The Craft Project

On my 2011 To do list (read this post for context on the yearly lists I create) I placed a handicraft experience. This goal has taken me on a journey from Tasmania Australia to the Netherlands and UK back to Sydney Australia, learning what it takes to engage my “crafty” side, connecting and taking a peek in a new world.

Start of The Project

The Spirit of Tasmania ship crosses the Bass Strait between Melbourne and Devonport in about 9 hours, with the day sailing leaving at 9am. Seas often swell on this stretch, navigating through storms and rain, while whales and other ocean life may be seen. You can stretch your legs by walking around or take a seat and have a drink at one of the bars while soaking up the glorious views en route.

Besides doing a work-out, watching movies and joining a cartoon making workshop, I spoke with an American whose voyage took him down under to join enthusiasts of the ukulele instrument. Imagining sounds of this instrument, I heard the soft sound of… knitting needles. Seeing this lady going about knitting, it seemed so peaceful, trance like, yet a very useful exercise, especially when having to spend time traveling between A and B.

My resolve was that the craft project would be executed through knitting. After speaking with mum, who overcame her astonishment (never seen me doing any handicraft since a very long time, no knitting whatsoever), we set the knitting steps together. After all, I could use some help.

Working on The Project

We went to the shop Schouten Handwerken in Hoorn, the Netherlands. Wilbert patiently and enthusiastically explained knitting necessities, what was achievable-with-a-stretch for a first timer and how to actually do it.

YarnGoal of the project: a scarf. The thread or yarn should have a certain thickness for a beginner. First, the knitting will show quicker result. Second, irregularities from a beginner, who has not developed his or her skill, will be less visible. As thickness of the yarn was a given, final selection of the yarn was then based on my preference for 100% natural fabric and beautiful colors.

Material of the project: wool from Wales. Tools of the project: massive knitting needles (needle size matches yarn size). Wilbert kindly helped placing the wool on the needle and showed how to knit. Overcoming hearing new jargon and seeing knitting magic by a maestro, I had a go and was confident to take it home to continue.

Yarn and needlesInitially under mum’s careful watch that is. A set back was that after a short time the work ended up with more than the 19 loops on the needle. Something had gone wrong and fortunately mum helped “go back in time” with the pattern. Knitting required body adjustment to get into a rhythm and new coördination. I even dreamt of executing the coördination and pattern. This was probably the mind at work to adjust and store my learning.

Working on it became addictive and I could hardly put it away, determined to complete it. I took it with me to granny (talking and knitting go well together) and on the way to the UK. And soon, there was no wool left but a long scarf of about 1.8m. Mum showed how to stitch loose ends and there… A unique scarf.

Result of The Project

After pocketing an incredibly rewarding experience, this is my scarf. I am so proud and thankful.

» Have a look on Wilbert Schouten’s weblog for his knitting adventures and videos.


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