Sunday, 6 October 2013

Hoody's and Lace

 James C Brett's Marble hoody has turned out wonderful for my daughter.  First time for pockets which worked out perfectly.  She wanted extra long arms to reach her knuckles so ofcourse I obliged and she's really happy with it!.  I have some yarn left and may crochet a pair of slippers out of them.  I've also completed my Friday Night In Jacket which took ages to complete mainly because I got distracted but also because it's the most complicated project attempted yet which included working out where I was on the decreases (not always a success).  I honestly don't know why this turned out so well but here it is anyway (ignore my podge).

Went onto The Making Spot website which is a combination of articles from Simply Knitting magazine and The Knitter to find that it's been closed (a part from direct links to magazine articles).  What a shock!  I still can't believe it.  I was really impressed with some of the articles found in The Knitter issue 61
My favourite item, which I will be making at some point, is the Sunday Henley by Melissa Wehrle which can be found here.

 It uses American 100% wool but to save on postal costs (to my pocket as well as carbon footprint) I will be choosing from a wonderful wide choice of British yarns.

Another completed project was another zipper pouch (don't you just love them!) which you can never have too many of.  This time it was made for my twin sister and I attempted to machine sew her initials onto the front.  It worked out ok and I so love the material combination I found at my local craft/material/yarn shop.
I've got enough to make another one for me, yaye! 

Now onto my current projects which include a Mystery Knit Along which is a faroese shawl pattern created by Renee Leverington made in 2 ply lace weight 100% Blue Faced Leicester from Countess Ablaze.

It came in a beautifully packaged skein and it took me an hour to create a ball of yarn to work from which actually tuned out to be more of a rugby ball - still beautiful though.  I'm actually waaaaay behind on the knit along.  I've not long finished clue 1 which took a while to get my head around and we're on week 4 (I've not done a shawl before)


This isn't the greatest of photos.  I intended on taking out the paper edges to make it look like a smooth white surface except no matter what I did it didn't work.  Haven't a clue why - just one of those things.  I'm also aware that there are special blocking wires for items like shawls.  I don't plan on making shawls as a habit so it's not worth getting them just for one shawl.  I will have to block by eye.  Will let you know how it goes.

The other project I am currently knitting is a Celtic Cable Zipper Hoody for my other daughter by request.  A free pattern from Bernat but instead I am using Red Heart Yarn's 'Smooth' and it's lovely.  Here it is in it's parts so far...

Not long before I finish it.  It'll be my first zipper to add to a knitted project - wish me luck!  Just the final arm and the hoody to finish, sew up the side seams and arm seams and insert the zipper.

I admit I also sneaked in a crochet project too.  I couldn't help myself.  Someone had given my daughter a ball of yarn to encourage her to crochet, well... she has no crochet desires and after a while I got twitchy.  I ended up starting off a continuous Granny Square and then decided to make a crochet throw for her bed using the unusual colours in the central square (white, orange, pink and purple) around the edge, elongating it to make a rectangle.  I have no idea whether it'll work out but I'll give it a go.
There are so many things I would love to create!  I particularly like King Cole Country Tweed yarn and would love to make an entrelac tee with it.  It may or may not happen as I have another James C Brett project to make in marble but this time it's a V Neck for a neighbour.  After that I am not doing any major project for anyone until next year and only keep to smaller projects for myself.  Selfish?  Yep I suppose it is.

Monday, 23 September 2013

TV Knitting Inspirations

Sometimes I'm watching TV and I "knit spot".  I don't do it on purpose... it just happens.  So there I was watching The Dresden Files and the episode with Claudia Black (above photo) called 'The Other Dick' and she wore a fab lace and ribbon scarf.  I want it!  Does anyone have an idea of who's design it is and how to make it?  More and more I see knitwear on TV that I wish I knew more about.

Another such program was The Returned which views on Channel 4 not so long ago. A french series with

English subtitles and wonderful french knitted garments with great simplicity and design.  I can't actually find decent photos to show what I mean.  It would be great if this sort of information about the designs are more available but until I find out, then it's all a bit of a mystery and will need a little more Miss Marple investigation.  Any ideas anyone?

