Knitting notebook

by Amanda Fleet
“And then there's this." He held up a shirt. "It'll protect you."


Carrot fingered it carefully. It was made from the wool of Ramtop sheep, which had all the warmth and softness of hog bristles. It was one of the legendary woolly dwarf vests, the kind of vest that needs hinges. ― Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!


I've only fairly recently taken up knitting - in the last year in fact. I started because I began taking my mum - who is a keen knitter - to a "Knit and Natter" group, to give her a change of scene and meet new people. I couldn't knit when we started going; I took along cross-stitch to do instead. But everyone else there was knitting for charity - hats for sailors, blankets for children in crisis, blankets for the homeless, gloves, neck-warmers... All around me would be the clickety-click of needles, and the chatter and laughter of a group of about 12-15 women, almost none of them actually looking at their knitting as they nattered. Mum loved it!

It was great fun - lots of chat, with a cuppa and a biscuit halfway through, but I realised I was failing at both parts of "Knit and Natter". I couldn't knit, and I needed to count too much in my cross-stitch to even contribute any nattering. And to be honest, although my cross-stitch went into the Christmas Fayre and raised money for charity, it didn't feel quite as virtuous as actually making something useful. It also occurred to me that I was in a room with an absolute wealth of knowledge and that I really shouldn't let that go to waste.

So, I learned to knit.

My mum has tried to teach me many times and I've always been a disaster. I think this has mostly been because I'm really neither right- nor left-handed, but a mix, and all too frequently, I would get halfway down a row of knitting and clean forget which way I'd started out. Was I knitting left-handed? Or right-handed?

After a few false starts, Mum managed to teach me to knit right-handed (though actually, when you watch me knit, all of the needle manoeuvring is done with the left. The right needle barely moves!) and now, I'm probably best described as 'an enthusiastic amateur'. I'm keen. I'm just not very technically proficient!

Yes, yes, all terribly nice, but what has this got to do with stationery?

Well, because I keep a knitting notebook!

[Yes, of course I do. This is me... I have a notebook for everything!]

I'm using a Rhodia A5 dot-grid notebook, but pick whatever book you want! I chose the Rhodia partly because I had one (always a good start) and partly because I wanted a dot grid book. Despite my love of B5 notebooks for writing, A5 is probably my favourite size for a notebook and I have a lot of them! (The decal came from Etsy. My only dismay with using the Rhodia is that the decal couldn't go right in the middle of the cover because the Rhodia logo is there.)

A Clairefontaine A5 dot grid would work perfectly!

At the front of the book, I'm keeping notes about what I've knitted, along with pictures (sometimes) and also notes on techniques I've learned. At the back is a list of the wool I've bought and what it's been used for (and how much is left). The dot grid is ideal, because it's allowed me to make tables for yarn at the back, and also plan out a huge (a.k.a. 'over ambitious') blanket, made up of 81 individual knitted squares in the project section at the front.

I don't think I'll ever be as proficient as my mum, or the women at "Knit and Natter" and I know there will be a day when I won't be able to lift the phone to mum in a panic with, "Mum, I've dropped a stitch and it's gone back three rows! What do I do?" But knitting with my mum - whether at "Knit and Natter" or just the two of us sitting knitting together - has brought us even closer, and I know I will want to look back on that journey in the future. Hence the notebook.


I did this scene in 'Lars and the Real Girl' where I was in a room full of old ladies who were knitting, and it was an all-day scene, so they showed me how. It was one of the most relaxing days of my life. ― Ryan Gosling