Back in May, when my life appeared to be at its busiest, an email pinged in to my inbox from We Are Knitters - the home of gorgeous yarn and knitting kits - asking if I wanted to take a closer look at one of their kits with a view to sharing it on my blog if I liked it.
And I was torn.
I love to knit despite having only very basic knit one, pearl one skills, and I was really keen on the idea of getting stuck in to something a bit more substantial, but how to eke out a spare half hour in my day to actually sit down and enjoy it? I didn’t want it to become a burden on top of everything else that I feel guilty about not getting round to every day.
But then looking at the screen time stats on my iPhone and spotting that I waste up to an hour aimlessly scrolling through instagram of an evening, spending time on a hobby that is said to lower your heart rate and blood pressure and reduce harmful blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol seemed like a much better and healthier way to wind down every day.
So if you’re an Instagram fan and have been wondering where I’ve disappeared to over the past few weeks, I’ve been sat on my sofa, patio doors open, Season 3 of Stranger Things on the TV, feet up on Paul, and knitting myself a blanket ready for the appearance of autumn. And I’ve loved it - despite being covered in chunky wool on some of the hottest nights of the year.
So let me tell you a bit more about We Are Knitters, in case you’re not already familiar with them. As well as being a one stop shop for knitting and crochet supplies, We Are Knitters offer amazing kits that come with everything you need to work on your chosen project - the pattern, the needles, the yarn, and a sheet of cute stickers that my boys spotted and stole within seconds.
The hardest part is picking a kit as there are so many to choose from. Helpfully, We Are Knitters split them by level and by type. So you could, for example, try your hand at a beginner level beanie, an intermediate level top, or an advanced level scarf … or any variation along those lines. Then you get to choose the colour of your wool and, trust me, you’re seriously spoilt for choice.
I can’t resist a cosy blanket, so I was immediately drawn to the knitted home accessories kits. And because I haven’t knitted anything in a fair few years, I clicked on beginner level. I ended up with three on my shortlist and took advice from We Are Knitters to narrow it down to the Medea blanket (a chunky wool is easier to knit with so you see results faster, keeping you motivated) in forest green and priced at £165, although I received it free of charge in order to test/review it.
Both the instructions and the pattern were relatively easy to follow, although I kept having to count and recount the 70 stitches when casting on. If you find yourself struggling, head to the video tutorials on the We Are Knitters website. I had to remind myself how to slip a stitch and found it much easier to follow along with somebody showing me rather than trying to grasp the concept in a sentence or two. The WAK blog is packed with tips and inspiration too, so have a browse when you have a few minutes spare. You will end up with a list of potential projects to tackle though, be warned.
Having now completed my blanket, here are some facts for you:
Number of checks completed to ensure only 70 stitches had been cast on: 12
Time spent knitting every evening: 1 hour
Number of rows completed in one hour: 10 -12, depending on how distracting/entertaining Stranger Things was (and I’m not a fast knitter)
Amount of weeks the project took: Five (I didn’t knit every day)
Number of breaths held at the end of every row in anticipation of me not following the pattern correctly: 70 - the ‘even’ row pattern is slightly more complicated than the ‘odd’ one
Mistakes made: One, and if you’ve watched episode 8 of season 3 Strangers Things, you’ll appreciate exactly why. The NeverEnding Story. It’s possibly the best three minutes of TV I’ve seen in forever. I lost track of where I was and missed slipping a couple of stitches. Did I go back and rectify the mistakes? No, I did not. I love that little imperfection. And every time I spot it, I’m reminded of this. And it’s also what makes my blanket that tiny bit different from everyone else’s and it’s a true memory of the summer of 2019.
My chunky hand knitted blanket now sits proudly in a basket in my living room ready to be thrown over laps whether the weather takes a downward turn in autumn. I’d never wish away the warmer months, but I really can’t wait to use it. It’s so nice.