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Jane Austen Knits

   It is a truth universally acknowledged that there is nothing more dangerous than a girl let loose in a craft store with a 40% off coupon. Don't you agree? That's how I ended up treating myself to a copy of Jane Austen Knits, and became inspired to get out the needles and actually finish the project that had languished on them for months (since Christmas, ahem...) and start another!

   Now, I had seen this magazine out in its first edition but thought "there is no way I can knit that complicated stuff, I'm not even going to look." Now I'm sorry I didn't because I didn't realize they also had articles and didn't anticipate that the patterns would get me so inspired to drop everything and knit a bit, it also has me a bit curious....

   You see, I am a pretty adept simple knitter. I can cast on and off with ease and make nice stitches, knit, purl, increase, decrease, rib, and do simple knitting patterns like the seed stitch. I also finally figured out knitting in the round and can whip up a pretty adorable gnome hat, thanks to Dani from Pumpkinhaus.
   But I'm curious about those of you who are skilled knitters--- whipping up things like socks and mittens and sweaters and the like. How did you take your knitting to the next level? How did you learn to make a pattern make sense in your mind and not just like some complicated code made up by the Bingley sisters to keep you in utter confusion? I'd love to know!

  So, any advice on making my way towards advanced knitting would be greatly appreciated. Who knows, maybe I'll get a good jump on this year's Christmas presents! That would be good! At the moment I have some of the blue wool I bought at Shepherd's Cross on the needles and I'm making a button up cowl in the seed stitch. I think I might just make a bunch of odds and ends and then when Christmas comes, decide who gets what. It'll be like shopping in my own knitwear store!

  Of course there will still be lots of painting to do, and I'm still working on the Austen project (Austen on the brain, much? Yesterday I watched Sense and Sensibility and Cold Comfort Farm while knitting. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy Cold Comfort Farm and it's tongue-in-cheek gothic parodies and the costumes!)

  Well, have a good Friday and a good weekend!
Til next time,

 PS: I redecorated the blog yesterday! What do you think of the darker look?


  1. My knitting skills are very basic, but I have been trying to take on a few crochet projects that are slightly more complicated than what I'm used to. I think one of the strongest motivators is to find a few projects that you adore. It sounds like you're on the right track with this book and your fancy yarn!

  2. I have absolutely no advice for your knitting, since scarves and dishcloths are the extent of my skills, BUT I'm loving the Austen trend over here....:) And Sense and Sensibility and Cold Comfort Farm sounds like the perfect double feature to me!

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  4. What pushed me over the edge into more complicated patterns was the yarn! I was in love with all the colorful sock yarn I saw online. The first pair of socks I ever knit was Cookie A's Monkey (http://knitty.com/ISSUEwinter06/PATTmonkey.html) - I found her directions and pattern to be straightforward. Turning the heel takes some close following of the pattern, but once you do it once, you see how all the parts fit together. Have fun!

  5. For my first, more complicated pattern, a sweater, I took a class at one of the local yarn stores (The Lamb Shoppe) and went there to work on it with out distractions of my kids and it really boosted my confidence and I have never looked back. That may work for you. It really is about taking it one piece of the pattern at a time. I often make a copy of the pattern so I can mark it up with a highlighter, so I can remember where I am. I have been eying some of the patterns in the new Jane Austin Knits. I am ready for something new, now that i have knit a bunch of shawls (easy knitting) to satisfy my new fondness for them. Good luck in find that perfect first step to more advance knitting.

  6. I'm much like calicomoon, scarves and dish clothes are about all I know how to knit. Someday I would love to learn how to knit a sweater or maybe just a hat.
    I did notice you redecorated here, it's lovely. Are you dreaming of fall?

  7. A friend showed me that book - it's a-mazing! The perfect recipient of a 40% coupon!
    I'm afraid I'm no knitter or crocheter, but I'd love to teach myself one of these long winters. If only to make something from that book!

    Love the new blog design, too. Makes me just long for Autumn!

  8. Heather, LOVE the new look:) And your pics always inspire and delight me. You have such a unique way with the camera!! As for knitting, I'm not much help there. I can do the basic knit stitch but not much else. But all that beautiful yarn keeps calling! Guess I'm reduced to knitting heroines in my books;)

    Looks like you're having a wonderful summer!!

  9. Before I had to stop knitting because of an old wrist injury flare-up, I was pretty advanced (shaping, circular, lace, cables, colorwork, etc.). My advice is to knit something a bit beyond your comfort zone and if there are things you don't quite understand, look them up on YouTube. I found that with some techniques, it helped to have several different videos! You can always take it apart if it doesn't quite work. I absolutely agree with copying the pattern so you can mark it up. Also--get a couple of stitch counters and lots and lots of stitch markers. I used to use stitch markers to show every single repeat of a pattern I was working on so I wouldn't get lost and have to rip out a bunch of work.

    OMG love Sense and Sensibility and Cold Comfort Farm to bits. Was it the Emma Thompson S&S or the one from Masterpiece Theatre a few years back? I actually like movies based on Jane Austen's books better than the books themselves!