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Hotness Top

 So I finished my first top for myself!  A free pattern using a tulip lace pattern for the top yoke.  In whatever I make, there's always something new to learn and accomplish.  For this top it required 40cm (16") circular needles.  I've never worked with circulars before and it was a pleasure.  I'd tried using 4mm double pointed needles but the stitches kept slipping off.  My Knitpro fixed circular's are lovely to use.  I used a pearl bind off at the neckline instead of the usual knit bind (or cast) off and I knit through the back loop for all knits on the bottom rib and neck rib.  I much prefer this to the usual knit as it seems to make a more defined rib.  I've also taught myself and used the mattress stitch to sew side seams.

 It took nearly 3 weeks and I'm wearing it now!  I'm sure once the weather turns in Autumn, I will still make use of it with a longs sleeve top underneath.  Although it's an aran weight (medium 4 or 10ply) it's light.

So I made a pose and now I have a new portrait for Pinterest and my facebook and here's a lovely photo of my roses too.

Phew... Back to Posting and some Sewing

So last time I posted I had terrible trouble in not being able to upload photos.  I couldn't use Google Chrome as it wasn't working, I couldn't upload photos or read pdf files.  So I looked at other search engines and now I'm using Firefox and I reloaded Adobe Reader and all is well!  Thank goodness.  I know very little about what how these systems work and what they do so it's amazing I've managed to work it out!

I have made a start on some sewing projects with my Silvercrest (a cheap sewing machine and even cheaper for me as I was given it!).

With a soluble pen, my daughter designed a free form sewing project.  We learned how to set it up and she made a start... I then had to finish it giggle.

I found some free courses on Craftsy and made a drawstring bag

and a couple of zipper pouches too!  The first of which had some wonky stitching ... but it works :)  I'm using it to store some sewing and knitting supplies.

This one was much better...

 I found some free instructions on how to make a peg bag (the link escapes me at the mo) and I used the same zip technique as the pouches which worked a treat...

I suspect there's going to be lots more sewing projects in the future inbetween family life and looking after my garden...
Happy photos from spring time.  I shall make a collage of photos from the summer images I take another time.  I love astilbes (center top photo in collage), my roses are going crazy at the mo (bottom right) and my 2 buddleas (center photo) don't look much at the moment but I'm sure they will thrive.  Bets are on as to whether they will be blue, purple or white - I'm wanting white but when I asked them they told me they were blue and purple giggle.  We'll see.

May the sunshine be shining wherever you are till next time.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

On the Road to Sewing - Beginner Links

Since my last blog, I have been given, yes, given a sewing machine!  Out of the blue, a crafty friend has updated her sewing machine to a super duper brilliant machine so she had a spare.  Yes, it's one of the most basic models but it was FREEEEEEEEE. 

Wow, I was gobsmacked and then I got excited with the prospect of learning about it and how to sew.  Unfortunately, I wish I could show you images but at the moment, I can't upload images and I can't figure out why.  I downloaded the recent explorer 10 and because I couldn't upload photos for blogger, craftsy or flickr (I suspect people are having difficulties with alsorts of other sites) I tried to install Google Chrome as suggested by Craftsy.  Google Chrome does not work at all.  Screaming silently inside.

I disabled the explorer after downloading google chrome - that didn't work so after searching on-line for other solutions a few hours later, and with google chrome uninstalled, I am still stuck several hours later.

Although I can't upload photos, I can pass on some excellent freebie courses with Craftsy.  Enrol for free and you'll get access to some free courses to start you on the road to sewing.  I found these following courses really helpful:

Sewing Machine 911  Works through how to load a sewing machine, how it works and troubleshooting.  My machine made so much more sense after watching this course.

Sewing Machine Feet  A really handy guide and a better understanding as to what feet do on your machine

Bag Making Basics: Drawstring Bag & Bucket Bag by Kristin Link who has a homely charm and her other course...

