Sunday, 27 December 2015

Baby Goth

October 2015

This project was a joy from start to finish. I bought the yarn at Yarndale 2015 in Skipton during a lovely knitting holiday with friends, and cast on shortly after I got back. It seemed to knit up in no time, and I've had a lot of very kind compliments on it.

I know skulls aren't everybody's cup of tea, and I'm not sure that the grandparents approve, but for anyone with a bit of an inclination towards the gothic like me, it is the cutest pattern ever. As soon as I saw it I knew my little girl needed one.

The skull pattern is made using intarsia, which is a technique I often tend to avoid since it can be a bit of a faff. In this case it wasn't quite as bad as I'd remembered. Ok, every skull means two loose ends to sew in, but if you embark on this project knowing what to expect it's no big deal, probably because it's so tiny.

If I can get some cute modelled pictures after she is born I will try to come back and add them, although something tells me I might not have as much time for blogging at that point!

ETA: voila!

Pattern: Baby Goth Cardigan by Baby Goth Knits
Size: Newborn
Yarn: Garnstudio DROPS Karisma Superwash dark grey/ off white
Needle: 3.5mm
On ravelry: here

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Wee Carson

September 2015

My third attempt at steeking (working fairisle in the round and then cutting into it to create an opening) and the first time I did it all by myself without any help from my Mum. Ok, I didn't have much choice, as I was on holiday at the time, but even so, I was proud of myself.

There are two ways to reenforce the knitting to prevent it from fraying before you cut it, crochet or machine stitching. Last time (for Hedgerow) I used machine stitching but having not taken my sewing machine on holiday with me, I had to use crochet this time. I think it would have been strong enough to hold on its own, as Felted Tweed is wonderfully grippy, but when I got home I added a few rows of machine stitching just to be doubly sure.

Of all the steeking resources I've looked at the few times I've used the technique, Kate Davies' series of tutorials - starting with this one - are among the best. It is a subject one tends to read up on quite a bit before attempting even the second and third times, since to thought of cutting into knitting with scissors seems to terrifyingly wrong.

With the right preparation and the right yarn it's fine though. Honestly.

My gauge on 2.75mm needles was 27.5 stitches to 10 cm over stranded colour work, which was the closest I was likely to get to the recommended 28 stitches to 10 cm. This is possibly a bit tighter than Felted Tweed was intended to be knit, but I think it works great, and as this pattern called for something that would steek well, but at the same time I wanted it to be washable, the choices were limited.

I'd guess this will fit at about 3-6 months at my gauge. I felt like it was going to end up much bigger as I was working it up, but this cardigan has a series of rapid decreases near the underarm which give it the a-line shape and so the finished chest measurement is quite a bit smaller than the measurement around the bottom hem. I should have trusted Ysolda, she knows what she is doing.

The zip was installed by my Mum, a 10" chunky open zip in navy blue. It was really difficult to track down a zip so short which was also open ended, but there are some instructions about how to shorten a zip yourself included in the pattern for anyone who finds it impossible. You've got to love a pattern which anticipates your problems like that, and solves them for you.

Pattern: Wee Carson by Ysolda Teague
Size: 3 months
Yarn: Rowan Felted Tweed in Seafarer (dark blue), Scree (pale blue), Hedgerow (mid green), Watery (blue/green), Camel (beige), Carbon (dark grey), Maritime (mid blue), Avocado (light green)
Needle: 2.75mm
On ravelry: here

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Anikka Dress

August 2015

Having found out that I'm expecting a girl in December, I naturally trawled through my ravelry favourites for all those baby girl project I had loved but not knitted up yet. It's a pretty long list, but this dress just leapt out at me.

Having only had a son so far, I've no idea how useful or practical a dress like this is going to be, particularly in such a small size, but time will tell. One thing to be said for it (other than the obvious cuteness factor), is that this style of dress is bound to fit for a long time, since as the baby grows it can become a tunic and eventually a vest. That's a gratifying feeling.

