I like rice pudding. I know, some people don't. So if you're one of them, every time I say "rice pudding," simply think "mac and cheese," or "chicken tikka masala," or "gingerbread" ... whatever yummy food item conjures up images of comfort and home, happiness, nostalgia, simpler times, and safety. For me, it's rice pudding.
It's comfort food. It's not threatening, edgy, spicy, hard to digest, or difficult to make. I can eat a little or a lot. Sure, it's not exciting, but that's not its place in the world.
I haven't written a lot lately (that's an understatement) mostly because my knitting has been rice pudding knitting. Comfort knitting. Easy, quiet, safe, simple, boring knitting. And most readers don't especially think to themselves "Hey, let's read a blog where they talk about the most boring knitting imaginable," so I've been holding back--but no longer! Today's post is all about Rice Pudding Knitting. Comfort Knitting.
For me, comfort knitting implies the knit stitch. I'm part of the camp that sees the purl stitch as a necessary evil, best avoided if at all possible, like hotels with "Cable TV!" on the billboard out front. So if I'm knitting back-and-forth across rows, I will create the Garter Stitch pattern, and if I'm knitting in the round, I'll create a Stockinette Stitch pattern. That's totally fine with me. I can watch the latest episode of The Block (so exciting during Covid!) streamed off of Channel Nine in Australia (so long as I'm willing to watch ads, they're willing to air Australian TV for me), and carry on with my comfort knitting, knit stich after knit stitch.
You can make lovely things that are basically garter stitch or stockinette throughout. My baby surprise jacket was garter stitch, and the thrill comes not from the pattern, but from the unusual construction method. What a treat to knit something where it's even more fun for you than the recipient (who, being a baby, is generally not conscious of the gift anyway. Stupid ungrateful baby!)
I travelled to Victoria, BC (during that brief period when we were encouraged to leave our neighbourhoods so we could generate tourist income so the taxes would pay for the health care for the cost of us having left our neighbourhoods), and picked up some perfect buttons for it. If you've never knit this item, please, go for it. I can't think when I've enjoyed knitting something more. Do you have a dog raincoat? It's a bit like that--you stare at the flat, unfurled version of itself, and wonder how ever it goes on the dog (or the baby), and then if you bend and fold the right way, suddenly it becomes a sweater. Then you sew the seams so you don't have to go through this each time! (Doesn't work for dog jackets).
For stockinette, nothing could be easiesr than baby hats. These have a bit of purling near the rim (1 row k, 1 row p, 1 row k, 1 row p, etc.) to give it the garter details, but that's quickly disposed of and then you're off to the races with nothing but knit stitches until the top of the hat, done, finished. Lucky for me a friend wanted to give baby hats for Christmas and asked if I could make them. I made four:
Two boys twins in one family, two girl twins in the other family. I didn't have any pink, but I think the white will look very sweet.
Another Rice Pudding project was just too darn comfortable for my own good. I am now the proud owner of an over 20 foot-long scarf (no kidding, not photo-shopped):
To be fair, if it were knit normally, I'd have noticed. But I was using large circular needles, knitting horizontally to get nice long stripes, and had done the math wrong when I calculated how many stitches I'd need. It stayed bunched up on my needles until I cast off, which took three nights, so I gradually realised my error. It is the perfect scarf if you ever go to Paris fashion shoes in the winter, I imagine, because it certainly makes a statement (unfortunately the statement is "The knitter who made me is bad at calculations.")
The next Rice Pudding project isn't remotely finished, but I figured out a nifty use for all my leftover yarn, whether it's just a bit, or perhaps an entire skein not needed, or even a couple of expensive hand-dyed artisan yarn that I just can't figure out what to do with--instead, I simply add them to my Favourite Project of All Time, the large blanket of constant growing-ness:
It's' on massive circular needles and starting to get kind of scrunched, but that can't be helped and certainly doesn't hurt it. Apparently it's some sort of variation on the Log Cabin design (which I've actually never made) and it's awfully easy to make. It might seem tricky, but once you get the hang of it, you never need think about it really, I swear.
You end up with a however large you want blanket with rectangles that are slightly offset but grow on the diagonal like so: You started with the dark blue square bottom right, and you finished with the dark teal stripe at top. (Or you carry on, and it just gets larger with more rectangles in both directions).
I tried to work out the pattern for what I'm doing, but it's the sort of thing that's easy for me to do, but difficult to write down in a structured way. I'm sure you can work it out for yourself, keeping in mind some principles:
just knit back and forth as much as you like, adding in new colours when you're about to knit a Right Side row for the neatest effect.
at some point you will want to pick up stitches along the edge (otherwise you'll just have stripes). Once you do that, plop a stitch marker between the top stitches and edge stitches.
every time you reach that stitch marker, make 1 and move the stitch marker forward to maintain the number of stitches you're currently working on.
When you are bored and decide to cross the stitch marker and knit in the other direction for a change, half the time your new yarn will have to be introduced on the wrong side, or you have to slip stitches, or leave enough yarn hanging so that you only have to slip 'til you get to the old yarn and can finish the row. This is where it gets complicated to explain, but you'll see it in action and figure out whether to live with it or solve it somehow.
Just keep knitting however you want to, continually adding stitches at the corner and moving the marker, and crossing sides when you're bored of your direction.
And other than the Rice Pudding projects, it's just been dishcloths (some of which have, in fact, been too mentally taxing and had to be abandoned). But if they're only slightly taxing (or maybe even crochet!) I don't mind giving them a go, since they're a short time commitment. I've joined a Ravelry group, Dishcloth of the Week, so end up with approximately 1 dishcloth per week, appropriately. Here are a few:
I hope everyone makes it through relatively unscathed, and we have a chance to celebrate during the Holiday Season in a safe but satisfying way. Here's hoping 2021 is substantially better!