  10. Hi Heather- I wanted to knit socks for the longest time. Last December I tried a very simple tube sock pattern I had in a kids book. It was the challenge of knitting in the round that made me keep pushing forward. By the second pair, I had a good handle on it and did pair # 3 in thin sock wool. It was challenging but I came away with a cute pair of socks for next winter. That is if winter actually comes to Florida!! My next knitting project is to knit something with hand crafted wool like what you just got at Shepherds Cross! It is in the mid 70 s here in Paris. Oh,la,la! There summers are wonderful!

  11. Ahh Heather, I have really enjoyed this post. You see I too have this Jane Austen knitting pattern magazine - a giveaway gift from the lovely Mr Micawber's Recipe For Happiness last December. I love everything about it; the Austen theme, the historical slant and the pure imagination that goes on behind each and every design. Heather, as you may know, my knitting skills are pretty simple; I started two and a half years ago but I have the knitting virus. I think I try to throw myself into a slightly-too-complicated-pattern- for-me thing once in a while. The best thing to do, in my humble opinion, is not to read the print and try and get your head around it rather jump straight into the practical side. This coupled with a philosophical approach to inevitable mistake making and frogging has got me through the very basic barrier.

    I am planning to make the Lambton Top in the Jane Austen Magazine. I just need to work up my nerve a little as it will stretch my knitting ability to the core!

    Have a lovely weekend,


  12. i have not dared to purchase Jane Austen knits, since i would be frustrated that i am not able to knit from it. i will admire then your creations!

    My dream has been to travel to Winchester, where Jane Austen have lived. Strange is that my sister will start studies this autumn in a University in Southampton and Winchester is just under 30 minutes away.

  13. Advice for knitting more complicated things... I say just start and take it one step at a time. If I look at the whole pattern I get all confused but if I take it one step at a time it seems easier....as long as you GET GAUGE first! I find YouTube a fabulous way to learn new stitches and techniques. You can pause and rewind as much as you want. It's like having your own personal teacher.Ravelry is great too.
    Definitely try cables. It's the most fun ever and way easier than it looks! I made this for my first cable project.. it was SO fun! http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/braided-cable-headband-earwarmer
    and I like using these cable needles http://www.amazon.com/Clover-341-U-Cable-Stitch-Holders/dp/B0016N3P7U/ref=pd_sim_ac_1

    That book looks so pretty! I just might have to use my coupon.... :)


  14. Sweaters are easy. Socks aren't hard either. If you can knit in the round, you can do it! If knitting on double pointed needles, make sure you pull the first 2 stitches on each needle extremely tight to avoid holes. After this, it is simply a matter of following the pattern. If you knit lace (I hate it because I hate blocking afterwards, I never block), use a lot of stitch markers between each repeat.
    It really isn't as hard as you think. Just go for it, you'll know it is easy!

  15. ooh, I haven't seen that one. I'll have to check it out. Is it on Instant?

    Every year I'm afraid I've forgotten how to knit and I have to relearn everything. I can't make myself knit when it's 100 outside! :( I also realized that the giant knitted items I make take up a ton of space!

  16. I love Cold Comfort Farm too. Actually, that movie has had a big influence on me in the way that it was an influencing factor for me falling in love with old things. Will message you tomorrow. Life has been wonderfully busy the past days with work in the antique shop and summer excursions. When it´s summer here in Sweden most people tend to get a little bit crazy spending most of the time outdoors- that´s what summer does to you I guess in a cild country such as this

  17. I love your banner! It looks beautiful:) I have so much knitting stuff from several years back when I thought I was going to be a serious knitter! I too can do simple stitches - I have plenty of books on how to do the complicated stuff send me your email (via my email) and I would be more than happy to mail a couple of books to you that I no longer use. I have one that is all romance/period kind of lacy knitting you would love it. I need to de-clutter and this is the perfect excuse:) Have a happy knitting week!

  18. I love that knitting magazine! So inspirational! :) I did notice the new blog banner - it is perfect for you!

  19. Heather, I think I feel the same as you do when I open a knitting magazine, have a look at the pattern and think: gosh! i'll never be able to do that! how come others are able to work it out?

    erm...I think skilled knitters knit so well because they have had some a-few-year practice in knitting (purling, knitting, then destroying what they have done, then starting over and over again...) plus possibly someone around to show them how to do some knitting tricks. I believe everybody must have started with the simple knitting forms and then gradually built up their skills.

    i used to hate knitting. now i find it fascinating. still call myself a knitting beginner but aiming at gaining some more knitting experience. wanna try other patterns, stitches, techniques. also dream about knitting scandinavian mittens, hats and... possibly jumpers in the future. got myself some good book resources. will follow the instructions from them. in the meantime still knitting my Arne & Carlos xmas balls ;) only half way through!

    Just blogged my glass painted Dala Horse. Thought you might be interested in it :)

    greetz x


Each and every comment is appreciated! Thanks for coming to visit me :) ~Heather