I really enjoy stranded colour work, but I'm more used to doing it in 4-ply and on a larger scale than this, so this dress felt as if it knitted up in no time. I'd definitely make it again if I needed a last minute gift for a friend's baby girl.

The dress is worked bottom up with a crocheted buttonhole at the neck for ease of getting it on and off. I'm absolutely terrible at crochet, but even I could manage such a tiny bit of chain without having to enlist help. Yay me.

Pattern: Anikka by Vivian Aubrey
Size: 3 months
Yarn: Berroco Vintage dk 2143 Dark Denim and 2194 Breezeway, John Lewis Heritage Merino in cream
Needle: 3.50mm
On ravelry: here

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Daybreak Shawl

July 2015

I’m pregnant. In knitting terms that means time to stop making sweaters for me (I won’t be able to fit into them soon anyway) and start with the baby stuff. But first of all I needed a nursing shawl. I’m very pro-breastfeeding and the right to do it in public, but at the same time I get self conscious without some sort of cover-up.

That being the intended purpose of this shawl, is being called Daybreak made me smile. I should be seeing a fair few of those with a newborn to look after.

This yarn (the Mabel & Ivy part) was purchased with the intention of making Dessine-Moi Un Mouton which, one day, the leftovers will. But in the meantime I needed to use that colour combination somewhere else.

Actually this isn’t the happiest marriage of yarn and design. The inside edge of the shawl is very tight, and Supersoft, being pretty much a pure wool 3-ply, snaps very easily. I’ve snapped a couple of stitches already by blocking it, but I caught them before they ran, and it’s not impossible to repair that sort of thing. Disasters like that have befallen me before.

When I get around to using the Supersoft again, I’m going to hold it double which should hopefully make it a bit stronger. Dessine-Moi Un Mouton calls for 5-ply anyway so hopefully I’ll be able to get gauge that way.

This was my first go at taking pictures of a shawl by stringing a line between two picture hooks on a blank wall and pegging it to that, an idea pinched from elsewhere on Rav, and I think it looks great. I didn’t want to put the pictures back up.

Pattern: Daybreak Shawl by Stephen West
Size: Large
Yarn: Main colour - Skein Queen Voluptuous Skinny in brown and contrast colours - Mabel & Ivy Supersoft in (from top to bottom) Calypso, Dark Apple, Kingfisher, Marlin and Mariner
Needle: 3.00mm
On ravelry: here

Friday, 18 December 2015

Skull Mittens

July 2015

Having recently made this sweater for my little boy, I had quite a lot of the beautiful rainbow coloured Kauni 8/2 Effektgarn left over, and so I thought I would treat myself to a pair of these mittens.

I'd spotted the pattern some time ago during one of my random searches of ravelry for goth inspired projects, so it was good to have the excuse to finally knit the mittens up, even if I wasn't going to get much use out of them at the height of summer. A non-fingerless option is also included in the pattern, but I find fingerless more practical on the whole.

The Kauni 8/2 Effektgarn is a pure wool, and not the softest, so mixing it with some super soft merino made a certain amount of sense as well as providing a nice plain background to show off the rainbow colours. Sticking to one background colour meant that as the skulls made their way through the rainbow, some of them were bound to stand out more than others, but I love the overall effect.

During the course of knitting up these mittens, I discovered the Addi make 30cm and even 20cm circular needles, which are short enough for mittens like these, socks, etc. It wasn't easy to justify buying a pair when I already owned DPNs in the right size, but I was so curious to give them a try that I bit the bullet. I have to say that I'm very glad I did, as I found they gave a far smoother result and weren't in the least bit uncomfortable to use, as you might expect with such a short cord. Colourwork on DPNs is something I can do, but it's no fun, and never looks very good (pre-blocking at least).

I made the second mitten slightly differently from the first - after finishing the thumb gusset, I worked the thumb itself and then went back to finish off the top of the mitten rather than vice versa. Doing it that way was definitely better from a technical point of view, as it meant that the colour transition ran a lot more smoothly, as making the thumb used far less yarn. Working the top of the mitten and then the thumb made for a bit of a violent jolt.

