Knitting was however all around me – in Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey I saw old women knitting at street stalls, and selling the colourwork socks, slippers and mittens they made.
We were 10 days in Turkey and I didn’t see any yarn for sale, nor was it easy to find internet intelligence on where to buy yarn there. One blogger talks about finding a yarn store in Amasya (Becky of Arabia) , but we were there for only one full day (on which we did two mountain hikes) so I didn’t have either the time or energy to wander through the suburbs as she describes to find the store. There was also evidence of hand knit items in Turkey, mostly as display items in cafes, shops, guesthouses and the like:
and I occasionally saw women knitting, or wearing handknit items.
In Georgia I again saw older women running souviner stands like this one:
crocheting and knitting goods for sale, and in fact it was in Tblisi, Georgia that I found three (yes three) yarn shops! One in the old town was part of a souvenir store and stocked what looked like handspun, presumably Georgian, yarn in a range of colours both natural and dyed – we passed by when it was closed and did not return later in the day as originally planned as I found two other stores later on. However, the main area for yarn in Tbilisi is in the underpass shops here:
– thanks to My Tbilisi Tales for the blog information or we would never have found this place! Several shops there sell a wide range of yarn and notions, and I picked up a skein of forest green wool/acrylic blend for 2.50 GEL for something I was working on – more on that in a minute. These stores all sell the handspun Georgian yarn too (but I have limited space in my rucksack!), and also an excellent range of beads as well which were very tempting too.
So when I last updated, I had finished the Changing Seasons beret and had cast on for the Ethereal Shawl, which is now complete, and will get its first airing tomorrow on a five hour bus journey:
But until recently it had been hibernating, as the lovely Bethan had asked me via email to knit a cushion cover wedding gift for her brother and sister in law.
Bethan is not a knitter, so I sent her to Ravelry to choose a pattern, and she liked both the Smushion by Emma Folds (free pattern on Ravelry) as well as a moss stitch envelope flap style. So I combined the two styles and added some personalisation through lettering as requested; this project had a deadline as the wedding was imminent!
I had a couple of issues to resolve – the first being gauge. The Smushion is written for a chunky gauge using 7mm needes. I had sport weight (the grey cone) and a 3.5mm needle with me – so I cast on twice the recommended amount of stitches, knit for a while and measured. I was about an inch too wide, so I ripped and recast less the amount of stitches I was getting to the inch (12 stitches), and this worked out.
My other problem was directionality. Bethan wanted lettering on the cushion, and after doing a quick bit of online research it was clear that the method most preferred by knitters out there for this would be duplicate stitch (I had been considering intarsia, but after reading the discussions decided to go with duplicate stitch). The Smushion is knitted vertically to incorporate the three cables, which meant my duplicate stich wouldn’t work, as I needed horizontal stitches for it. I googled this one too – Bonne Marie Burns at Chicknits has a way of doing horizontal cabling, but looking at it I thought it was more a travelling stitch than a true cable. The other options were a few hats that used horizontal cables around the brim – but all of these were worked seperately and then stitches either picked up for the body or they were sewn on to a completed hat body. So I went with this method and worked the front in 7 panels – 4 plain stocking stitch sections and 3 cable panels, and sewed them al together at completion, which worked fine, and was great for carrying around in my handbag. I then duplicate stitched the two inner stocking stitch sections.
I worked a moss stitch envelope flap and a plain stocking stitch back, and edged the flap in single crochet incorporating two button loops. The forest green yarn from Turkey was used in the lettering and edging – colour scheme chosen by Bethan:
So what next? I have cast on and nearly completed the Curvy Squares Tee by Bonnie Paul, from the free Interweave download Entrelac Knits with the remaining sport weight grey yarn – I am short of basic tees on this trip (and they have been hard to find as the northern hemisphere goes into winter), and hopefully will get this done in the next few days. I have picked up yarn in both China and northern Vietnam, and still have most of the green Turkish skein – decisions, decisions…