Bag Making Basics: Reversible Tote & Zipper

And if you have ever thought that zippers were too difficult or wondered how to go about it then Mastering Zipper Techniques will be for you.

I am so buzzing with projects that I want to do!  I made my very first drawstring bag which included my first attempts at applique.  I'm also planning to make a zipper pouch bag (waiting for an Amazon delivery of fusable interfacing, cutting matt, tailors chalk and a rotary cutter all for about £15) ref the above course.  I love the creativity, problem solving and end product of making your own.  There are many more free projects that can be found here and here and here so get searching on the web and see what you can find!

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Domino Baby Blanket

18" x 24"
Skills required - Knit, Pearl, knit 3 together (K3 tog), pick up and knit, 2 needle cast on.  All are easy enough to do and if you are not sure, lots of examples are shown on youtube.
3mm knitting needles
1 100g double knit yarn (acrylic is fine) in white (75g will do it)
1 100g double knit yarn (acrylic is fine) in cream (75g or a little less will do it)
pair scissors
yarn needle

With domino knitting, so long as you have an odd number, it will work.  For this baby blanket, I started with casting on 41 stitches in the white.  Using the shortened code (the letters in bold above) create your first square.

Main Pattern
1st row 41 stitches - k19, k3 tog, k19
2nd row - k all the way across
3rd row 39 stitches - k18, k3 tog, k18
4th row - k all the way across
5th row 37 stitches - k17, k3 tog, k17
6th row k all the way across
7th row 35 stitches - k16, k3 tog, k16
8th row k all the way across
continue with this pattern (k one less either side of the k3 tog on each odd row) until you are left with 1 stitch, snip the yarn about 10cm or where you are comfortable, and thread through last stitch, pull.
Now that you have 1 square, to create the second square, change colour to the cream, pick up and knit (i.e place the needle into a space, wrap yarn over needle and pull it through the space, therefore creating a stitch on your needle) along the left side of the square you have just created until you have 20 picked up stitches, cast on 21 stitches (41 in total).  Knit one row.  Follow the main pattern.
For the third square, continue with the cream, cast on 21 stitches, pick up and knit 20 along the top edge of your first square, knit one row and follow main pattern.
For the fourth square, pick up and knit 21 along the left side of the third square in white and 20 stitches along the top of the second square.  K one row, follow the main pattern.
You will soon discover a ridge running from the bottom right hand corner to the top left corner and that the direction i.e the weft and warp of the stitches run in different directions making this a strong blanket.  I have numbered each square in the order you may want to follow.
Squares 3,5,7,9,11 and 13 running along the right hand side of the blanket will need 21 stitches cast on before picking up the other 20 on the square underneath.

Squares 2,15,17 and 29 require you to pick up and knit 20 before casting on 21.  All of the other squares require pick up and knits along the corresponding squares.

This blanket is great to do in between other projects as it's a bit of a gym work out for your fingers and quite repetitive which suits whilst watching telly or having a good natter at your craft group.

When you've made all 35 squares, using the white, pick up and knit along the long side of the blanket (it means squishing the stitches/blanket closely on the needle).  Knit 1, pearl 1 all the way along.  If you end the row on a knit, start the next row with a knit - if you end the row on a pearl, start the next row on a pearl.  This is the moss stitch.

Make several rows measuring as you go along (18" across with the other side included).  Cast off.  Repeat for the other long edge of the blanket to measure an equal amount of the moss stitch rows to the other side and so that the blanket measures 18 inches across.  Pick up and knit along the top of the blanket, make several rows with the moss stitch. Repeat for the bottom edge making sure to make equal rows as the top and for the length to measure 24".

An alternative would be to cast on several stitches, do the moss stitch for required length and sew onto the relevent edge.

With a yarn needle, sew in all ends into the ridges created on the wrong side.

 Donate to a family member or to a charity!

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Pom Poms and other Projects

When was the last time you made a pom pom?  Have you ever made one?  Homemade with Love magazine has an article which tickled my twirly girlyness and so I thought... why not?!  The more I thought about it the more I loved the idea and so did one of my daughters.  We gathered some scraps of wool and together we created this...