Pattern: Skull Mittens by Jennifer Thompson
Size: Small
Yarn: Garnstudio DROPS baby merino (black) and Kauni 8/2 Effektgarn (rainbow)
Needle: 2.00mm
On ravelry: here

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Hans Hedgehog, and the Appleton le Moors Back to Back Challenge

May 2015

In 1811 at Newbury, Berkshire, a one thousand pound wager was made to take the wool from a sheep's back and turn it into a coat for a man’s back in one day. Watched by 5,000 people, the coat was completed in thirteen hours. The sheep was eaten and much beer was drunk to celebrate.

In 2015 at Appleton le Moors, North Yorkshire a group of volunteers recreated the event - this time with three Alpacas - in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. They didn't eat the Alpacas afterwards. We live in a more enlightened age, so there was a Chilli and Tortilla night instead. 

The weekend kicked off with the shearing of the alpacas, and their wool was then carded, spun and knitted into a sweater which went on to be raffled-off at the village pub. In total, just over £4,000 was raised over the course of the weekend.

Our own contribution to the process was modest - we visited mid-morning on the Sunday, by which point the knitting was all but done. There was surplus wool to be carded and spun, though, and our 3 year old gamely had a try of all the different machines. 

Luckily the cake stall was still well stocked, and a local accordionist was laying on a few tunes. We visited the three freshly shorn Alpacas and tried to befriend a few of the lambs which seem to wander freely in the village. Well, our little boy did, anyway.

We were given a ball of leftover yarn to take home with us, and it was really nice to work with such a raw, unprocessed fibre for a change. For a little while I was stumped for a pattern that would do it justice.

The unprocessed alpaca yarn was a mottled brown colour and had been spun to what I would guess to be a reasonably chunky weight. Looking at it, it seemed to suggest about 15/16 stitches to 10cm would give a nice fabric.

With this in mind, I scoured that great thief of time, ravelry for projects which would suit 100m or so of chunky brown yarn. And I found Hans. 

The nice thing about hedgehogs is that size isn't really important, and all I needed to worry about was getting a fabric dense enough for the stuffing not to show through. 5.00mm needles seemed to do that fine. 

My version followed the modifications set out here, giving it a tummy which was the same shade of brown as the face. It just seemed truer to life that way, although that may be as much based on cartoon depictions of hedgehogs as real lie ones. Blame Beatrix Potter.

When my little boy is feeling tired or in need of a cuddle he has a habit of telling me "I'm only a little baby hedgehog" and making meeping noises. Where it comes from I have no idea, but I find it very endearing, and so I thought a cuddly hedgehog would make a good gift for him, and a cool keepsake of the back to back challenge.

Pattern: Hans my Hedgehog by Margaret Bloom
Size: Irrelevant
Yarn: John Lane's Alpacas chunky homespun
Needle 5.00mm
On ravelry: here

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Puerperium Cardigan

April 2015

Sometimes, when one of your knitter friends gets pregnant it’s really hard to know what to make for the baby. And sometimes you get a special request. Thank you Lizzy for making life easy.

I modified this a little, using a contrasting colour for the button band, collar and cuffs. This was knitted on as as I went by twisting the two yarns around each other. A really great tip I picked up somewhere is to slip the first stitch purl wise every row when making a garter stitch border. It looks SO much neater.

I loved the Sirdar Crofter. It was really soft and the self striping fair isle effect is really pretty. It doesn’t feel as if it would be warm enough for a British winter, but this little cardigan is for a summer baby, so that’s just fine. I never got around to making one (as other friends had whipped them up already) but I had enough left over for a hat, which is great yarn economy.

Lizzy was expecting a little boy, but didn’t want anything too traditionally blue. Hopefully this fits the bill.

Oliver arrived just per a week ago, weighing just over 10lbs, and his Puerperium fits great - not for long, though!

