12 February 2011

Getting knotted

I've always quite liked doing craftwork. When I was young, my nana Johno taught me to knit and crochet and tat, and I later taught myself to do macramé and embroidery and canvas work. I’m not one to sit around doing nothing so, for example, I prefer doing something with my hands while I'm watching television.

I don't do much craftwork these days, though in the winter, when my hands don't get too hot, I do still like to knit. I don't like simple patterns, preferring instead to knit complicated Fairisle-type patterns that I’ve put together myself from ideas gleaned from books, magazines and, these days, from the internet. I see a jumper I like, plot it out onto graph paper and go from there.

Last winter I finally finished a jumper I'd started the previous year (see picture), and started another that I’ll finish this year when the cooler weather comes again.

In the meantime, I've been enjoying making friendship bracelets. Those who regularly read these scribblings will recall that I taught myself how to make these in preparation for my last trip to Cambodia, thinking it would be something I could teach the children. In fact, the bracelet idea didn't go down as well with them as I'd hoped. They liked the bright colours of the embroidery cottons I took and did make their own simpler versions but only one or two had the patience to spend the hour or so it takes to make even the simplest friendship bracelets.

Many colour variations, plus a wider bookmark at the left
and two bracelets in progress at right
However, I found knotting the bright colours into complicated patterns very relaxing, and Marianne and a couple of other volunteers also enjoyed knotting away an hour here and there, so we left behind many friends wearing our bracelets. And I’m still wearing the one Marianne made for me.

I brought some cottons home with me and have continued my knotting some evenings. I haven’t ventured away from the more simple patterns as I find I can still make lovely creations just from varying the colours. I’m not sure what I’ll do with these bracelets but I figure they can also be used as bookmarks, so it may be that I'll gift them to the students in my morning class when we finish our FCE exam course in a few weeks’ time. They’re a lovely group and are all working hard so I think the bracelets/bookmarks will be a good reward for them and a nice reminder of our time together.