Word:  Happy or
It's mainly her work but when her fingers got tired, I took over and at the end when it was time to snipping around the edge and tieing it... the cardboard ripped and it nearly exploded on me.  So by shear determination, inner swearing and a sweat on my brow I fudged it and managed to hold it together. I breathed a sigh of relief as it had taken allot of hard work to make.  Tip: use strong card when making large pom poms.  Word: Happy or Tuttifruity?  I'm going to make some more... why?  For a pom pom blossom festival of course!  Yes, but why?... I hear you cry again.  At the end of the project, all pom poms will be sold to raise money for charity.  Read the blog on the previous link and you'll see why.  On a more personal note, for me, it's about connecting with other pom pom people (smile), creating something larger than it's smaller parts and yet each small part is an important part of the whole.  It's about sparking an idea with a 'word', what does the word mean to you?  It's contemplation, creation for creation sakes (and not for vanity or to line our own pockets) with strangers and with loved ones if you so wish.  Pom poms rock!
I must say, once I got thinking about the projects in the Homemade with Love mag, I wanted to make alsorts!  Inspirational.  I've just finished decorating my living room and am seriously thinking of using the 50's scientific stencil for my kitchen (maybe with blue walls).  It would work perfectly.  I'm also wanting to use felt for some sewing projects too as that would be a great start for a beginner hand sewer.  I haven't got a sewing machine so the Flower Girl Hoop project is another possibility (though I may choose an illustration to suit my mood).  I love the washi tape article... some other designs can be found here and here oh and here.  Oh the possibilities!  But I best get some of my other projects finished first.
I'm presently making a baby blanket to measure 18" x 24" for charity.  I didn't know where to start.  I searched and searched for alsorts of patterns and nothing really clicked with me (or was the right size) so whilst flicking through The Knitting Answer Book by Rita Taylor, I came across instructions on how to do Domino knitting.  With this in mind and 2 donated balls of wool... one cream, one white I decided to alternate the colours for each square made.  With a set of 3mm needles and the double knit yarn, I made a start...

I've calculated 5 squares across, 7 squares up will work and with a moss stitch edge to make it up to the correct size will complete the blanket nicely.  It's definitely one for doing whilst telly watching or having a good natter to (craft groups are ideal).  I will include full instructions in my next blog.

Another project under way is a pair of socks.  I picked up some double knit yarn (£2.59 for 100g) which is self striping, found an excellent free beginners pattern at Canadian Living and I made my very first sock...

Instead of 4mm double pointed needles (dpn's) I used 3mm as this was at hand plus my knitting is slightly loose, followed the 2nd size and ended up with a really nice size 5 (uk) sock.  I've just got to knit the other one now! giggle.  I am so chuffed!  The instructions were easy to follow and you can see the detail in the heel...

and the decreases in the toe

If knitting with dpn's are new, just make sure you divide the stitches as instructed, pull taught/close between each needle (comfortably not like you're strangling a cat... not that I would strangle anything but you know what I mean), and for the toe the following youtube clip will help you in the kitchener/grafting stitch (I was mighty impressed with how mine turned out).  There is a little mistake in the instructions which states....
Rnd 1: First needle: Knit to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. 2nd needle: K1, sl1, k1, psso, knit to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. 3rd needle: K1, sl1, k1, psso, knit to end of needle. Knit.
Rnd 2: Rep last 2 rnds 4(4,5,5) times more. 5 sts now on first needle, 10 sts now on 2nd needle, 5 sts now on 3rd needle. Knit sts from first needle onto 3rd needle. Break yarn approx 30 cm/11-3/4 ins from last st.



Rnd 1: First needle: Knit to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. 2nd needle: K1, sl1, k1, psso, knit to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. 3rd needle: K1, sl1, k1, psso, knit to end of needle.

Round 2: Knit.