Pattern: Puerperium Cardigan by Kelly Brooker
Size: Newborn
Yarn: Sirdar Crofter Baby Fair Isle Effect dk
Needle 3.50mm
On ravelry: here

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Chugga Chugga

March 2015

In one of the Thomas the Tank Engine stories, an engine called Percy notices some workmen wearing scarves and decides he would like one himself, to keep his funnel warm.

Repeated readings of that story taught my son the phrase "I want a scarf!" which he took great delight in repeating. Chugga Chugga is the pattern I chose for him.

George even attempted to help knit it (I let him stab at it with a spare DPN under close supervision). In the story, Percy winds up wearing the Fat Controller's trousers as a scarf, but it isn't anywhere near as racy as it sounds.

This was my second double knit project (the first was a Winter is Coming scarf). I love the way double knitting looks - the orientation of the pictures length-ways more than the more traditional width-ways gives a really interesting and elegant result. But man, does it go slowly.

Casting on, casting off, and edging resources are saved in my notes on Winter is Coming.

Now that the scarf is finished George has expressed a certain scepticism about wearing it, but then it is April. I'll give him another chance next winter before I go ahead and unleash hell.

This pattern was written for worsted, but I used 4-ply in order to make it more child sized. It's wide enough, I reckon. The 4-ply was leftover bits from this sweater.

My tension was an unholy mess, which I why I went down to 2.5mm, and even then it wasn't pretty. I might treat myself to a Norwegian Thimble next time I want to double knit something, because I love a gadget and it is supposed to help with tension. Thank goodness I used a yarn which blocked nicely.

My Dad has requested a matching scarf. Cute idea, but he can wait until Christmas.

Pattern: Chugga Chugga by Laura Chamberlain
Size: Toddler
Yarn: DROPS Fabel (blue) / King Cole Zig Zag (white)
Needle 2.50mm
On ravelry: here

Tuesday, 21 July 2015


March 2015

This gorgeous yarn was a Yarndale 2014 purchase, which I had originally intended for Stasis  but on swatching I changed my mind. I think Stasis needs something more tweedy or rustic. Instead I just about managed to my measly 300g into one of these instead.

This project taught me that in generally, but particularly with a slightly variegated yarn like this one, I really must alternate skeins. There’s no pooling but far more white patches in the yoke (first skein) than the rest of it. Well I can see it...

As I was low on yarn, I shortened the sleeves and had to cast off with another grey sock yarn because I ran out. I think it looks alright though.

I’m a total convert to blue faced leicester. It’s amazing. Light and soft as merino, but not so pricey. 

This is a totally gorgeous pattern, though at times the instructions felt slightly more wordy than they needed to be, and I ended up not referring to it very much once I got into the swing of it.

Thunder is a great name for this purpley grey colour. I'd say it's truest in the photo where I have my arm across my chest. I love the purpleness it seems to develop in shady spots, though.

Pattern: Ink by Hanna Maciejewska
Size: 34"
Yarn: Eden Cottage Yarns BFL Sock
Colour: Thunder
Needle 3.25mm
On ravelry: here

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Corona Borealis meets Nikka Vord

January 2015

Oh how I miss those winter days when one can just cast on sweater after sweater with complete abandon, safe in the knowledge that they will come in extremely useful. I wasn't made for warm weather.

Two of my favourite pattern collections of recent times have been Stranded Knits by Ann Kingstone and The Shetland Trader Book Two by Gudrun Johnston. For a little while at the start of this year, the latter was unavailable in the UK due to changes in the EU tax system. However, (and not meaning to suggest for a minute that anyone is influencing anyone else's work) I did notice something of a similarity between Gudrun's Nikka Vord and Ann's Corona Borealis.

In fact the more I thought about it, the more convinced I was that all I needed to do to make a perfect hybrid of the two was choose the right colours, add a few stripes, and make Corona's neckline a little higher. So that is what I did.

