I’d like to make some mittens with leaves and vines running up the back – or perhaps just some fingerless gauntlets to wear around the house. This is the best sort of play: before decisions are taken and anything is possible. And I find my thoughts heading outside again too, after those blissful days of sun, to quilting in the garden. I’ve a quilt to make for Fliss, and I’d like to do it all by hand, making the most of the bright long days.
There are so many things to dream up, so many things to make. Perhaps I should be sad when I come to the end of a long and familiar project, but I’m not. That jumper might be all over, but the making isn’t. On with the next project, and the next and the next. It’s never all over, really.— May 16, 1931