Rep last 2 rnds 4(4,5,5) times more. 5 sts now on first needle, 10 sts now on 2nd needle, 5 sts now on 3rd needle. Knit sts from first needle onto 3rd needle. Break yarn approx 30 cm/11-3/4 ins from last st.

As you can see it's just a simple mis-type of where the 'knit' goes.
Just pick up a cheap ball of wool, some dpn's and give it a go!
My 3rd project is another pullover, slightly more complicated than my last and this is definitely for me!  Another pattern from Simply Knitting which can be found on The Making Spot by Amanda Jones.  I got a little bit scared about button holes but after placing a query on the Ravelry Simply Knitting group, Amanda Jones helped me out and from that I was able to figure out that I could make the jacket with 6 buttonholes instead of the 5.  I've also chosen a much cheaper yarn... it cost me £10 for 800g... is that wrong?  I don't know but it seems to be working out...

Bright and cheery for spring!  Once completed I'll strike a pose.

Oh my such allot to do.  I've also enrolled in a Craftsy course on how to design jumpers.  Looks fab.  So when I can make the time, I will be creating my ideas onto paper and taking it from there.  It was a birthday treat in February.  My daughter made me an on-line voucher for me to spend how I pleased.  Sweet!

I will now end with a story about a badge... or rather the story behind a badge.  It has been made my Dean Bradshaw, who, with enthusiasm and a bundle of care about a boat called 'Framar London' hopes to raise some funds to maintain and make repairs to a 1930's boat.

Even if it's not your thing, I was moved by how much this means to Dean and how much he wants to share the skill, workmanship and care with others.  Such allot is meant by a little badge which he has crafted himself.  You can check out his blog on and if you need to check out the youtube clips, you can mute the music on the right side widget (though it suits the style of the boat).
I hope not to leave it so long until my next blog and maybe make more bitesize pieces rather than a large chunk like this.  Catch ya later alligators. 


From Winter to Spring

I can't believe that the first few months of 2013 have past!  So, as I munch away at an egg sarnie, I  shall type up my first blog since Christmas.  I am shockingly bad at keeping everything up-to-date. Tut tut.
I've discovered since Christmas that I can't stop knitting.  It's an addiction I'm sure!  The love of knitting is due to it's technical and design variations that spark the creative side of my brain.  It's about small achievements which roll over into other small achievements which in turn, lifts confidence and happiness levels then become a heady high.  When the harsh realities of life keep head butting you in the face, it's sometimes nice to sneak away into la la land. 
I have my local craft group to thank for the encouragement and friendship they've given as I've pearled where I should have knitted and nattered when I should have slip one pearled one, giggle.  Mostly I have to unravel what I've created so the moral of that story is is don't take anything too complicated to a craft group! 
One such project I've completed over the first few months of the year was another simple, first pullover project.  It's the same pattern as a previous pullover (which was too big so went to a sister) but with smaller needle size and I used a cream 100% acrylic, brand Stylecraft (Baby) which was super smooth as opposed to a superwash merino (my favourite).  It's worked out a treat....

The Twist

In the blue superwash merino
Another project which I've completed in the first few months of the year is a set of dog coats.  Previous dog coats have gone to the charity shop due to not fitting my sister's Jack Russell.  So I tried again but this time I've followed a pattern that fits over the head of the dog (called Maggie).  It's from Complete Guide to Knitting & Crochet by Nicki Trench which doesn't have a great review on Amazon but because it had a pattern (the book was a gift so pattern was free for me) on dog coats I thought I would give it another go.  I'm sure if Maggie had skinnier legs it would have fitted wonderfully but unfortunately, Maggie is a little rotund and therefore I could have done with extra space for the legs.  Hurrrumph.  I made a small and a medium size and converted a snowflake pattern from a bag.  Here's the result...

So someone, somewhere may have a dog who may have worn these little dog coats.  The idea makes me chuckle for at least someone's dog/s will be warm and benefit from such a striking pair of dog coats!
And finally, I am still making the springtime blanket but it may be finished in Autumn at this rate.  It's such a long project with a few mistakes in the pattern from the Simply Knitting magazine.  I will get it finished.... eventually.