Having various shades of Felted Tweed left over from Hedgerow, this project didn't set me back a great deal of money. The main colour is a shade called Camel, which I bought using a John Lewis voucher I'd been given for Christmas. The stripes are in two shades of blue - 170 Seafarer and 152 Watery. The stars start off in a brown shade called Treacle, but then shift slightly to a dark purple called Bilberry. Running right through the middle is a pop of yellow and blue one row wide, made using Watery again, and a yellow shade called Mineral. Having recently finished Hedgerow, I was feeling something of an expert with colour, although the palate of Felted Tweed is so pretty I'm not sure you can go far wrong.

The end result is one of the most wearable sweaters I've got, and I've even had some success machine washing it, but only on the very lowest temperature on a wool wash and with nothing else inside the machine with it. Felted Tweed is one of those yarns - if you're not very careful with it, it can very easily felt and shrink.

Pattern: Corona Borealis by Ann Kingstone
Size: Custom (34/36)
Yarn: Rowan Felted Tweed dk
Colours: Camel, Seafarer, Watery, Treacle, Bilberry and Mineral
Needle 3.00mm
On ravelry: here

Monday, 4 May 2015

Rainbow Colours

My adventures in the world of rainbows began about five years ago, when my mother returned from a holiday in Estonia with an enormous skein something labelled 'Aade Lông Artistic 8/2', and little idea of what to do with it. I  was very much into practising my lacework at the time, and so after some debate over how exactly we were going to do justice to such a beautiful yarn, we mutually settled on this Woodland Shawl, (available for free on the Thrify Knitter's blog). When it gets to that time of year when a scarf is necessary, it might as well be one which it cheers you up just to look at, and that's what I love about this project.

These days I'm all about the colour work, and that fits in with the rainbow trend rather nicely. This möbius scarf I recently finished was originally based on Elinor Brown's two-tone Min Ulla Scarf, but armed with a copy of 150 Scandinavian Knitting Designs by Mary Jane Mucklestone, I went a bit off the rails and started improvising. I was using leftover scraps of Rowan's Felted Tweed dk, though, and I was confident that its beautiful colour palate would shine through whatever I did. Worked in a tube on a small circular needle, and then grafted into a loop with kitchener stitch, this is the ultimate throw on over any old thing when you feel like wearing hand-knitting sort of project. It clashes with nothing because it clashes with everything. 

Another colour work motif I'd had my eye on for a long time was the little cars used in Biler by Hanne Thorsen. Having a three 3 year old son means I get a lot of requests for transport themed knitwear, but the cartoon style of these little cars appealed to me too. I cheated a little with this project, and used a self striping yarn called Kauni 8/2 Effectgarn in a rainbow colour way. A pure wool 5-ply, its long colour transitions reminded me a great deal of the Aade Lông Artistic 8/2, but to make each rainbow stripe nice and distinct from the adjacent ones, I cut the yarn and wound it on a bit each time. The leftover bits came in useful for the sleeves, though, so there was no real waste, and the nice thing about doing it that way was that I had all the colours I needed in one place without having to go digging about in my stash. 

George seems happy with his new jumper, despite my annoying habit of asking him to tell me all the different colours in it every once in a while. Because knitwear can be educational too. 

Rainbow projects don't necessarily require fancy stitching to look great, though. Patterns such as this Gift Wrap Sweater, and this Honeycomb Stroller Blanket use nothing more complicated than knitting, purling and slipping stitches. I threw together dk acrylics by Stylecraft, The Women's Institute for Hobbycraft, Patons and Hayfield for mine, so they were both real stash-busters.

These projects both demonstrate the potential of rainbow projects to be gender-neutral, which is obviously very useful when it comes to knitting for babies. There are other neutral colours, but none of them are quite as much fun to knit, to look at or to wear.

It can take a little time and effort to find the right shades to make up your perfect rainbow, particularly if you are planning to combine them with a background colour. For example with the light greys featured in some of these projects, it took a little searching to find blues, greens and purples which stood out enough to look good. These days if I'm in any doubt I tend to make a swatch and then see how it looks in a photograph. It's a great way to put enough distance between me and my work for me to form an objective opinion.

Rainbows don't need to dominate a project in order to be effective - top of my ravelry queue at the moment is Kate Davies' Cockatoo Brae a beautiful cardigan with a small colour work band around the yoke which tones down the trend for a more sophisticated look. Similarly, Sourpatch by Corrina Ferguson features a solid coloured body with coloured stripes around the yoke. Worked in rainbow colours, as here, it makes a quick and fun project for a little girl.

I think the trend is such an enduring one because it's great fun to knit with so many colours (even if it does sometimes mean sewing in a lot of ends), and the results are always so pretty and eye-catching.

Whatever stage your knitting is at, there's a rainbow project to suit you, and make your hard work 'pop'. There are so many yarns in so many beautiful colours out there, and whilst noone will ever be able to use all of them, it certainly is fun to try!

This post is my submission to the Deramores Craft Blog Competition 2015. Deramores is the UK’s number one online retailer of knitting and crochet supplies. Visit for more details.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Transport Pullover

January 2015

I was in the middle of an adult sized single colour stocking stitch sweater when I signed up for this test knit, desperate to tackle something with a little bit more interest. One day I will go back to making something for George which doesn't have vehicles of some kind on it, I'm sure, but at the moment, of all the patterns I show him he does seem to favour this sort of thing. He has his eye on this one next.

This pattern was written for 4-ply weight yarn, and the largest size was 2 years. I though my little boy would love it, though, and so I offered to test it on the basis that if I used dk weight yarn, and made 6 month old size I would be working at a much looser gauge than the pattern was written for, I end up with something that fits a 3 - 4 year old.

My gauge was 24 sts to 10cm, and my schematic:

Length: 45cm
Chest: 66cm
Underarm seam: 26cm

The construction of this was really interesting. The body was knit back and forth to the underarm, and then sewn together to create a seam up the middle of the back. The arms were knitted separately and then joined with the body at the underarm, so that the yoke could be worked in one piece. For the most part the yoke was worked back and forth, allowing for one of the raglan seams to remain open and be fastened with buttons later. That made the colour work so much more straightforward, and it's a great help to have such a large neck opening when it comes to dressing and undressing.

I added an extra row of trains at the top of the yoke.

The main yarn was King Cole Moods Duet dk. The other colours were just scraps of various dk weight acrylics I had stashed.

Pattern: Transport Pullover by Pinar Ürün Sizun
Size: 3-4 years
Yarn: King Cole Moods Duet dk
Colours: Stonewash
Needle: 3.25mm
On ravelry: here

Friday, 3 April 2015


December 2014

I’m mildly disappointed with this, as it’s a really beautiful yarn and a really beautiful pattern, but the finished product just doesn’t seem to want to fit as one would hope it to, and so it’s less enjoyable to wear than the sum of its parts should make it.

You start with the lace panel, which is knitted from the middle out. Then, starting from the middle again, you make stocking stitch strips to frame it top and bottom, which when they are long enough, and joined to the live stitches from the side edges of the panel. You do a little clever tinkering after a few rows, to take account of where the sleeves will need to go, but then you just knit outwards until you have two panels wide enough to make the front of a cardigan. It’s very clever, and nothing like any other project I’ve tackled.

I tweaked the pattern as I went, adding a bit of length, and short row shaping to try to bring the two edges of the cardigan a little closer to meeting when hanging at an angle. I also followed uncials notes with regard to the sleeves, but even so I find this is a little wider across the shoulders than it really ought to be.

The trickiest part was the collar. Initially I followed the pattern as written, but that gave me a really wide collar which seemed to always be facing the wrong way. So I ran a steek along about 20 stitches in from the edge (where the knit turned to purl) and cut a strip off. I sewed a moss stitch edging along to try to tidy it up a little bit, but it’s rather prone to wrinkling

So all in all, this was a real pain to make wearable. I love that lace panel, but I’d think twice about making anything knitted sideways again.

Pattern: Dahlia Cardigan by Heather Zopetti rom Interweave Knits, Fall 2011
Size: Second
Yarn: Supreme Possum Merino Possum Merino with Silk 4-ply
Colours: Red-purple
Needle 3.25mm
On ravelry: here

Tuesday, 24 March 2015


December 2014

One of the ladies in my knitting group whipped up a couple of these cute hats for Christmas presents, and I couldn't resist following suit, they were so adorable.

I’d originally intended to make this using orange teddy bear eyes rather than buttons for the eyes, but I decided against, since they were on spikes, and so felt like they would make it a bit uncomfortable to wear.

Photographed in Hagg Woods, Dunnington. It’s amazing how cooperative a 3 year old can be when there are chocolate biscuits at stake.

I shortened the ribbing around the brim by about 0.25”. I made the smallest size, but with felted tweed (a dk) held double on 3.25mms. The main rationale being that I wanted to make it with something I already had stashed, and that was the only orange yarn I had.

I’m happy with how the sizing turned out. Here’s it’s modelled by a 3 year old boy. The intended recipient is a 4 year old girl. I think it will be fine.

George does look cute in it, though, and I do have some grey Cascade 220 stashed, so I expect I’ll be casting on a woolfie at some point, as this was a really fun pattern to follow, with shadow wraps, intarsia in the round and all sorts of interesting features.

This is a Christmas present for Emily. Since her brother is getting a sweater I also made her a matching toy fox in felted tweed to even things out a bit. The fox is here.

Pattern: Foxy by Ekaterina Blanchard
Size: Toddler
Yarn: Rowan Felted Tweed dk
Colours: 154 Ginger and 177 Clay
Needle 3.25mm
On ravelry: here

Monday, 23 March 2015


December 2014

I’ve had a real soft spot for Jared Flood ever since his version of the Noro Striped Scarf persuaded me to have a go at making my own, and since then I’ve also made Cisco and Elizabeth Zimmermann’s seamless hybrid thanks to him. What I saw this pattern I knew I had to make it even if I didn't initially know who for. It was one of those patterns.

I really love how this turned out. Yes, the large areas of 4-ply stocking stitch were tedious, and yes bits of the yoke called for three-colour-colourwork-with-wraps which is not much fun at all, but my goodness it was worth it.

I did find the pattern to be a little bit overly wordy and prescriptive, but I guess some people prefer a lot of hand holding, and the short treatise on “colour dominance” was interesting.

I didn’t bother going up a needle size for the colour work. I know that stranding tends to make colourwork tighter than working in one colour, but I relied on blocking to sort that out for me, as I was in a bit of a hurry.

I got a message of thanks shortly after Christmas, assuring me that the recipient now referred to this as his "new favourite jumper" and wondered how I knew that blue was his favourite colour (I didn't, I just like it too). It's very satisfying to have such knit-worthy children in the family.

Pattern: Atlas by Jared Flood
Size: 6 years
Yarn: Garnstudio DROPS Fabel and Cygnet Truly Wool Rich 4-ply
Colours: Blue, black and white
Needle 2.75mm and 3.25mm
On ravelry: here

Tuesday, 10 February 2015


December 2014

This was a very special type of fair isle project. It was knitted in the round from the bottom up, and then cut down the middle of the front to turn it into a cardigan. This process, known as steeking, had always terrified me in the past, but this time I cracked it.

Hedgerow comes from Ann Kingstone's Stranded Knits, a book which includes a lot of helpful information about all the techniques needed. There are several different ways to work a steek, but I reenforced mine using a sewing machine, as she felt that was the most secure method.

There's quite a lot of finishing once the steek is cut. The button band has to be picked up and knitted, the buttons sewn on, and then the steek stitches (a column of extra stitches which you cut down the middle of) have to be sewn down to the inside of the cardigan. I finished mine off by sewing a navy blue 1.5cm velvet ribbon over the top, which looks really nice. We weren’t sure whether to sew it all the way around or just over the steeked bits, but we thought the first option looked neater.

Being a bottom up project, the body and sleeves are knitted separately, and then joined at the underarm so that the yoke can be worked in one piece. Both the body and sleeves have to be at the same position on the colour work chart when they are joined, so to give myself a bit of flexibility, I started the sleeves with a provisional cast on, and higher up the chart than the pattern specified. That meant that I could go back and pick up the live stitches and work the bottom of the sleeves and the cuffs after cutting the steek, once the cardigan could be tried on. I'm really pleased I did it that way.

This is knitted in Rowan felted tweed which in my experience tends to grow when you block it. My measurements were - before blocking:

Chest: 35”
Waist: 31”
Hip: 40”
Length: 24”

And after blocking:

Chest: 39”
Waist: 36”
Hip: 42”

I would suggest looking carefully at the schematic before casting this on, as it’s a bit wider around the hips than the bust. Probably flattering on a lot of women, but I’m top-heavy, so not ideal for me. A bit of stretching around the bust on blocking left me with a decent fit though.

The colour combination I used was made up as I went, and Ann Kingstone left me a comment on ravelry to say she loved it, which I was very chuffed about. I found the original colours a little too bright for my taste. The shades I used were called Seafarer, Watery, Duck Egg, Bilberry, Camel and Avocado. Left over bits of the Camel, Seafarer, Bilberry and Watery went towards Corona Borealis.

Pattern: Hedgerow by Ann Kingstone from Stranded Knits
Size: See above
Yarn: Rowan felted tweed dk
Colours: See above
Needle 3.00mm
On ravelry: here

Thursday, 5 February 2015


November 2014

I absolutely love this pattern. It's cute, quick and easy enough that I did most of the colour work part on a long car journey.

My only reservation is that I think the sizing is a little on the large side, and so I made a 9 - 12 month old size to fit a little boy who is about to turn 1.

It makes a lovely christmas jumper, but not being christmas-specific it would be wearable all winter.

The buttons came from Hobbycraft. As far as I can tell, they're intended to be worn at front or back, depending on what you prefer. I think I liked them better at the front.

The John Lewis Heritage Merino dk is a merino/acrylic blend, and lovely and soft. I needed something washable, as this is for a baby, but it wasn't at all squeaky like some acrylic can be. And it took colour work beautifully, without any crinkling.

Pattern: Anders by Soren Kerr
Size: 9-12 months 21” chest, 13.5” long
Yarn: John Lewis Heritage Merino Blend dk
Colours: 102 Cream and Denim
Amount: 1 skein cream, 2 skeins blue
Needle 3.5mm
On ravelry: here

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Chewie the Dinosaur

October 2014

I saw a made-up version of this at Yarndale 2014, and since the kits were selling for £6.50 I couldn't resist. Particularly as Christmas wasn't so far off, and I would love it if my little boy started to get into dinosaurs. I still think £6.50 for 3 balls of merino was an absolute bargain. There were even decent amounts left over.

George has christened his dinosaur Chewie, and he lives at the bottom of his bed. Occasionally when he glimpses Chewie's photo on my ravelry projects page he points to him and asks what he's doing out on the patio. I guess the world is a bit confusing when you're 3.

This pattern doesn't seem to have been listed on ravelry, and so I have to idea how many other Chewies there might be out there. I like to think of him as part of a herd, though.

Although undeniably cute, this wasn't the most enjoyable knit. Each spike was knitted separately, and then sewn on. Ditto the legs. As someone who hates finishing work it felt like a big ask. Full credit to my Mum for saving my sanity by offering to do the embroidery.

Pattern: Dinosaur in Merino dk by Wendy Yarns
Yarn: Wendy Merino dk
Amount: 2 balls green, 1 ball orange
Size: One size
On ravelry: here